Adulting: The Truth About The Real World
No one told me how difficult it would be.
When I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2010, I thought I was prepared. I was excited for the “real world.” I loved college, had great friends and was plugged into an awesome church—my faith was on fire. I knew who I was and where I was going. (Well, at least I thought I knew.) It felt like the doors to the World were blown wide open—the possibilities were endless and I was excited for what was next!
It wasn’t long after I stepped across the threshold into the “real world,” before those endless possibilities swirling around, smacked me right in the face. The changes came like a strong gust of wind—the kind that whips your hair around until its half-covering your eyes and stuck in your lip gloss, the kind that blows your skirt clear up to your neck… Of course, I would never have told anyone how out of control things felt at the time—I was too busy pretending I had my stuff together.
But the truth is, everything in my life seemed uncertain and different. I felt exposed and blindsided and sometimes depressed.
For the first time since kindergarten I didn’t have a 4-year plan mapped out for me. There had always been a next step—another grade level in high school, a degree plan in college. Now, there was no clear plan, just the whole wide world… (Holy crap!) I quickly began to feel confused and unsure. The idea of endless opportunities was no longer exhilarating, but terrifying and paralyzing.
It was also the first time my friends and I were at different life stages. Before, we had all taken finals at the same time, looked for dates to sorority date parties together and lived near one another in college towns. After graduation, that changed rapidly—some of us got married, others are still single, some entered the professional world immediately, others stuck around for a 5th year or grad school. After college, with a full-time work schedule, I had difficulty recreating the type of friendships I had in college. I felt deeply alone and insecure.
After graduation, I got an awesome job at a consulting firm, but realized quickly there was so much about the professional world I didn’t know how to handle.
Overall, I just had so many questions in this new stage of life…
- What does it look like to be a Christian in the workplace?
- How do you pursue excellence at work, maintain healthy relationships and grow in your faith?
- How do you find work / life balance?
- What is appropriate to wear to the office?
- How do you stay motivated at work without feedback or very little encouragement?
- What’s the appropriate way to negotiate your salary or ask for a raise?
- How do you work with a difficult boss or co-worker?
- What does it look like to be a great Christ-follower, friend, wife/girlfriend and employee (while still finding time to work out and eat healthy on a budget)??
Thankfully God blessed me with a few incredible mentors and quite a few “teachable moments” (a.k.a. redeemed mistakes) over the past 5 years that have helped me find answers to these questions and confidence as a post-grad in the real world. Today, as the Director of Strategic Forums at Credera and co-founder of Elevate Culture, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interview dozens of Fortune 500 executives, many of whom are Christ-followers. Learning from their examples has ignited my passion for leadership and given me invaluable insight into their views of Millennials in the workplace.
This year on the blog, I plan to answer some of those questions. I definitely don’t know all the answers, but I want to share with you what I’m learning—about God, about the professional world, about developing strong relationships as a Millennial in the real world.
If life as a post-grad in the real world is different than you expected, oh sister, you are not alone! Let’s gather here to support one another and spur each other on.
I’d love to know—what career, relationship or faith questions are you currently wrestling with? How can I be praying for you? Shoot me an email at morganeseke (at) gmail.com or leave a comment. I look forward to connecting!
Photo credit: The Odyssey Online