Life Advisor?

What’s the adult, real-life version of an academic advisor? Ya know, the person who tells you that you’re doing awesome, and then tells you exactly what classes to take next semester? They look at your resume, and tell you you’re awesome, but give you small tweaks to make your resume reflect that awesomeness, and make you seem even more awesome? Is there a life advisor somewhere I’m not aware of?

About a year ago, when I was sitting through Alumni Days – listening to successful, graduated alumni talk about life after college – one of them said something that just recently sort of hit me.

There are no semesters, no constant evaluation in life. There’s nothing, and I mean nothing to break up the monotony. In college – while it could be brutal – there were breaks. There were finals (brutal) but then you were done, and then you went to new classes with new people and new professors and new topics. Now, there are intense deadlines (brutal) but no breaks, and on Monday I return to the same tasks, with the same people, working on the same project. Nothing actually changes, nothing moves forward…

In college, once you pass XYZ1000, you move on to XYZ2000. You fail that class? Oh it’s cool, just take it again.

In life, you manage to complete something, and then you have to do that thing again. And again. And again. Maybe some small things are different, maybe after a year (or several…usually several) maybe, maybe, you get promoted and get to make more money to do those things. But fuck something up? You could get fired. You don’t get to try it again.

Essentially, the consequences for fucking up are greater, but the rewards are lesser. And there are no life advisors to tell you you’re awesome, or which projects to take on, or what the hell to do about your resume. Instead, the other adults just… let you flail around out there, watching you squirm. They probably enjoy it, too. Buncha jerks.

How Long Is Too Long?

I told myself I’d wait a year before evaluating my job and related life choices. I told myself I’d wait a year before looking for a new location.

I tell myself to give him at least 3 days to respond. If he doesn’t respond to my first 2 texts, what makes me think he’ll respond to the third in as many days? Don’t be the first to text him again. Give him space if that’s what he wants, or he’s busy. If he wants to talk to me, he’ll talk to me. If I’m not on his mind as much as he’s on mine, he’s not worth it anyway.

How long is too long to wait? In a place, a job, a non-relationship? How long is too long and the wine goes bad?

How long is too long to wonder?

“So, what do you do?”

Every time I see someone I haven’t talked to since I got my job, of course we ask each other what we’ve been up to. I tell them I graduated, got a job, live in a different part of the state, etc. Then they ask “So what do you do?” and I tell them my title, which like most titles, essentially means nothing. Sometimes they actually accept this as an answer, which is awesome, and maybe they ask what company I work for. Which, again, most people haven’t heard of most B2B companies so me telling them means nothing. They’ve heard of the main client I work for, but I can’t exactly tell them that so I continue being vague. If none of this is acceptable, they then ask something to the effect of “Soooo what does that mean? What do you actually do all day?”

Here’s the weird part for me. I have no idea. I mean yeah, I know what I do on a daily basis. I know what my job description is, vaguely. But, for example, I don’t know what to put on my resume. I never do. I mean, I know the tasks I do and what they’re used for, and in theory what the client uses them for. However, to anyone not in the industry, anything I say isn’t going to make sense. So I either ramble out some jargon about panels, verbatims, reporting specs, and testing scenarios, or I just say “I sit at a desk all day.” Neither of which actually answers their question, and it doesn’t sound the slightest bit glamorous, but neither is my job. And I get that I’m entry level, I really do. I understand that I’m just a glorified intern. And yet…I constantly feel like anything I do has no significance, no impact, and no value whatsoever.

That’s not exactly selling myself, is it?

Maybe if I was less ambitious this would all be ok. I would sit in my cubicle, put in my time, and wait until it was time to retire. Follow the suggested path, keep my head down, etc etc. I just can’t do that, though. On the other hand, I’ll be the first person to admit I can be a lazy piece of shit. Motivation eludes me for the better part of the day and maybe even week – but only when I’m not interested. If I can find a task or project that is challenging and interesting, then I also find it motivating. What I do now, is neither of those things. Some tasks, occasionally, yes. Any new things that break the monotony of my normal job routine, I will jump at the chance to tackle those projects on my own and I’ll spend all day trying to figure it out and how to do it well.

But how do I do that on a daily basis? Where is this magical job that makes me passionate about my work? Of course I understand there will always be good days and bad, but where’s the job that motivates me to do more than just kill time in my cubicle?

I love that I know things about economics and I even appreciate that I had to suffer through a few accounting classes, but that is what I really wish they would have taught me in college. How to find my perfect fit of what I’m good at and what I’m passionate about. I don’t know even how anyone would have taught such a thing…but I wish someone had. How do I figure out what I want? Once I do, how do I get there?

“Give it time,” they say. Maybe patience has just never been my strong suit, because I’m only 23 and I couldn’t be more restless.

A Special Kind of Limbo

I’m going to start with this disclaimer: I’ve never been very good at blogging.

I used to love writing and maybe even got good at it for awhile, but I usually can’t keep up with the same topic for long. Similarly, I could never get through the whole month of NaNoWriMo and actually end up with a novel. At best I’d have a very detailed outline, a beginning, and some short stories. But no novel.

So why the hell am I doing this? Well, in a sentence: I have to do something.

I’m 23 and just graduated with a business degree. I’m one of the few lucky unicorns to find a job out of school. This all sounds great, except I live over 70 miles away from most of my friends. (why would I do such a thing? we’ll talk about it in a later post, I promise). What I’m doing for my job is fine, but it’s certainly not my dream job, if there is such a thing. So I go to work where I’m basically a glorified intern with benefits, go back to my 495 sq ft apartment, and watch Netflix until I fall asleep. Sometimes I go to the gym or try to eat a vegetable or two. Sometimes I go on dates. Sometimes I just wander around my new city.

Ultimately, I imagine some of you are in the same weird place I am. Maybe the limbo you’re in is your current dating situation, your career, a general question of “who am I?” or something else entirely. Maybe the limbo is all three.

I’m going to ramble and rant and maybe make you feel less alone. I’ll probably swear a lot and make some grammar mistakes (if I haven’t already. And for the record – not because I don’t know the grammar, but because I believe voice is important in a blog). I have a weird and wide collection of interests from reading and soccer to economics and travel. I’m also a bit of a feminist and incredibly sarcastic so that’s bound to show up. I’ll try to break up the text with pictures of my tiny apartment, cooking experiments, and corgis.

I won’t tell you what you’re thinking, but I know what I’m thinking: “shit, I’m just another millennial kid with a blog, super original.” Who knows. Maybe it doesn’t have to be original, maybe all the original blogs are taken. Maybe as I figure out what makes me original, I can start to figure out what I really want, and even get out of this limbo. Maybe.