Let’s face it, while our outside appearance may give away our actual age, inside most of us still feel like teenagers who are just trying to keep it together. Adjusting from college with very little responsibility and sleeping in until 1:00pm to a professional workplace is by no means ‘easy.’ Our employer’s expectations may feel unreachable (especially because we have to wear something other than sweat pants). How do we make this major life change? How do we become adults?

First and foremost, you have to change your attitude. Work should be the place you go every day to make a paycheck, but it also needs to be something you enjoy doing! You worked hard to get your degree, gain your experience or to be picked for your position, so you should be thankful that you have a full time job earing a regular paycheck, and maybe even a 401K (Whatever that is). Starting a new job at a new company where you know no one is terrifying, but also extremely exciting. You get to rewrite how people view you by positioning yourself as someone in the office who is professional, has a good attitude and is driven. Take your time deciding who you want to be in this workplace and hold yourself to it.

That reminds me of another important aspect of adulting, expectations. The world is full of them. Your workplace will be full of them. You need to be full of them too. Expect a lot from yourself. Commit to meeting deadlines, thoroughly researching your projects and completing all of your tasks to the best of your ability. When you meet expectations of your peers and bosses, you will gain their respect. The golden rule follows you through adulthood and into the workplace. Treat others as you would like to be treated. This will allow you to become someone your team can trust.

A common misconception in the workplace is that you have to keep your head down. While hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, gaining relationships with your coworkers is invaluable. They will support you during times of stress and will make coming into work every day (and putting on something nice) much easier. Part of enjoying your job is working with people you care about and appreciate.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for your opinions. Often times young and creative minds are hindered by potential rejection. Your ideas will get rejected, someone may have a better idea than you this time, but your creative thoughts are unique to you and should be shared. Companies push the envelope is by embracing new ideas and thinking outside of the box. This is the best part of ‘adulting,’ when you can be in touch with your inner child and pitch concepts using your imagination. This is your opportunity to open your mind and discover innovative ideas.

Successfully adulting doesn’t mean you have to grow up overnight. We will always have that little kid inside of all of us, and I encourage you to listen to that person often. Just remember to be aware of the environment around you, and hold yourself to a high standard. Expect greatness and it will come.

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