I somehow managed to score a pretty good and exciting job in the last five months; I really enjoy it. I’m learning so much about an industry I was completely unfamiliar with outside of boarding a plane and going on vacation.
However, just because I landed this job doesn’t seem to lend me a whole lot of credibility. My abilities are doubted on a daily basis. Not out loud of course, but I can sense those sentiments from those in my office. There are projects that could go directly to me that are given to my boss instead.
Interestingly enough, my boss is not much older than me. Maybe two or three years, but people take her seriously. She once held my position and then was promoted in the span of a little over two years. Maybe there is hope for me. Maybe if I just put my time in people will realize that I am capable.
Because of the minimal age difference between my boss and I, I am constantly second guessing myself. I study her religiously. What does she have that I do not? What does she do that I do not?
Is my hair too long? My makeup too much? Does the leather and leopard print I occasionally wear in the office throw people off of the image that I really want to convey? If I wore pink and pastels would people take me seriously? Do I laugh too loud? Am I not studious enough for the environment? I am quick to laugh, to make a joke, to banter with co-workers. Does that make me look silly and unfocused?
Do I just not fit in the corporate world? I want to.
There is only so much I can do to try and remedy these situations without completely losing the core essence of myself. I should say there is only so much I am willing to do.
I work hard and I learn fast. Occasionally, people compliment my work. I am not expecting constant compliments. That is only when I am at home and make Toph make up for the grueling days.
This is not my first job. I worked for a year in the non-profit sector, but never before have I been so tired at the end of a day of essentially sitting in front of a computer and attending meetings. I’m not complaining. I think the exhaustion means I am working diligently and absorbing as much as I can, and I am grateful for it.
However, I spend a good deal of time doubting myself, asking my boss for advice and help when I shouldn’t. I should be able to handle things better than I am, but I am so afraid of making a mistake.
There was one instance when I did make a mistake. I accidentally sent the wrong all-staff email and tried to recall it. It was an absolute cluster. I was so hard on myself. I cried in the bathroom, shook violently in my cube, knew I was going to get in trouble, if not fired. How ridiculous.
My supervisors were only kind to me. They assured me that everyone makes mistakes, but they were worried about my reaction to my own fallibility. I wished they had been hard on me, but they said that I had already taken care of that myself.
Those reactions are my nature in general, but I think it might have been worse because I am trying so hard to prove my worth. I do not want them to regret their decision to hire me.
I probably sound whiny, but I assure you I am loving this opportunity. I am working with influential people and helping with monumental projects at an entity that makes huge waves in the community. My boss is amazing. She wants me to be connected. She wants to coach me and to find other mentors for me. I think she sees some potential in me, and for that, I am beyond grateful. It would be so easy for her to just assign my work, check it, and assign the next project, but she is invested in me. Everyone around me is kind and helpful and there to answer my questions. Not everything is bad. This age is just hard.
Daily I ask myself what I can do to bypass this stage? Do I really have to wait until I’m in my 40s to be taken seriously? I am driving myself crazy. I am driving my friends and Toph crazy.
He worries because the girl he met was confident in everything she did. She was just heading off to college though. She had travelled to South America in a group in which she knew no one. She had been told her whole life that she was intelligent and funny and would do big things.
I am no different than most people my age who were at all successful in high school and college. Now we are coming up against those who are smarter, funnier, and just generally better. But more than that, it is a time of exploration. Very few of my peers are in the industry they will remain in for the rest of their lives. We are finding ourselves, so they say. It is scary and confusing, and at times, disheartening.
But we will get through this. We will gain the experience we are lacking and we will use it to contribute to our jobs and to society. We just have be patient and learn all that we can.