Fifteen minutes is no longer really 30 minutes or 5 minutes. You've done enough things (iron a blouse, change a tire, walk the dog) to understand how long something takes—and to give yourself enough time so that you're not late for the next thing on your schedule.
True, you'll never again have the insta-camaraderie you had with the gang of other ex-interns at your first job. But you likely will never feel as much like a fraud about to be exposed as wildly incompetent all day every day. (And when you do have those insecure moments, at least now you realize that every grown person feels this way about 20 percent of the time.)
You've had multiple opportunities to weed out certain friends/contacts (even if it's just because you've gone through multiple mobile phones and e-mail accounts).
Your parents are no longer the only "adult" role models you have.
Yes, it was awful to be looking for a first job after Black Monday in the 1980s, and after the dot-com bust. But truly, neither of these is as awful as looking for a first job in the Great Recession, when the unemployment rate for workers in their early 20s is 16.4 percent.
Staying in on a Friday night (AND Saturday night) no longer means you have a sad social life and zero friends. It means you've successfully dodged everything you wanted to dodge and that you can do whatever you like, without worrying about how it will look on Instagram.
There's a light at the end of the student-loan tunnel.
Published on Jan 03, 2013