Welcome to the Real World (+Giveaway!)

welcome-to-the-real-world-lauren-bergerI love symbolism. I’m a sucker for all those stars-aligned, metaphoric, mystical happenings in the world. I don’t know about you, but I eat it up for breakfast.

So it’s certainly not lost on me that I am writing about Lauren Berger’s new book Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, And Turning Your Job into a Dream Career on the anniversary of a day that’s been pretty darn important to my life so far. I’m writing this post on June 10, 2014. Today is the three year anniversary of my high school graduation.

I just finished my junior year of college. I’ve completed three full years–to the day–of college student life. This summer I have my first internship that does not require me to wear the same exact camp counselor shirt. (Dude, I even have my own office. Score.)

The one year countdown to the “real world” has begun. And I’m kind of glad to have Berger’s Welcome to the Real World as my side-kick.

Known to her followers as “The Intern Queen,” Lauren Berger has built a brand around empowering students and recent grads throughout their internship and career journeys. By the time she finished college, Berger had successfully interned at a grand total of 15 companies. In less than ten years, she’s transformed from eager intern to weary assistant to poised and polished CEO. I think we can all take a page out of her book (yes, pun intended).

Berger’s second book, Welcome to the Real World, guides you through your first, second and third job. While geared towards the young, newly-professional woman, the book offers a thorough look into modern-day workplace expectations and culture. Whether you’re just about the enter the “real world” or want to brush up on the most current tools and techniques to make the most of your job, Welcome to the Real World is a great place to start.

Some bite-sized wisdom from The Intern Queen

On success

 “Success means being happy in the way you’re spending your time every day. Success is being able to constantly grow and learn, to make mistakes and then pick yourself up the next day.”

On confidence

“Confidence comes from experiencing things and just living life.”

On rejection

“Rejection doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now. … One way to move forward is by having multiple projects going on at the same time. … I find that the more baskets I have, the less likely rejection will ruin my day.”

On humility

“Your boss isn’t a mind reader and remember, you are expected to do a good job and to do your work–that’s part of the job description.”

On career development

“I’d rather you hustle and be happy than make a ton of money and be miserable.”

Book Giveaway!

To enter to win a copy of Welcome to the Real World by Lauren Berger, answer the following questions in the comments by Friday, June 20. We will pick a winner via random.org and email to let you know!

Comment to be Entered to Win:

Was there a specific moment you felt you had officially entered “the real world”?
What would you have done to better prepare yourself for your first job?

About Marisol Dahl

Marisol DahlMarisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached at marisoldahl [at] gmail.com and on Twitter at @marisoldahl.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Briana June 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

The minute I graduated from college, I felt as though I had officially entered “the real world.” I’ve only been out of school for a month or so and I am TERRIFIED. I’ve been looking for jobs since Januray, but it’s a tough world out there. I’ve only had one interview so far. My best advice: Apply to EVERYTHING and wait for something to stick. When it comes to your first job, you can’t afford to be picky.


Lauren Berger June 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

Thanks, Jenny! Love your support! x


Kayla Hollatz June 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I still have one more semester until I graduate, but I landed a PR manager position with an online marketing firm this summer so it definitely feels like the real world to me, but in a really great way! I am looking for post grad positions now and I think the best advice I can give myself is to apply for any position regardless of location. If I can find something I’d really love, I’m willing to relocate to further my dreams.


Chelsey Hochmuth June 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I think I officially entered the “real world” when I moved into my own apartment and had to start paying rent. I was lucky enough to live with my parents for a year after I graduated to save but moving into my own apartment was an important step in being independent and learning to manage my money.


Vanessa June 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I felt I entered the real world when I took a semester off of school after finishing my junior year at Wesleyan. It was the first time I realized I was stuck and scared and didnt know what to do and that I would need to take serious action to turn things around. I was no longer traveling on a predetermined path and had to make long-lasting decisions on my own.

I’m still interviewing for positions but I had my first significant internship at a well known and highly revered company last summer and I cant stress how dressing well can make others accept and respect your role in the company as well as give you added confidence that is handy when starting somewhere new.


Rachel June 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Honestly, I still feel like I haven’t entered “the real world”! Even when I started my first full-time, corporate gig, I feel like I wasn’t “all in” and still sort of had one foot in another place. Now I’m returning to school, so I’m in a strange in-between zone. I wish I’d had clearer goals when starting my first job. I kind of freaked when it turned out not to be what I’d expected, and I think if I’d had a better sense of what i wanted to get from it and where I wanted to go next, I could have been more successful.


Jef Miles June 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Hi Marisol,

Great competition, what are your thoughts on the traditional career/corporation.. My thoughts are that we are moving more towards running online/small businesses and that there will be a decline in the traditional organisation? A bit off topic I know :)

In answer to your questions though..

Was there a specific moment you felt you had officially entered “the real world”?

For me this has come recently, when I had to resign from my job (in November) last year and it wasn’t as simple as walk straight into a new role.. Despite my decent networking skills and qualifications it was tough and took me 2 months to land the new role.. This made me ask some serious questions on if what I was doing with my career life was what I’d actually wanted..

What would you have done to better prepare yourself for your first job?
I really wish I had been aware of what the workplace was actually like and the importance of making sure that I knew how to conduct meetings, be most effective in meetings and how “work” is structured (if that makes sense).. I would advise everyone to be more strategic and reverse engineer where you want to go in your career, otherwise you will get whatever comes your way


Alaka H June 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

Halfway into my junior year of college, I had to take a year off due to an unexpected and severe illness. I moved back home, at a time when my family was going through various difficulties. This was my entry into “the real world”, where the unexpected and messy become the norm. Those neat little life plans that your peers are following? Unfeasible? For two years, my life has been messy, and my transcript was messier.

As for preparing for a first job — spend time getting to know your colleagues and peers. Just doing your work, i.e. researching and typing up reports, etc., isn’t enough. The social aspect of a job is often as important as the work you
produce, especially because you’ll have to work in teams, go to
meetings, etc.


kalah June 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I felt like I entered the real world when I was meeting with HR on my first day. She was going over the vacation time with me and said that we only get Christmas day off of work. If I wanted Christmas Eve, I would have to use a vacation day. It finally hit me that I wouldn’t have month long vacations for Christmas breaks or summers.

To be better prepared for my first job, I would have networked with professionals more as an undergraduate student. I had a lot of connections at the university, but not in the community.


Shelley June 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

When I moved to Nashville 2 weeks after graduating college and couldn’t find a job right away, that was when I felt like I’d entered the real world. Once I actually found a job, I KNEW I’d entered the real world. No more going out on mom and dad’s card; it was time to support myself.

My advice for your first job would be to make a connection with as many people in your company as possible. The more people who know you, the better. I would also say, REALLY impress your boss. If your boss likes you, they’ll be a huge asset in the future.


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