Monday, October 9, 2017

To the Twenty Something Stuck in a Career Rut, You're Not Alone

Just moments before sitting down to write this, I was in conversation with Nathaniel about plans and actions to be taken as far as career and jobs go for the upcoming months. For those of you who don't know, I work in a retail setting, some of you might be aware of, Joann's Fabrics and Crafts. I began with the company in August, the summer after my Senior year. I always thought of if to be a "temporary job", something to get me through school and keep me steady until I graduated and grew the wings to fly on my own, to begin the career I went to school for. Here we are, 3 states (MT, ID, CA for those of you keeping tabs), a Cosmetology license (for a state I no longer live in), and the ongoing worry of what's next, later I just hit my three year mark with the company. To some, especially those who have been with the same job for many, many years (props to you if you're happy and succeeding), it may not seem like a lot, but as an early twenty something who is at times impatient, an over analyzer, and a little bit antsy to get going on something to help her kick off some sort of "lifetime fulfilling career", it seems like quite the journey. 

Now, let me begin by saying I am in no way bashing or putting down the company and those I've worked with. I've truly worked with some very important people and grown close to many of them; most who have been with Joann's for years and years and if they were reading this, I would hope that they would understand my thoughts and the perception I have on this topic as I've talked about it in the past months with coworkers that I feel like I can call family still today. 

It truly and honestly scares me to think that something that began as a "temporary job" is slowly turning into my safety net. I began this job as an ambitious young teenager and as I grow with the company, I am slowly relying on it more and more, pushing aside my dreams and ambitions. Through high school, I never aspired to be where I am today (job wise), I saw myself doing runway shows, working with some of the best in the industry, mentoring under inspiring people to help me grow as an artist in my career field. A few years go by and here you are, looking back on the thoughts you had while you were younger and thinking if only life was that easy, and maybe it entirely would be if I hadn't lost some of that ambition and spark along the way.

I was on the phone with my mom the other day and I swear every time we talk, her motherly instincts take over and she spits out something referring to "how about your tests, have those been scheduled yet?" Feeling ashamed, I repeat the same way I usually do, "not yet, still working on it". After receiving my license in ID, I only held it for a few months before Nathaniel and I decided to pick up and move to San Diego. Unfortunately, in doing so, since I have not held my license for over three years, I have to retake my practical and written examinations. I don't know what it is about tests, but the thought of them really stresses me out. My over analyzing kicks in and I feel like I have to plan out every exact detail about what I'm going to do after I get my license before I even begin to fill out the forms to be considered to take them. I don't want to take my tests and still be stuck where I am as I write this, working with a safety net, instead of putting full force into passions and goals. It swear it drives Nathaniel absolutely batty when I talk about my thought process.

It’s really hard for me to take that leap of faith, hoping and praying that leaving one job will lead to success in other future career paths. Looking back on these last three years of work at the craft store, it’s a little frightening thinking that I’ve been completely okay just doing what I’m doing. It’s scary as a twenty something, the pressure of trying to figure out what’s next with your career; finding something that you'll enjoy enough to carry out through the next few decades. I told my mom the same thing this last time we talked & she reminded me that many people go to school a few times throughout their life to find something else they’re passionate about, something to fuel their fire again.

As of lately, that’s exactly how I can describe myself,

                                   burnt out.

The idea of dedicating my life currently to something that isn't really helping that fire build up is flustering. Sometimes life does get in the way of things, and it's hard to pick up where we left off and build on that again. On top of that, who really knows what their doing? Life seems to throw so many curve balls and sometimes all you can do is stand back, take a deep breathe and try to plan out your next swing.

In short, I'm not really sure what the next step will be after taking my tests, and I'm terrified of falling and not carrying out with plans when I do get my license. That's sort of what these years in our twenties is for though, isn't it: failing and restarting? There is time to make mistakes, sort out your life and trying to find out where you went wrong and how to make up for the lost years of settling at a part time job that you never figured you would stick with for more than a year. To the twenty somethings that are in that same rut that I am, there's still time. There's time to make mistakes and fix them, and when you realize what your life is coming to and if it's not exactly how you pictured it, there's still time to fix that! Sometimes we just have to take that initial leap and hope for the best, strive for the top and keep climbing because eventually we'll all get there.


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