In my last post I wrote about gratitude. 2013 was mostly a good year with a few hiccups (as expected). With every new year, my personal holidays continue because January brings a bit more than just a new year for me. Being a Capricorn, my birthday is tomorrow (born on the 6th), but not just that, it’s also my work anniversary (the big 5 year)! So I thought I would reflect on a few things as I enter the last year of my 20’s, and continue with my current company.
If you had asked me 9 years ago, “Where will you be at 30?” I’m not sure I’d be happy where I’ve ended up. At 20, I was struggling to be comfortable with myself, denying that I was gay, compensating for that by becoming over-involved in any and every activity I could. My 20 year old self probably never dreamed I would be living in a different city from my family, that I’d have found my fiance (a man), or that I would be a member of a baptist church. I also probably would have expected me to be more career successful than I am, but that would be due to naivety more than ability or economic reality.
The truth is I expect a lot of myself, I always have. Part of it is because my parents have always had high expectations of me. Another part was I had this simplistic view of myself that I wasn’t good enough because I was different. It’s amazing how our past views have shaped us into the people we become. Heck, through writing this blog, I’ve expressed some of the reflections on the person I’ve become. From how I approach opportunity to finding my voice, I’ve grown a lot over the years. And I plan on continuing to grow.
So, turning 29, like I said before, isn’t my only milestone this year. Five years ago, I had my first day at the only company I’ve worked for since I finished school. It was actually supposed to be today, the day before my birthday, but a blizzard kept Steven and I in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for the night. I was just starting as an intern getting paid $15 an hour. That opportunity fell into my lap. That opportunity lead to a Technical Analyst position, which lead me to my current Technology Business Consultant role.
My internship was only 6 months before I was offered a salaried position. I was only in the Analyst position for 2 years before being promoted to Consultant where I currently work. With this 5 year anniversary, I will now have been in this role for 2.5 years, longer than my last 2 positions. If we’ve talked much about work in 2013, you would know that this fact has terrified me. The millennial in me has been going stir crazy. I’ve applied for jobs, gone to numerous interviews, been sought after by recruiters, turned job offers down, and I’m still in the same place. And I’m completely at peace with that now.
My career insecurity kept coming back to the same idea, “If I’m not moving up, I’m not succeeding.” And I’ve had to start finally re-adjusting what it means to be personally successful. It’s not about a number. It’s not about a title. It’s about life. I like what I do. I may not talk about it to anyone because it’s boring to talk about, but I like it. I’m good at it! I’m able to do things I want to do, and lead the life and work towards the future I want. I can’t help but be relieved that I can sit still and be stable in my current role. It’s a struggle, but I’m getting better at it.
So no obligatory resolutions in this post, but more of a profound thankfulness for this past year. A hope that I’m able to continue to become a better person than I was last year. Perhaps I’ll make it to 10 years at my current company, perhaps not, but I am certain that I will enjoy the journey and continue my new found personal success.