“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it ” – Steve Jobs
Ah, your first job fresh out of college. The moment you had been building up for and waiting for since pre-k. You’ve finally landed your first job after college and are ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle the most pressing corporate, nonprofit, financial, and/or government issues. This is it, your moment to shine and you’re ready for the challenge. Your first few months fly by, and before you know it the six-month mark is upon you. It’s at this point, or some point soon after where the honeymoon phase dwindles away, and you find yourself “stuck.” This is a moment that no amount of midterm prep or lab experience could’ve helped you maneuver around the overbearing feeling of being utterly lost. SOS!
I felt supercharged and ready to tackle the world and make my mark and instead I grew to be quite underwhelmed and unsatisfied with my quality of life. In less than a year I had exchanged my day parties accompanied by hard liquor and lemonade for sushi and Netflix. Surprisingly I wasn’t the only person experiencing this fierce bout of grandma syndrome. Granted, growing up is all part of setting aside those raging party days behind you, does growing up inherently mean all fun ends?
In sitting down with friends, peers, and family, I found myself and others asking, “I can’t tell if I hate my job, my life, or both?” No matter how deep our conversations went, we could never get to the root of why we all felt so stuck, lost and uneasy with the status of our young lives and careers.
Upon reflection with my phenomenal best friend, we took to the drawing board and tried to make sense of this unbearably empty sense of existence. What had changed in less than a year and when did our motivation and overdrive dwindle? What was different? Aside from the freedom of ditching class for day parties plus sangria, where had we gone wrong?
For us, we lost steam because we weren’t able to dedicate the same amount of time to things we were passionate about OUTSIDE of our professional lives. We had become so consumed with work and a possible side job or two to pinch pennies and barely squeeze by for rent. Somewhere along the line, we had fallen into this false idea that growing up meant dropping things that were once important to us: like cross fit, yoga, volunteering, makeup, concerts, travel. We had unconsciously learned to work…and were saddened that this was all we had to look forward to. In throwing ourselves completely into our careers, we had compromised what mattered most: our quality of life.
Well, this is an SOS I’m sending out to all of you young professionals stuck in the mud and trudging through your work days in dismay. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live my life like this any longer. I’m taking charge, and I will find a way back to my previous quality of life, and basically get myself ‘unstuck.’ If you can relate, you are not alone, and I’m hoping to move myself and all of you towards your next adventure- reclaiming your life. Stay tuned!