How to Survive Your First Summer Working in the Real World

Everybody's working for the weekend... including you.

Some of your friends are probably off traveling the world. Some of your friends are still stuck in the job search. But you? Well, lucky you, you landed your first grown-up job and you’re officially part of the working world… and will be for the rest of your life!

We won’t lie to you. The first few days of work after a long summer weekend are the absolute worst, especially for recent college graduates like yourself. You can’t bare to go back inside, trapped in a cubicle, with no view of the outside world. But we’ve all been there, and we all survived. Let us offer you some advice for how to make it through (and even learn to enjoy) the 9 to 5 grind during the summer months.

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Keep it positive

Young woman in office
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First of all, stay positive. Don’t be the jerk of your office, constantly complaining about how much it sucks to be stuck inside when it’s a beautiful day outside. We all get it. And you’re bringing the rest of us down with your negativity.

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Love your lunch break

Young man laying in grass for coffee break
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Your lunch break is your new BFF. Unless it’s raining or you’re crunched for time in between meetings, there is absolutely no reason for you to ever have a sad desk lunch in the summer. So get up and get outside. Find a nearby park to enjoy a classic brown bagged lunch. Or try the newest restaurant or food truck in town. Or swap the eats for some midday exercise instead. Whatever gets you away from your desk and into the fresh air.

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Be a weekend warrior

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Congratulations! You finally get to join the “everybody’s working for the weekend” club. Go ahead, sing the song. There’s nothing sweeter than hightailing it out of the office on a Friday afternoon with the whole weekend ahead of you — even if it means sitting in traffic on the way to the beach. Just remember, the weekend is even more precious now than when you were in college, so maximize every moment and plan ahead. Sure, it’s the time to party with friends. It’s also the time to catch up on annoying things like paying bills and doing the laundry.

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Spend your paycheck

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Well, kinda. You are earning (and ) more money than you did in college. So use it — within reason, of course. Your early twenties are a time for fun, so , splurge on summer concerts, and feel a little less guilty about .

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Plan ahead for summer Fridays

Young woman in empty office
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If your company offers abbreviated hours or days off on summer Fridays, take advantage of them. If you’re company doesn’t offer summer Fridays, make your own. Use the first few weeks of the summer to gauge how many people are around the office on Friday afternoons. We bet it’s quiet. Unless you have meetings, clients, or other major responsibilities, these excuses are starting to look pretty good to us. Don’t forget, that still means you have five days of work to complete in four days.

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Wake up with the sun

Couple running in the morning
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The summer is the best time to try to . The sun rises earlier, so it’s a little easier to roll out of bed and start your day. If you or other daily responsibilities, you’ll have your evenings free! Longer days in the summer mean you can still have some fun in the sun after work hours too.

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Join a company sports team

Softball team bench
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We love the idea of building teamwork and camaraderie outside of the office. See if your company has a recreational softball or kickball team to join. It will help you get outside, meet new colleagues from other departments, and put those intramural skills to good use.

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Treat yourself during the day

Young woman eating ice cream
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Nail a key presentation? Impress your new boss? Finally finish checking your email on a Monday morning? You deserve a reward! We recommend knowing how close the local ice cream truck is to your office at all times. Just because you’re an official grown-up now, doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a kid.

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Make friends at work

Friends toasting at happy hour
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Trust us. In the “real world,” you will spend more time with your coworkers than your families, friends, or significant others combined. So . If you’re the newbie at your job, suggest a summer happy hour to get to know each other outside of the office. After all, these are the same people you’ll be stuck sweating it out with through the rest of the hot summer months.

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Earn your vacation

Couple on tropical vacation
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You have vacation days for a reason, and everyone reaches their breaking point. with only two action items on the agenda: Unplug and unwind.