Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

What it is Like to Work for the First Time After School

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From the point of view of a newbie

In summer I graduated from school with the Abitur, the highest school leaving certificate in Germany. Afterwards I made a trip through Europe and now I am working for the first time in my life (or better said I am doing a dual study). But what about having to work for the first time? What is good and what is not compared to school?

About the school-leaving examination phase

Before I got my school leaving certificate, there were of course exams to be taken, for which I was prepared for two years. Instead of classes as in the past, there were now courses, so in each subject students sat together with different ones. Also, considerably longer and more difficult examinations were written and mountains of knowledge had to be learned.

Nevertheless, I managed to get through it quite well. I didn’t spend my nights studying all the time or making myself dead for school. Unlike many others, I did something for the school, but only to the extent that my grades met my expectations.

Eventually, I graduated from high school with a better grade than I would have expected at the beginning.

About the application phase

For some time it had been clear to me that I wanted to do a dual course of studies in computer science. Dual study means studying at a university and at the same time doing an apprenticeship in a company and earning some money.

Accordingly, I applied to a total of three companies six months before graduation. Two of them are large international companies that have a business unit in my hometown, the third is a medium-sized company, but I have already completed several internships with them, so I knew them quite well.

Unfortunately, the two big corporations didn’t want me, so I finally decided to work for the company that I had some experience with. Nevertheless, I was already looking forward to the beginning.

About working

But now to the actual topic of this article, the working. Here are the things I’ve noticed as a newbie:


  • No homework: This may sound a bit strange, but the fact that there are no homework assignments is a really great thing compared to school. For example, you don’t have to think about all the work you need to do when you get home, and you don’t wake up in the morning feeling uncomfortable to have forgotten anything.

  • No grades: Grades have a great influence on students at school and can subconsciously cause them to think at every thing they do first whether it can have a positive or negative effect on their grades. This can make them want to do nothing and make school more painful than fun. Regardless of the discussion as to whether grades are useful or not, it’s great not to be graded at work in the same way as at school.

  • Things I like to do: In contrast to the school, where I had to study subjects such as German or Religion, which I didn’t enjoy at all, it is ideally the case that I choose a profession at work, which I like to do and where I do tasks that I do, not because I have to do them, but because I want to do them.

  • Money: Even one thing that cannot be completely neglected is the compensation… 💸


  • Less breaks: It is not possible to concentrate for hours at a time. Every now and then a break is necessary, where you can relax and relax for a while. At work I only have a 30-minute break during the day, which I spend on lunch, but to switch off briefly, a short toilet visit is enough.

  • Less vacation: Instead of 6 weeks of summer holidays and two weeks of holidays in spring, autumn and Christmas, I now have only 30 days off a year in total. Much less, but admittedly, I often used the holidays in the past to learn for the next examinations.

All in all, I find the work so far more enjoyable than school, but who knows how this will change when my university phase begins and I will only do practical phases in the company during the time when there are no lectures. Am I just a crazy guy or do others share my opinion?


Jan-Lukas Else
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