On realizing my limits.

Once again, I’ve been on an unexplained absence for more than 6 months. A lot has happened in that time, and yet a lot has not. The short of it is: I’m now 33, a fat person who exercises regularly, owner of a completely healed right hand, loser of final 2 wisdom teeth, and still single.

I am not entirely sure what has prompted my need to introspect, but this blog has beef gnawing at my thoughts for the better part of the week. I miss the ability to type freely about all of my thoughts, especially since I am more eloquent here. So here goes.

When I first gained employment after graduating in 2013, I was sure I had found a place to grow and expand my role. After 2.5 years, I came to the realization that I had been deceived. I was restless yet my supervisor curiously seemed unwilling to help me learn more or even to promote me.

Frustrated, I moved on to a different role. Yet this was primarily an academic appointment, meaning I had the additional responsibility of seeking grant opportunities.

If you know me, you know I hate grant writing. I would not have taken this position had they been honest with me. Instead, they lead me to believe that I could continue being funded by other grants without having to find my own.

In fact, there was barely any funding for me at all by the end of 2015. To cover half of my salary, my work was farmed out to another division. And then, I was doing ad hoc projects for a third division. By January 2016, I was doing 3 jobs for the pay of 1.

Frazzled does not begin to describe my state of mind. I was a strange amalgam of elated and exhausted. When I finally burnt out, it was not a pretty sight.

Thankfully, the academic division let me know they could no longer fund me after July 16. Of course my initial reaction was one of sorrow and hurt, but this gave me he opportunity to explore other positions, within my current organization and externally. Funnily enough, whlie I searched externally, I felt as though I would be leaving too soon. It had only been a year, and I want nearly as exhausted as I had been in my first-ever position.

So I made the decision to stay, and learned quite a bit along the way:

  1. Professional happiness is a choice, not a revelation. You may think you need to search for ‘the job that makes you happy,’ but barring special circumstances, you can often find professional fulfillment where you are. Of course, if the work environment deteriorates to the point where you do not feel safe and/or appreciated, GET OUT. Otherwise, trust your gut when deciding where to go.
  2. Never be afraid to say no. Yes, this one sounds pretty dumb, but I think this is a difficult lesson for employees with 5 or less years of experience. The truth is, it’s you’re life. You’re the one that needs to deal with the repercussions of your decisions. Certain jobs are lucrative for new hires yet have unsustainable work hours (i.e. some finance jobs). Others move at an equally fast pace and can fulfill you, yet may pay less. There will always be a compromise, whatever your decision, so be prepared to negotiate with yourself.
  3. Do not be naive – not all of your coworkers are your friends. In fact, be surprised if you find more than 1 or 2 coworkers who you can trust. Yes, I sound really pessimistic but I have the tendency of assuming the best of people, then inevitably being disappointed. Do not be like me. You don’t have to assume the worst of people – instead, approach them with a blank slate. Allows your coworkers to show you who they are over time. < \li> < \ol>

    I have more to process so expect more posts shortly.