Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Climbing Up Into Clouds of Uncertainty

I remember all too clearly when I started my first job right out of college just over 2 years ago today. I was nervous, jittery, working late nights, and all just so I could get ahead and make a good name of myself. I also remember that a few months later, I was dreading everything. I even dedicated an entire post to this period in my life. I felt lost, confused, and was trying to find a way out by any means possible short of getting fired. I hated my job, I felt unfulfilled, and honestly, I missed being at school.

If you told me from a year and a half ago that I would still be at the same company, my from back them would have laughed and probably even felt a little disappointed in myself. "Why didn't you leave? Could you not find another job?" past me would have said. And that may have been the case. A little over a year ago today, I was interviewing with a few places, trying to find a way out. Nothing ultimately panned out.

Fast forward to today. I stuck it out at my job, entered a rotational program with a marketing/strategy type group last fall at the same company, and this past June, I changed jobs again and got promoted from the rotational program. 

So, uhhh.....I'm a manager now. Surprise?

So I don't manage people, well, not directly at least. I tell people in other departments what they need to do and I hold their managers and directors accountable. It's a strange place to be. I'm 23 close to 24, and I have an office, a manager title, and a strong, but not spectacular salary. I work on an equal level with people who manage teams and have years on years of experience over me. I'm invited to executive round tables, have to speak with directors as if they were my peers, and am held to a standard and have responsibilities that I feel are above my experience level.

I feel like a child dressed up in dad's suit and trying to fit in at the adult table the first year I'm allowed to sit there on Thanksgiving. I feel like I'm playing a game or performing in some kind of act, and eventually the illusion will break and people will stop respecting what I tell them. Yes, it's a professional office and people take their jobs seriously enough to not mock me or talk down to me, yet still, it still feels wrong that me, a guy who graduated two years ago and is less than a handful of years past the legal drinking age, has the job I do.

I'm feeling a lot of the same emotions I felt when I hit bottom after I started working right out of school. Maybe it's just the same emotions that come with starting any new job. I'm working late nights again. I constantly worrying that I've done something wrong despite the generally glowing reviews I have heard so far. I'm also caught in the cycle of feeling that despite my best efforts, at the end of the day, people see what I do as mediocre or simply disappointing. Without going too in depth, the nature of my job and team is not a glamorous one. Reps that get the end products of what my team puts out generally don't care much for it or don't think of it much, managers who have to manage those reps see me mostly as a source of extra work and stress, and the directors and VPs see my team as useless, slow moving oafs who are out of touch from what the reps actually need and provide little of value. As someone who thrives on feedback, I think you can see why I may be so anxious all the time and struggle with relaxing and unwinding at the end of the day. I won't say I'm at nearly a low spot as I was a year and a half ago, but the deja vu is real.

If you've made it this far, I wanted to apologize for the constant "I feel/I'm feeling" repetitiveness you have read so far. With any major change that has occurred in my life, there is one thing that I've come to notice about myself and that is that my emotions tend to ramp up before eventually settling back down. So you are seeing me cope right now. I'm trying to find a way to reconcile a few pieces and sides of me.

1. Me, the 23 Year old who is trying to play adult and become comfortable working with others much older and experienced than myself and seeing them as peers

2. Me, the young professional who knows he can do the job and do it well. I know I will always put in my best and triple check all details of what do to put out a quality product.


3. Me, the person who needs to realize that at the end of the day, I need to take care of myself and realize the world does not revolve around work or pleasing others. 

Where will I end up ultimately in the long term? I don't know. I did just start a new job. My new director saw something in me to request a promotion for me and have me join her team. That being said, I don't know if this is the job that I want to stick with as a career. My coworkers are great people and I do interesting and challenging work. But again, like when I started my first job, that sense of fulfillment is missing. The day I can wake up and be excited to go to work and truly love what I'm doing is when I will stop exploring my career options. That's why even now, I am still searching for jobs.

Who knows, maybe that sense of fulfillment will slowly build the longer I stay in this job. If hindsight has taught me anything, the longer you stick it out, the easier things become.

Wish me luck.

All the Best,


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Successful Night

It's been a while since I've seen my friend Maria smile and truly glow with life. After we both graduated high school and then undergrad, I've always hoped I would see her with that spark in her eye again. A spark that says "fuck yeah this is what I'm capable of." It has been a long time since I've seen that smile. School, friend, and boy drama always seemed to drag her down. But tonight was different. I got to see a fire and spark in her again for the first time in what seemed like forever.

Tonight was one of those rare nights where Maria, myself, and Christine were all in town, and tonight, we had a fourth joining us for dinner. Maria, for the first time, had a true boyfriend that made her giddy and truly enthused with the world. Let's call this new man Jack. Maria and Jack met through Tinder and had chatted for months while she was still at law school half way across the country. Jack was in DC, hundreds of miles away. Their romance grew over time, first texting, then nightly face-timing, and now that Maria is back in the DC area for the summer, actually hanging in person. If Tinder needed an example couple for their marketing materials, I think they may have found a prime example. But I digress.

The reason I was so excited for dinner tonight was a simple one. Tonight would be the first time I would meet Jack in person. This meant a lot for me because:

1. Maria has always told me that if I didn't like a potential suitor, she couldn't continue the relationship. Big pressure on him and me to have that male-bond "click"

2. I wanted to size this guy up since I have high standards and expectations for Maria (I'm protective, what can I say?)

3. She's been hyping him up for months so I kinda need to meet this dude in person, y'know?

So the four of us met for sushi in DC and immediately hit it off. He's a pretty soft spoken guy but good looking and charming. He rolled with the punches and the jabs Christine and I made and even made  few jokes back himself. He had a deep voice and muscular arms and protector vibe to him that made me comfortable that Maria would be safe.

We were really starting to get comfortable when I got a call from the BF. Except, it wasn't the BF on the other end of the line. It was one of his coworkers.

He had gone out on a day trip earlier that day with some of his coworkers and was sick. A combination of too much drink and sea-sickness got the better of him (they were out on a boat). His coworker was worried for him and wanted to make sure he made it back safe and that he wasn't alone. Getting that call ended up being the end of the long await night for me. I had gotten through maybe a third of my drink when I got the call and my food wasn't even close to arriving. I asked my waitress to have my food packed to-go, said my hurried good-byes, and I Ubered back to my apartment to await him and his ride.

Was it upsetting that everything came to an abrupt end? Yeah. I had been looking forward to meeting Maria's new boyfriend all week, and after the last few weeks of hell that work has been, I was excited to unwind with some old friends. But that said, even for the short time I was able to see Maria, Christine, and Jack, I could see in Maria's eyes that she had truly found someone that made her happy. That brightness was back, the smiles were genuine, and the laughs at Jack's bad jokes could not be faked. Thankfully my BF is ok as well. He's embarrassed, upset, and will probably have the hangover from hell in the morning, but he too is safe and curled up in my bed. So with the twists, turns, and unexpected bumps, one good thing did some out of tonight, and that is being able to know that my best friend is finally, truly, happy. That made tonight a successful night.

All the best,