Starting a Career
As cheesy as it may sound, my first day at Avid felt like the first day of the rest of my life. I’m not usually one to be dramatic, but every step, every person I met, every action, felt momentous. I was a working woman! I had complete control of my future. Everything was so new then, but it would feel normal eventually, right?
I had worked many part-time jobs in the past, but “starting a career” had always been a distant concept in the cushioned bubble that is Blacksburg, Virginia. It was a long and strenuous journey getting through school and obtaining my degree, but at least it was somewhat guided. Out of the infinite possibilities, I ultimately chose a career in the process automation industry due to its rapid growth and diversity of applications.
Even after being at Avid for a couple of months, that hopeful first day feeling hasn’t completely worn off. I am constantly inspired by my co-workers to grow technically and professionally. As one of the other new hires, Jonathan Schmohl, gracefully put it, “the working world provides a more challenging form of learning. In college, you study for a test for a few days leading up to it. In the working world, you are truly needed. There is never a dull moment because there is so much to learn and so much to accomplish.” Fortunately, we have extremely supportive and knowledgeable coworkers, awesome mentors, and team leaders who are willing to help further our knowledge and accomplish our goals.
Because Avid works on many different platforms for a wide variety of clients, that same exciting first day feeling happens regularly. Every project presents an opportunity to learn many new things, make an impact, and be challenged.
Work Life Balance
There was something both refreshing and scary about starting a new job in a new city. It was a difficult transition moving from a college town filled with many similar-aged people to a new city knowing no one. Fortunately, everyone starting their lives in the work world is in the same boat.
Unlike in college, free time, or time not spent doing work is plentiful. However, the number of responsibilities you have can build up quickly if you aren’t diligent about managing your time after work.
There are dishes to do, bills to pay, doctors appointments to go to, laundry to wash, meals to prep, dogs to feed, errands to run on top of hanging out with friends, exercising, hobbies, and not to mention sleep! Another recent new grad, Nate Beekman, advises future new hires, “Try to establish a good sustainable routine early on. Eat healthily, work out, try your best to get eight hours of sleep each night (it really does make a difference), and make a schedule.” How else would we have the energy to kill it in the work world and still have fun after?
While it’s easy to find something do to after work, office life is much different than student life. While my hours are flexible, I can’t just put down my calculator and play frisbee with my friends on a whim. I’m not walking in between class every hour and there isn’t a dining hall next door, but that’s okay! Snack breaks, regular walks, and standing desks keep me happy, active, and productive while I’m at work. Others blow off steam playing ping pong, the iconic Avid pastime.
Your desk is where you will begin spending much of your time, so it's important to make it a homey, comfortable environment that promotes productivity and sets you up for success on the job. I have a picture of my dog which motivates me to work harder so I can provide her a better life. My dual monitors maximize my productivity, decreasing time spent flipping between windows. I get cold rather easily, so I also have a blanket to truly make my desk feel like home away from home. Comfort is key.
Exiting the cushy college bubble can be a scary endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be! Now that I have a degree and a job, life is 100% what I choose to make of it. Happiness can be found in day to day life through appreciation for great coworkers, delicious office snacks, and a fuzzy creature to return to in the evening. Though I can’t predict the future, I can at least improve it by taking every available opportunity to learn. Every day is a new adventure and I plan on keeping it that way!