This post is the first of a series of “Lives of New Professionals” guest posts for Progressions.
For the majority of my life, I have been one of the following: a baby, a student, a part-time employee, an intern or some combination thereof. As of June 2012, however, I am a newly graduated, young professional in my first “real” job. And I feel ready to seize the world. But “young professional” is a funny term. Funny because, honestly, it is very tough to be both young and a professional.
It is quite a transition from the schedule of a college student to that of a full-time professional. Consider all the time you have (or had) in college for naps during the day and social outings on the weekend and you will get the idea. Try that same routine during a 40+ hour work week, and you may find that there are not enough hours in the day to work, play and sleep.
During a hectic weekly schedule, you have to schedule some down time. One Tuesday evening, for instance, I was already feeling overworked and ready for the weekend. I decided what I needed was a night with friends, Chinese food, a bad movie and a few drinks. It was fantastic! Just what the doctor ordered, and by the end of the night, I felt relieved and not at all anxious about the remaining three days ahead of me.
Wednesday, though, was rough after staying up so late. The stress and cranky mood I had felt earlier on Tuesday was only exacerbated by my lack of sleep. By the time I was home for the day, I was ready to crash and I still had two days that separated me from the weekend.
As a new professional, you have to challenge yourself to find a suitable work/life balance before that youthful ability to rebound wears off. You may be young and resilient now, but it will not last forever. Taking a few moments during the day to breathe and plan out some fun events for the week or weekend can really help. Work/life balance can be hard to find, and it is different for everyone, but once you slip into it you will find peace and happiness.
How do you balance your work/life or school/life? How do you expect that to change upon becoming a young professional?
Jennifer Fry is a marketing and public relations professional in Delaware, and a recent Master’s graduate of the University of Delaware. She is a member of the PRSA New Professionals Section. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn at www. linkedin.com/in/jenniferlfry.