What I Learned 5 Months Into Working A 9–5 Job | A Reflection Diary #1
For the longest time, all I wanted after graduating from my university is to get an offer from a big corporation as a software engineer. I wished for this dream at the time because it was one path that would guarantee a good, stable income. Reflecting back, I was simply scared of being jobless after working so hard and paying so much for an education.
When I moved to Minneapolis, it was like I finally made it to something big. I had that “Finally!” moment where everything felt like it was in its place. I thought I was finally well off on affording my own apartment, paying thousands a month for a 1 bedroom in downtown. I was truly happy and felt very grateful I was given this opportunity to establish some things on my own right after college. But just like everything, it is our human nature to adapt and evolve.
The first three months flew by because I filled my schedule with work and events that involved learning. I was in a new environment with people I have never met before, and to me that is exciting. New environments with some level of discomfort is what assures me that I am still learning and adjusting. In these three months as a software engineer, I learned the pace of a working corporation. I’d come in everyday before 9AM. Lunch is at 12PM. There will occasionally be meetings in the afternoon which consist of standup, sprint planning, and design reviews. These meetings are for the engineer team to report the work they have done the previous day, plan an upcoming work, and assign work to the appropriate engineer. Finally, work ends at 5PM.
It was especially fun during the first few months when I was learning Kotlin, a programming language specific to android app development. There were times were I struggled, but I was still in the state of mind where it still felt beneficial to learn. Work was learning at the time. It felt awesome adding new features to the app and it going public for thousands of users. It didn’t feel like a routine until now.
I experienced myself falling into the comfort of clocking in and out at the time everyday. Everyone seems to greet others with a sense that it has to be done. It’s part of the routine right? No one really asks beyond the point of “I’m doing great today. Thanks.”
I’ve read countless articles and books about how a 9–5 job was so horrible. I’ve read all about it before, but since I never experienced it I didn’t give it a second thought. Yes I understood what I was getting myself into when applying for this position, but it’s ludicrous to think that having a stable job, doing work that gives me no purpose right after college was less fearful than giving myself time to look for a job that gave me value to my life.
This is all natural. Getting myself into a new environment and learning to adapt to it to be good at it is all human nature. Where I am at right now shows that I need change. I need something new again. I need growth. Although, I didn’t think it would come this soon.
To even have this problem is a privilege in my perspective.
Everything is expected. People are at their desks as expected. They are speaking in a certain professional tone as expected. The type of work is expected. The kind of feeling I leave with at the end of the day is as expected. The work culture is instilled in everyone as expected.
What I learned 5 months into this job is that people can fall into routines very easy. If that is the kind of work style you prefer than this isn’t seen as a bad thing. I think after self-reflecting and trying out this job, I need a change of setting quicker than I anticipated. Without this job opportunity, I wouldn’t have known if this work environment is best suited for me.
Also, it’s really hard making friends after college. It is definitely not effortless.