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Article  •  1 September 2020


Fake. It. ’Til. You. Make. It.

From The Space Between: 29 things we wish we could have told ourselves on the final day of university.

1. You are allowed to be stressed right now. This new period of your life is going to be daunting, but it’s also going to be brilliant.

2. Some of those subjects were… an interesting use of your time and money. Lucky you won’t realise the contemporary sociological theory class you bludged through will take three years to pay off until you read your first payslip.

3. Oh, and those subjects you failed? And the ones you opted out of after the census date cut-off? Yeah. We reeeeaaaaally wish you hadn’t.

4. You don’t have to pretend to be excited about finishing university if you don’t know what’s coming next. Uncertainty is scary.

5. And you don’t need to tell everyone you ‘might’ go travelling, just to evade questions about job-hunting. Be honest. There is no shame in not knowing.

6. Finding a job on the career path you want is going to be tricky. It’s not going to show up on your doorstep. Look for the windows that are cracked open slightly, not just the doors flung wide.

7. Learn how to network. And no, that doesn’t mean getting a bunch of dorky business cards printed. It’s as simple as introducing yourself with a smile. Remembering people’s names. Being friendly. Asking questions.

8. That being said: people know when you’re stalking them on LinkedIn. Beware.

9. Approach opportunities with enthusiasm!!! You can’t control whether you’re the most qualified!!! You can control whether you’re the most enthusiastic!!!

10. Chill out on the emojis and exclamation marks in your emails (listicles are an exception to this rule). People can smell the nervousness through their computer screens. Less is best.

11. You are more than welcome to spend some time floating between jobs you might not love before working out what you want. There is no deadline or cut-off point when it comes to chasing your dreams. And no, you don’t need to know exactly what that ‘dream’ is just yet. Things take time. Everyone is going at their own pace. You’ve got the rest of your life to figure out career stuff.

12. Stop looking for The Perfect Job. Look for a good, solid, dependable job. Don’t stress about how it sounds or how it looks. Will it give you relevant experience? Will you meet new people? That’s all you need for now.

13. Do your research before you rock up to a job interview. Do you know the history of the company? The name of your interviewer? The kind of role you’re actually going for?

14. Accept that you’re probably going to be on a semi-miserable salary for a year. As soon as that year is up, march into your boss’s office and prove why and how you’re worth 10 per cent more. Bring spreadsheets. And KPI reports.

15. Nothing will make you more valuable in the workplace than being the employee who takes initiative. Don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs, waiting for someone to give you a task. Find a task and just do it.

16. Don’t be afraid of appearing ‘too keen’. That’s not a thing. Tell people you want work. Make sure people can see you.


18. Same goes for lunchbreaks.

19. While we are here, take your sick leave when you’re sick. Don’t be a martyr. And if there’s anything we have learned from 2020, the rest of the office does not need your viral plague.

20. Oh, and please, for the love of god, try to prepare your lunches at least one day a week. You can’t afford Guzman y Gomez every single day. (Refer to number 14.)

21. Unpopular opinion: the structure and routine of full-time work is underrated. No matter the days you’re working or the hour you’re clocking on, there’s something comforting about the rhythm of this new life.

22. Show up on time. Not two minutes late. It is the easiest way to make a good impression on the people who matter.

23. This is a bit grim, but… know that some HR departments are there to protect the company, not you.

24. Whatever you do, don’t revel in the drama of the workplace. Being the office gossip will bring you plenty of headaches.

25. Acknowledge that you don’t really know anything yet. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t back yourself – you have some great things to offer – but it does mean listening to others and respecting their authority.

26. Walk that fine line between asking for what you want and knowing your place. For instance, your bosses don’t need your input on how they should do their jobs. They absolutely should hear from you when you feel you deserve that big promotion.

27. In moments of self-doubt (they will come) emulate the confidence of a middle-aged, male real estate agent.

28. Fake. It. ’Til. You. Make. It.

29. Things will be okay. They will be so more than okay.

The Space Between Zara McDonald, Michelle Andrews

SHORTLISTED FOR ABIA GENERAL NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2021From the creators of the hit podcast Shameless: relatable ruminations on the mess, the madness and the magic of not-quite-adulthood.

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