For the past year I have had the pleasure of working for one of America's Fortune 500 companies and it was one of the best and worst times of my life. Although my year in Corporate America taught me many skills and had various perks, there were also some downsides to going to work Monday through Friday at a 9AM-5PM job. I share with you my insight on why working in a huge corporation is one of the best and worst things I decided to do in my early 20's.

A Newfound Relationship with Adulting

Wow! You finally got a big girl/boy job, congrats! You'll have weekends off, a steady income & schedule, and on top of that your parents will speak of you proudly as a young individual with a respectable job. It's awesome, you'll feel like you're finally getting your life together. You'll be making a decent annual salary that will support your spending habits and rent if you live on your own by now.. but little did you know, your carefree adolescent freedom is going to suffer. While your friends are out on the beach having a good time drinking and splashing around in the cool, salty water during summer you'll be stuck indoors at your day job. Welcome to my life.

What's a Vacation?

Are your friends (who don't have corporate occupations) planning a trip to a different state/country? Well I hope you don't think you're going with them. In Corporate America, you have to make sure you've accumulated enough paid time off to get to go on any trips or even take a sick day. And let me tell you, in the entry level position you will most likely be in since you're in your early 20's and all with slim to no experience, your accrual rate for PTO is poopy. So my advice would to be to take as many weekend trips as you possibly can between the time you get off work Friday night until Monday morning when you have to drag your no vacationing butt back to your respectable day job.

Personal vs Professional Growth

Working in a corporate environment helped me grow in ways I find hard to explain in only a few short words, but in a professional and personal aspect I flourished into a damn collective flower. I learned how to work on a team of diverse (that's putting it lightly) individuals and keep a positive outlook on my growth inside and outside of those four walls. I learned how to stay organized and balance a full time job, a social life and managed to stay in school full time without failing any classes (don't ask me how, still trying to figure that one out). I realize that yes, having a full time job that did not consist of crazy shifts was convenient but I felt trapped in this bubble of political drama. This corporate crap is not the finest cup of tea if you ask me.

At age 21, I realized I had time and youth on my side. I can do anything I were to set my mind to, so I left. After one year of putting my time and skills into this convenient occupation I had this sort of vision of where I wanted to be in 5 years and it was NOT at a desk job blinding myself with this awful resolution of a computer screen and filling my every thought with the stress of what I was going to walk into the next day. Let me tell you, I gained 20 pounds just by sitting on my butt all day and not having enough energy to go workout after a long 8 hour day because my brain was fried (checkout some stress eating substitutions that helped me replace my unhealthy cravings). I took my fate into my own hands and I am working towards my dream of being a photo journalist, and I wont stop.. just like you shouldn't. Live your life while you can, happiness comes BEFORE money and don't you dare trap yourself into a mediocre job when you should be doing everything you can do to achieve your passions in life (but hey if that's Corporate America, do you boo). Don't settle.