Lesson #9/Lessons learned from year one part 1


This time last year, I was just about to start my first job out of college. 

Despite the prior four years of Business 101 complements of a Marketing BSB, I had some qualms about what it would take to "make it" in the business world. 

Pre-job jitters probably happen to everyone, but as the product of a "flight suits versus traditional suits" family, the "We've been there, know what it's like, and know you'll be great" pep talk from the parentals wasn't quite the same as I imagine it'd be from my peers' corporate set.

At least I knew I wasn't the only one unsure about what "making it" would take. My mother, for example, was terrified that I'd become a Republican. 

Hearing that made for a good laugh, however, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have mixed feelings about what the transition from school to the adult working world would entail.  

...About if the company I was about to join was the "right place" for me.

...In wondering what personal sacrifices I’d have to make regarding relationships.

...Of being that person who can't part with her work phone.

...Of the challenges I’d face in living my faith in the working world.

Essentially, I questioned,

“How can I do well professionally without losing the things about me that make me me?

Rather than finding the unicorn of "how to's" (i.e. the ever elusive quick answer) though, I instead found through this past year that that the cure for my questioning wasn't something that could be determined ahead of time and then served at the opportune moment. In part, it was something that just happened.

Going back to the things I was angsty about:
  • Re: if this was the right fit: an experience during my second week of training reassured me that this is where I was supposed to be. That particular experience sucked, but the way that my company handled it tooootaly resulted in me drinking the koolaid.
  • Re: sacrifices: nothing says "life as usual" like being staffed locally for a year on lifestyle”/50ish hr per week projects. Hitting yoga 30 days in a row?  Suuuure. Still having standing girls' dates? Ah yup. 
  • Re: being that person: learning (a little too late to avoid some pain) that no matter how hard I worked, the performance system wasn’t designed to have standouts within the first year class. This meant that there wasn't anything to gain by being a work robot at the expense of other things in my life
  • Re: faith: complete non-issue.
This brings me to:
Lesson #9: Time spent in your head gets you nowhere.
Despite the fact that running mental scenarios and what-ifs are things we do exceptionally well, they accomplish only two things: psyching ourselves out and making time disappear.

Unfortunately, the worst part about this lesson isn't what it is, but instead that it isn’t something that we can learn from others or even fully from ourselves in a way that sticks:  No matter how many times we learn it, it still plagues us from time to time.  

As an example, one of the more recent times I remember “learning it” was in the February of my senior year of college. Midwinter, I met with a mentor to talk about Christianity, the workplace, and what it’s really like to live your Faith in the working world.

During this conversation, I’d been going on for a bit about my fears of how to live my faith in the workforce when I noticed my mentor had an amused look on her face. At that point, she stopped me and said firmly, 

Lisa, you’re creating problems that aren’t there.” 

Her next words, 

Wait until you get there, then you’ll know,” 

held far more power than I recognized at the time.

Wait until you get there, then you’ll know.”

That, in my case, is exactly what happened to all of my uncertainties once I started work. Once I got there, then I knew. I didn’t know right away, but I knew what I had to do to figure it out...and I did figure it out. I did know.

Damn Mentors.

To be continued.


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