Monday, February 27, 2017
On being a "young professional"
As I came into work, I wasn't feeling dread or hatred against going to the office but I wasn't feeling joy, excitement, or purpose. I'd almost much rather be angry at my job than have no purpose - better to feel it than feel nothing at all, right?
So I did some simple google research and read some quick articles to get me back on track.
One of the hardest transitions in my life has been the last 2 years. I have absolutely loved, cared for, and nourished all my time in school. I loved every minute of it, the learning, the studying, the late night writing, the early morning studying, all of it. Being a student in and of itself was my passion. Although I loved school, at the end of my Masters I was ready for the next step but oh-so scared so I didn't commit to anything. In my mind, commitment was a chance of failure. I could never fail as a student, I could only keep trying and keep learning and keep getting better. I had a very good inkling that real life wasn't quite the same.
So I flip-flopped. I flip-flopped all over the freaking place. I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I wanted to use my social work degree in the corporate world. Then I found corporate consulting. Then I missed working closely with people. Then I went back to corporate. Then I wanted to use my degree more. Then I went back to studying to be a lawyer. Then I realized I wanted to have decent work-life balance (and money) so I pursued jobs in my field. Then I got a job in the perfect field to do what I had always wanted. And now what?...
I went from being at the top of the academic food chain, hitting every bench mark and exceeding it to the real world were there were no concrete benchmarks, everyone was chasing different ones, and the path was the most unclear it had ever been for me (and continues to be...there is no resolution to this right now). Being the youngest in grad school meant people admired me and thought highly of me, not tooting my own horn as I certainly did not feel this way. In the real world, being the youngest in my office, at every meeting, every group facilitation, every consultation is getting hard to maneuver.
I guess what I am learning is that it seems I have always had a great self-concept and confidence on the outside but often severely lacking it where it really mattered...from myself to myself. I no longer have that concrete knowing of success from academia. That achievement and receiving a certain grade and knowing I did a good job. Now, in the real world I somehow have to decide for myself. Yet also love myself enough to be gentle. Give myself a good grade, yet politely encourage myself to do better.