You learn a lot of interesting things when you’re the youngest person in an office. For instance, it has come to my attention that not everyone considers the Backstreet Boys the height of 90’s music.
It’s been seven months here at Trampoline, and it still hasn’t really hit me that I’m 22 with a “real job”. I’m actually using my college degree? I’m doing meaningful work that I love? Things I’ve worked on have won awards?! Haha it’s almost like I’m an adult. Wait…
It’s kind of a shock to the system to go from college, to living with your parents, to jumping into a career. The biggest surprise has probably been the office culture. I was expecting my first job out of college to be, frankly, boring. That’s what I was taught. You graduate, you become a coffee runner/fact checker/formatter, and you deal with it until you have a few years of experience under your belt, then you get to do what you love. I feel like I got to start my career on level 2. I actually design things, my voice is heard in critiques, and I never feel like my ideas are written off just because I’m young. And on top of all that, I get to have fun.
When I tell people I work in advertising they think my life is an episode of Mad Men, but it couldn’t be further from that. Everyone here works hard and produces incredible things. We also have razor scooters in the conference room and beer in the fridge. I’m petting a dog as I write this post. I never expected to work in an office this fun, and it’s made me produce some of my best work ever. It pushes me to do better. If I’m stuck on an idea, I can take a lap around the office on a scooter to un-stick my brain. There aren’t cubicles or individual offices here, if I need help with something I just spin around in my chair and ask. I average half a dozen terrible puns a day. It’s great.
I’m still at a point in my life where I’m “figuring it out”, but having a 9-to-5 routine and my own apartment has started finally shifting things. It feels a little like I’m on a weird balance beam, teetering between being a fun-obsessed college kid, and someone who no longer feels the need to use the qualifier “real” when calling herself an adult. It’s a balance. I use an entirely inappropriate amount of emojis for someone who pays their own rent, but I’m also starting to not understand some of the latest slang (does anyone actually know what “on fleek” means?). I might eat boxed mac and cheese like four times a week, but I also get excited about finding kick-ass Price Chopper coupons. I watch Netflix more than any human should, but half the time it’s documentaries. It’s realizing I can do whatever I want and doing the things I recognize I probably should be doing.
I think the reason it hasn’t hit me hat I have a real job is because even though I work hard, it’s always just fun to be here. I love what I do, so it doesn’t always feel like work. I recognize my experience is not the norm here. This doesn’t happen to most people. You don’t graduate from college and immediately get your dream job. You don’t start your career with incredible opportunities like being published nationally in USA Today, or winning an ADDY less than a year after you graduate. But it’s actually happening to me. So I’m just going to keep counting myself as the luckiest 22-year-old ever.