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Stick it out

To those who are lucky enough to have found what they love to do and have managed to get paid for it, congratulations! I admire your bravery and skill. For the rest of us who haven’t found that dream job and that perfect work environment, I say stick it out.

But I didn’t always…

As a recent graduate I was fortunate enough to nab a job right out of college. It was OK at first. The work had elements of what I thought I wanted to do and the people I worked with were nice enough, but the location wasn’t great and the pay was mediocre, but who was I to complain at just 22 years old? After about two months however, I knew I needed to jump ship. I felt like I was drowning in a dead end position and I wasn’t learning anything. Of course looking back now, I know there is always something to learn and I did gain much-needed experience as a new grad entering the work place. The patience alone needed for my commute was a life lesson worth learning. None-the-less, I had to get out of there.

During the interview process, which lasted almost eight months, I learned a lot about myself. Weaknesses were made clear, skills were pulled to focus and I started to understand what it was I really wanted to do with my life. After over 100 interviews, I landed my new job. I was thrilled! My commute was a breeze, I loved the location and, alas, I had a window to look out of! But what I didn’t realise, at the time, is that I jumped into the same career path as my old job without remembering how I felt. It was the same work and the same politics and the same nonsense that, of late, had started to make me feel bored and weary. I began to think about what it was that got me on this path in the first place?

I had an internship, when I was 20, which gave me specific skills fitting the industry I found myself in now. I thought I liked the internship. I even tried to work at the office again but the timing wasn’t right and was this really what I wanted to do? If I was questioning the work I was doing at such a young age, shouldn’t I see what else was out there? After a rough patch at work and a lot of screw ups on my part, I felt my only solution was to explore my options. If I wasn’t perfect at this job then clearly I wasn’t good at it and no one should want me here. I kept thinking how I was probably going to get fired and so I should just look for another opportunity now. So I started the search again. I had a few things here and there that I thought were promising but nothing seemed great enough to start the whole new-job process over again. I also didn’t know what I wanted to do since I knew finding a job in the same industry was foolish and that I would probably run into similar problems again. I started to feel silly and I was already tired of searching. I realised that I was repeating my previous actions of just leaving to solve my need for change, but more importantly, I felt wishy-washy. I felt like a quitter, so I had to ask myself why it was that I really wanted to leave this job that I had loved so much in the beginning. All the benefits were great and I loved the location.

I think I knew all along what it was that had turned my head towards other opportunities much earlier than I would’ve like to admit, but when I finally admitted it, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was afraid and I was impatient with the rate of progress. I knew then that I did not want to be jumping from job to job just because I didn’t love what I was doing. I hadn’t even been in my current job to know if I didn’t love it!

It’s been almost a year in this position and a few months since my rough patch. I have to say, I’m happy with the decision I made.  I think if I followed through with my job search I would’ve ended up disappointed. I have been doing a lot better at my job and have corrected the things that caused tension and stress earlier. One of the things you only learn by actually being in a job is that no one is just going to fire you. In fact, it’s quite difficult for a person to be fired without cause; something I didn’t fully understand until now. I think that fear helped fuel my own insecurities in my job and definitely affected my work ethic and quality. So I’m happy to say I stuck it out. I’m still not sure if this is the work I want to be in, but I am young and I do not need to find my niche right now. I haven’t even been working full time for four years, so of course I’m going to be unsure about my future. But that’s what being young is.

As I like to find the good in everything, I will say that my short lived need for a new job lead to many great opportunities that definitely satiate my need for change. I am happy to say I have applied for graduate school, finished my first novel and am well on my way to finishing my second. I started volunteering at a non-profit organisation that brings Scots and Americans together and of course I can’t forget, stumbled upon Women Make Waves. I always loved to write and WMW gives me an outlet to let the creative juices flow. Since finding other avenues to direct my energy, I have felt at ease in my full time job and know I made the right decision to stick it out.

Sometimes you don’t have to leave one thing behind to find what you love. Who says you can only have one door open at a time?

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