Art of Adulting : Where Corporate life meets you!

It has been exactly one year since I stepped into the Corporate World. Sounds weird right? I mean we celebrate one year anniversaries of only all things happy, but my good colleague and LinkedIn made it a point to get the old memories back. I thought of giving out my two cents.

Disclaimer: This is not an instructive manual. It is merely a text for myself which I would want to revisit whenever I am low. It is an experience I want to share. Read all “you’s” as “I’s”. And all pronouns can be substituted to suit the author herself.

What happens when you enter the Corporate World?

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You are fresh out of University or College. If you have been a part of a flexible curriculum skiving and last minute assignment submissions, brace yourself for a tough time ahead. Though work culture promises flexible timings, there is a certain level of discipline involved. You cannot exactly dance on your whims if you wake up late. You need to turn up for work irrespective. And not just in the crumpled clothes that Professors do not care about. Some amount of grooming is required though no dress code is present as such. By grooming I mean, bathe, brush and wash clean. It is not about looking glamorous, but smarten up a bit! There are no more friends, they are called colleagues for a reason. Someone is going to track your blood with deadlines. Vituperative hierarchy still exists though there is no need for saluting your Manager with a “sir”. You are expected to work for the company. It may so happen your interests are in sync. For me, I have a love-hate relationship to date. Few days are good, most are worse. Get a solid start, then move towards your inkling. Your weekends wear off in sleep. You start wondering if you are growing by learning. Stagnancy becomes the vice you want to break out of. There are no exams for you to prove. No one cares until you miss your deadline. Mental and physical health plays a vital role in it. The back starts aching more. One second you think you are doing much lesser than what you ought to. The next moment, you are overwhelmed. The brain cries for dopamine but all you get is adrenaline. There there, don’t worry it is not as bad as it sounds. Just kidding, I was, to use the euphemism- screw*d.

What not to expect?

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No more summer vacations, no more winter breaks, or Dussehra holidays. Do not expect long hiatuses from work. Something that comes close is maybe a week of festivals along with a long weekend. Now you are in a weird space- a space of responsibility mingled with fear and anxiety( thanks nihilism, I owe you this!). Do not expect people to owe you their time, money, and life. They again are here to work, and only owe their talent to the company, and none of your personal issues affect them in any way. Do not expect emotional connect and long term friendships. It might happen by chance but remember now that we are no longer children now, we cannot be only of positive energy. We have faced our fair share of the nice and the not so nice. It is okay to be cynical. Trust a little less, it is fine. Be categorical about yourself. Do not expect someone to be behind you to file your taxes or other mundane stuff. Do not expect someone to cook your food and do the dishes. Do not expect someone to wake you up. Do not expect someone to be considerate to your whims. As I said, all of them have their own businesses to mind.

What to expect?

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You can expect a paycheque at the end of every month. If you are lucky, the investments can themselves pay off all your bills. All of us make enough to live. We just have to make sure it is enough to sustain. It is determined by our spending means. You are not Richie Rich so obviously don’t start buying off everything on that wish list. If you are having pangs of craving, wait till it wanes. Then decide if it is essential. You can find yourself more regular, adhering to a schedule like Sheldon Cooper. You can expect all forms of financial turmoil in addition to the emotional and physical ones. But guess what? You ultimately figure it all. You get the strength to either relentlessly tackle or give up to focus your energies on something worthwhile. You become responsible. After the hype of a salary rescinds, you know you have grown up. You become more like your parents, just a better version without their drawbacks. You learn the official “corporate” attitude. Linkedin becomes the new social media if it had been till now. Kids around start to call you “aunty and uncle”.

How to adapt?

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Learn, just keep learning. It can be anything- science, technology, cooking, cleaning, painting, podcasting, blogging, swimming, instruments, minding your own business, letting go, emotional stability, healthy habits, reading habits, social media management, password management, financial management, document filing, trying to have a chartered life and more( got to go, have not filed some documents, sorry GoI, rookie mistake). Learning creates a sense of viable development in character. It does not make you hopeless or worse smug. Try to do justice to whatever you like, and also the degree you just obtained ( you know the basics are just fine, you need it to answer yet another wide-eyed kid who you can push into the abyss). Try NOT TO have definitive objectives. Have an overall goal and a rough road map. Only if you can follow it verbatim, stick up a time schedule, else do not ever resort to overburdening yourself, we do not want a Panda visiting our cubicles in office just to show off. ( Nobody likes a know it all).

How to move on Withdrawal Symptoms?

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Try to talk to seniors who were in the same place, a year before. Involve in activities you have never done before. Be wary of new friendships. Enroll for classes. Join workshops and meetups. NGOs give a good opportunity to understand societal dynamics. Keeping oneself occupied is the key. Maybe if you are the ambitious type, start etching out an escape strategy. If you are happy where you are, it is good to have one anyway. Try to think of the way forward. Often we find reminiscing about the good ol’ days, trust me they will rile you up. You are put in an uncomfortable space. Hence, do not try many things at one time. Pick one. Pursue it. If you are not finding what you wanted, let go and try something else. There is no dearth of hobbies here. There are phone-based apps that cater to leisure pursuits. I have found them enjoyable.

How to stay in high spirits?

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Unwind. Give yourself time for slacking off once a week. Better to keep it on a Friday, else you might start moaning inside your cubicle the next day. Watch a movie and order your favorite snack( mine is double chocolate oreo, what’s yours?) Have some “fun time” or “me time” allocated. Often we lose ourselves in this losing battle. Trying to choose one battle ensures that the success rates are above 90 percent.

Yes, I sound way too cynical here. But I feel the inner self is still innocuous. We learn lessons, and we need to evolve. Forgive and forget easily. Do not hold grudges. Guilt-tripping is injurious to health. Often when we are out of sheltered educational and homely environments the first thing that takes a hit is emotional and physical health. Good eating habits and exercises, cannot stress enough on these. Mental health is still a taboo in India. But, your health is more important than opinionated douchebags who can do everything to put you down but nothing to pull you up. Take therapy, now that you can afford it. Once you are out of it, go to the peak of your neighborhood and shout-

” I am the king of this world!”

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I read, learn and create! Always up for engaging conversations about anything! Do connect with me on https://www.linkedin.com/in/vijayalakshmiswaminathan/