School of thought from Branigan's new girl

Remember the first day of school? The excitement you felt as you stepped into a new classroom, armed with stylish school supplies and ready to take on the year ahead? Well, as the new girl at Branigan Communications, I can tell you that starting a new job isn’t unlike the first day of school.

Sure, there’s no recess or class pet (although at BC we do have Bear, the office dog), but there are a lot of parallels. No matter how old we are, we still experience the same anticipation, and maybe even a little anxiety, that is oh-so-familiar from many first days of school.

Then: I hope my outfit’s OK.
Now: I hope my outfit’s OK.
If you look good, you feel good. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Tweety Bird backpack and a plaid skort (an actual outfit I wore on the first day of third grade), or an LBD and heels, a great outfit sets the tone for your first day.

Then: Will I make new friends?
Now: Will I like my co-workers?
At school, our friends made the days more tolerable and even fun. It’s not weird that each of us wanted a study hall buddy or a crew to sit with at lunch during school hours, so why wouldn’t we want to get along with (and genuinely like!) our co-workers?

Then: I wonder if my teacher is nice.
Now: I wonder if my boss is a good mentor.
Thanks to the older kids at school, you’d probably already heard things about your teacher before your first day of class — most importantly, whether he or she was nice or mean. While it’s a bit more complicated in the workplace, you still want your boss to be someone you respect and feel comfortable seeking out when you need advice or guidance.

Then: When’s lunch?
Now: When’s lunch?
Whether you’re 6 or 26, eating is essential. Enough said.

Then: I don’t want to get a bad grade.
Now: I don’t want to fail.
It’s in our nature to want to succeed, so even the possibility of failure scares us. As a kid, we were excited to learn new things — long division, biology, and how to actually pronounce “Hermione” in the Harry Potter series! Sure, you messed up sometimes (Her-my-oh-nee was Her-mee-own for a long time), but you moved past it. At a new job, the stakes seem higher, but it’s still OK to fail as long as you’re resilient enough to move past your mistakes and learn from them.

All in all, I like my new school … I mean, job. Lunch, co-workers, boss — all good. Doing well on the learning curve … and I’m killing the outfits.

— Ashley Thill, account director