Nobody ever tells me that it’s going to be hard. What? Working, it is.

Like, you know, everyone I know just transitions their lives effortlessly from university lives to working lives. They change their routines from sleeping at 3am and waking at 1pm to sleeping at 11pm and waking up at 7am in a blink. They put on their semiformal clothes, go to work, go home, and forget about the world and watch TV while eating dinner. They have new responsibilities and totally different lives but they are talking about it as matter-of-factly.

It’s no big deal, really. Working, what is.

But it is.

I admit, changing lifestyle is not that difficult. Everyone can just shift our nocturnal lives to normal in a couple of days, or max, weeks. It’s not the physical stuff. It’s the mental and emotional stuff.

You know, if you did something wrong on your essay during uni, you can just gulp it down, try again for the next two essays, and get over that subject forever. It’s three months tops. At work, you’ll still face that ‘something wrong’ every single day. In uni, you can just shrug it off your shoulder and try to get a pass. At work, it’s a continual thing that you need to improve on and suck up every single day.

In university, you have responsibilities for the sake of yourself. You gotta study, for whom? For your own good. If you don’t do the assignment, then you’ll face the wrath of your own failures. At work, there’s something else, and whether you like it or not, it’s something way bigger than you, that’s at stake. Your career for one, your company’s name for two, your customers’ lives for three, and perhaps other people’s lives in general for four.

And when you realise that something bigger than you is at stake, you can’t mess up. Well, you can’t mess up too badly, at least.

In university, it’s all about theories on papers. At work, it’s about the real thing. It’s about reality. It’s about real life.

In university, you get feedback three times a semester for one subject and most often it’s just a pen on paper saying, “Good job!”, “This can be improved”, or “You’re missing the point”. Then you can cry and be miserable for the next two days and be completely oblivious on the third. When you’re at work, you’ll get criticism, feedback, revision, or whatever it’s called on a daily basis. You just need to say the mantra, “You are not your work” to survive another day full of critics.

Or perhaps it is just me: a slightly perfectionist girl who doesn’t like critics because, well, I fancy my work. And I put my heart to it. They have ‘a little bit of me’. Maybe that’s why I hate critics.

Cos truth is, I still find it hard to detach myself from my work.