The Real Life Rookie Year: It’s a Hard Knock Life

We’re back ladies and gentlemans, with the latest and greatest on what it’s like to be a rookie. Aside from being young, hot, and clueless, we have lots of depth. We’ve got problems. We’ve got drama. We’ve got a skimpy paycheck. And we just want to drink and make it safely back to our apartment (or someone’s apartment) just like we did in college. Unfortunately, if you live in a real town and not a college town, achieving this most basic of goals is actually kind of difficult. Why? Because we’re all broke, that’s why!

I am slowly working my way out of this mentality and state of financial being. In fact, I’d say now that I’m 1+ years into my career and have now received greater than or equal to 30 paychecks, I’m not all that broke anymore. But go ahead and ask me if I want to make a quick trip to Vegas for a long weekend, or plan a week-long getaway on a cruise ship of my choice with some of my closest fellow rookies. My response will be something like raucous laughter followed by some kind of sarcastic comment regarding money and trees, followed by more raucous laughter. Such a good joke, planning a vacation.

But if I actually sit down and examine my financial situation, it’s really not all that bad. But for the sake of argument and the validity of this post, let’s go with it. Who’s not broke? No hands? That’s what I thought. Thought I go shopping significantly more often that I did in school, and I go out to eat a good amount more than I used to, somehow I am not just scraping by paycheck to paycheck. It’s all a mentality. We got so used to being broke and planning the cheapest possible spring break trip and/or hitting up mom and pop for some extra cash during college, and now that we actually have legit money of our own, it’s hard to not laugh immediately when thinking of planning some kind of exotic vacation with pals or your woman. It’s an instinct, and one that is not always correct.

So maybe you’re thinking, well Miss Sassy, I’m not broke…I have an awesome paycheck and I live it up thug style in a baller high rise condo. Bam. Fine, I say, must be nice.  But you have friends who are totally broke and still eating PB&J for dinner every day. We’re all in different stages now. Some of us have jobs in cubicles or corner offices with a steady paycheck from some kind of corporate hoo-ha, but some of us are still looking, or still working through an unpaid internship (ick), or feeding our souls and working for a non-profit (aka getting paid in pennies). So even if you yourself have plenty of spare cash to plan a cool vacation to Bora Bora, your friends are laughing at you when you suggest it. Not to mention days off of work! Who’s got that kind of time! We’re all new, which means we have something ridiculous like 4 hours per month accumulating of time off. Slight exaggeration. And we have to reserve those days for things like family and holidays. No one wants to work over the holidays, everyone wants some 3 day weekends every now and then, and most people have a nagging / loving mother who wants to see them sometime. It’s a challenging chore to try to save those days and use them as wisely as possible. Because you never know when some way cooler event is going to come up later in the year and you might need that day. I can’t complain really, as I entered 2010 with 20 choice days off. This is what we call “money,” or $$$. But not everyone is as lucky as this girl. You may actually get that 4 hours a month, which means by the end of your first year you’ve only got 48 hours, or a total of 6 days. Trife. Personally I think HR makes these ridiculous time-off policies on purpose. They’re all old so they figure all the new young kids just came off years of fun and games, so we deserve as little time off as legally feasible. I see both sides of the argument, you know, earning your stripes and all. But doesn’t change the fact that your old lady HR rep is just jealous.

The bottom line is this: as a rookie, we struggle. It’s a hard knock life. They give you a measly little paycheck, stick you in a corner cube (sniff), and give you 5 days off the whole year. Good luck getting to the top. We watch our parents and elders taking sweet vacations and long weekend trips. Our bosses drop work on us as they take their second summer vacation. I could never reach one former colleague because he always seemed to be cruising. The Mediterranean. Never have I been so irritated with seeing that stupid out-of-office auto-reply. It seemed to mocked me: “Sorry Miss Sassy, you cannot get what you need this week or next because Mr. Too-Cool-and-Senior-for-Work is out, yet again, with no access to email because this particular remote island resort doesn’t come with wifi. But don’t worry, he’s going to post pictures of his cruise(s) on the shared drive so you can bitterly view them and cry silently at your desk, whilst falling further and further behind in your work!” I love also that these notifications are always accompanied by something like: “If this is an urgent matter, please contact someone else.” AKA if you’re having a major issues, too bad! I don’t give two monkeys about your problem because I’m basking in the sun on some island! Ha!

But whatever. We rookies are nothing but resourceful. Plus, rookies are known for being some of the hardest workers, even on the baseball field. So bring it on, I say. Give me as little a paycheck as you dare, be unavailable to work with me, reward me with triflin little days off, and watch me flourish and take your job in less than 4 years, while you drown in your mortgage and college fund for your 5 kids. Who’s laughing now, old man!

Sass on, ya’ll. And remember. The most important time for which to save days off is football season. Don’t let a mid-winter and early summer getaway distract you from the prize.

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