(Note: this is a guest post by Megan Berry (my daughter), first posted at her blog Part-time Perfectionist. It’s so closely related to my normal startup topics that I decided to re-post it here.)

Early last year I was knee-deep in a job search and also a perhaps predictable crisis trying to “find” myself and figure out just what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Luckily, I soon came to the much more manageable conclusion that while figuring out the rest of my life was dauntingly impossible, I could find what I wanted to do in the next few years (or attempt it anyway).

And indeed, I did finally find the right job for me. I started work for Mobclix, a mobile ad exchange, last July. As July approached I was both excited and a bit terrified of joining this “real world” I’d heard so much about.Was it really quite as devoid of fun as adults made it seem? Luckily, I’ve discovered the answer is no.

In fact, at times it seems just like college:

  1. I’m surrounded by smart people, and they are all pretty close to my own age.
  2. I always have too much work to do and not enough time.
  3. I’m learning every day (many days, I’m learning much more than I did in college)–about social media, giving real-life presentations (definitely different from school presentations), talking to developers (our target market) and how to best work together with colleagues.
  4. There’s always junk food around (and this definitely isn’t always bad . . . )

Oh, and in case you’re curious, here are the ways the real world (or my real world, to be more accurate) is definitely different from college:

  1. Having a real job brings new meaning to the “I don’t have enough time in the day” problem. I thought I was busy in college. Now I know what busy is (and I’m sure my older sisters with kids will tell me I still don’t know what busy is, but luckily I don’t have to worry about that yet).
  2. Evaluation isn’t so simple. You don’t just get a grade.
  3. The gender balance is little bit different. At least in my case, where I work with basically all guys since I’m in a tech startup. See my recent blog post on Huffington Post for my take on that.
  4. There’s less room for perfection. I found in college I could study long enough to get everything done–definitely at the cost of my own free time, but it was possible. Now, I simply cannot get everything done, and I have to try to get as much stuff done well as I can. Getting something done “perfectly” is a waste of time.
  5. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. In college people are always asking you “what do you want do after you graduate?” “Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?” and generally debating the meaning of life. Work leaves less time for that. Occasionally, I have to take a step back and decide I’m still heading in the right direction. For now, the answer is definitely yes.
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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.