Unemployed and it feels so good

As of this afternoon I am officially unemployed. Wow, it feels odd just to think about it…

Honda has been an absolutely wonderful place to start my career. I was very lucky to fall into such a great position (definitely didn’t expect to be here) and now I’m off to new and scarier things! In honor of my first real-person job, here are a few random things I’ve learned over the past two years.

Benefits are gggggrrrrreeeeaaaatttt!  (Said like Tony the Tiger)
Honestly, I didn’t realize how important it is to have a good health and dental plan. Many of my friends have to pay the entire fee out of pocket, yet I was gifted with a minimal payment. I don’t go to the doctor too frequently, but I like that the option is available to me.

Sometimes people won’t respect you, get over it
This one I have struggled with quite a bit. Yes, my job involved telling others that their designs were not usable, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. Right? Over time it was apparent that I wasn’t going to make their friendship so I needed to stop being bothered by it. Gotta remember that you can’t please everyone all the time, just be civil and move on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I’m a stubborn perfectionist, I want to do things properly the first time. Unfortunately this rarely happens and sometimes it may be necessary to look for guidance. Often times I didn’t seek out help from my mentor in a timely manner, instead I internalized the issues and became frustrated. I need to change my mindset, getting guidance from another is collaboration and not failure.

Men rarely don’t always know how to act around women
Since I’m a female engineer, this means my working life is surrounded by men. I get it. But sometimes I don’t want to be made fun of or treated like one of the guys. Women take things differently than men and my coworkers forgot this on a daily basis. I’ll be spending my life in this industry, so this is one issue I have to overcome and quick.

Not having to buy, launder, and wear business attire is a treat
At Honda we wear uniforms. Yes, that’s right, everyday I showed up to work in jeans and a t-shirt to put on my white slacks and top. This meant that I never had the need to purchase fancy clothing. So much money saved! Now that I’m becoming a graduate student this is all changing, I have no idea how to dress like a professional. Maybe I should apologize in advance for my clothing selection…

To be honest, even though I often complained about my job, I was very fortunate. I had a boss who adored me and a group that respected me. My boss reminded me a dozen times today how much they’ll miss me, threatening to send me to Japan if I would stay. Somewhat enticing, yet not nearly enough to keep me around. I’ll miss them all, but now I am ready to go back to school! Check out my sweet sendoff gift from my coworkers wife, so cute.

Chebu is trying to steal my cookies! Silly monkey-thing...

What did you learn from your first job? Any advice for someone making a major life change?

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About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Life, The Future and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I have to agree with men not knowing how to act around women. Especially our IT guys. I have to be honest, as a grad student I just wear jeans and a t-shirt or nice tank. I love that I can wear my sneakers to work.

    • I keep shopping and buying myself “nicer” tops so that I can look more appropriate. But let’s be serious, I’m mostly concerned about looking nerdy and cute without being too schlumpy. :)

  2. These are such great lessons to learn!! I definitely did not have as pleasant a work experience as you did, especially when I left my company – but I will tell you there are several things that I miss about full time employment. Namely, the benefits. I’m really lucky to be on my parent’s health insurance but it’s running out this December when I turn 26 and I have no freaking idea what I’m going to do about it.

    I’m super excited to follow you through your grad school experience!!! I LOVE being back in school and I honestly can’t imagine my life any other way right now. It’s a true blessing to love my life so much :)

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