To the new graduate who got her first job, congratulations and welcome to the real world! If you’re anything like me, you’re probably crestfallen at your first job. Which is an elegant way of saying that you hate it more than anything on Earth.
Unfortunately, this happens more often than not, and there are two extreme outcomes that could damage a woman’s career. The first is that she sucks it up and sticks with it and never gets back what she puts in. The second is that she could be pushed past a breaking point and her reputation could be tarnished in the professional community around her.
Every escape needs a plan. Here’s yours.
1. Write passive-aggressive emails to all of your co-workers, but never send them.
“I took on this job as a learning experience. The only thing I have learned from this experience is how much it’s possible to loathe a person and a company. Before I thought it was just possible to only hate one at a time!”
2. Write a passive-aggressive review on glassdoor.com.
Believe me, this has more benefits than you think. You’ll be saving a lot of other people from the terrible place you’re at.
“If you want to hate yourself, take this job. Benefits? More like side effects! I suffered hatred for everything, increased stress, waste of time and money, and more. AND you get paid!”
3. Read passive-aggressive reviews on glassdoor.com to find a better job.
You can hunt as much as you want on the job boards, but none of them will tell you what Glassdoor will. It’s like a Yelp, but for jobs. Even if you’re not looking for new employment, some of the stories there are ridiculously entertaining. Grab some popcorn and go down the rabbit hole of terrible workplaces.
4. Take as many bathroom breaks as possible while on shift. Use your phone to text your friends (and your mom) on whether you should leave.
Caution: this is definitely gonna be easier if you’re at a desk job or likewise. With retail, it’ll be harder… But use your breaks (and times when no one is watching you) wisely. Talk to your mentors, advisors, friends and family for advice. They may point out something you didn’t notice, or better yet, take you out for a lunch date to get away.
5. Title a new document on your computer “pros and cons.”
That way anyone who walks by will think you’re doing something productive. In reality, you’re just weighing the reasons to stay. Money might be a pro, but a con is that the workload is too much. Think critically: what is the job offering you? Can it be replaced with another job? What are you missing from the times you didn’t have this job?
6. Start looking for other opportunities.
And in some cases, two back-up plans. Set up interviews with other companies. Reach out to your friends and see if they could use someone at their businesses. Above all, be discreet. You’re too classy for a Facebook status that says “Anyone hiring?” This is incredibly dangerous, especially if your boss is following you on any of your social media accounts. Don’t complain or post anything hinting that you might be thinking of leaving.
7. Start writing your two week’s notice.
Pro-tip: it doesn’t have to be long! In fact, three paragraphs is pushing it. Start off saying why you’re leaving and end with how grateful you were for the opportunity. Sandwich your last day of work in the last few lines.
Again, these are often written with teeth clenched. Don’t be unprofessional: if you’re too sassy or mean in your two week’s notice, they could fire you right then and there. In fact, be prepared to be let go: your employer may boot you sooner than you expected once you give them that letter.
8. In your last two weeks, work harder than you have before.
I hate to say it, that’s why I’ve saved it for close to last. But the inevitable truth of a job is that you may one day have to come back to it, or you may be put in a situation where you need a reference, badly. As tempting as it is to put a sledgehammer to your boss’ desk, you don’t want to kick yourself later for not being more polite. You’ll never know what’s gonna happen.
9. Ask for any references or recommendations now.
While you’re still on their mind and hovering around their office, ask for some tangible letters of recommendation if you can. Connect with your coworkers and employers on LinkedIn if you haven’t already (unless, of course, these are very toxic people that you don’t want in your life) so that you can keep them in your back pocket if you need them.
10. At the end of those two weeks, frolic out of your office and eat whatever you want. You’re free.
Hopefully you can start your new, rewarding job soon, with a brilliant #workfam, and a salary that will never make you go hungry again. (By the way, we’re always looking for writers.)