Rediscovering Yourself

I lose track of myself all the time and I don’t even know I’m doing it. Just one day I’ll snap back into place and realize I’ve been wasting life away.

I get into these ruts where all I do is nap after work. Where I stop putting time into my appearance. Ruts where I don’t do anything for myself anymore. And the worst part about it is that I’ve actually convinced myself that what I’m doing is good for me.

That maybe I just need a little rest, maybe I need to be alone, maybe I need to just be a lump for a day. And then one day turns into two and then that turns into a week. And before I know it I’ve lost myself.

While it’s true we all need days to relax and be a lump, it’s easy to fall into a pattern and stay there. Why should I push myself? Why should I get up? I’m tired.

But I’m making myself more tired by not pushing myself a little. Because now the tiniest of things will cause me stress. I need to rediscover myself and get back out of my comfort zone. Only then will I find the energy I need and find myself again.

So I’ve signed up for yoga. I’ve made an appointment to get my hair done. Lists are being made, priorities won’t be forgotten. It’s the little things that can get neglected, but those are the things that can make the biggest difference in your life.

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My Work Personality

We all have to act certain ways to fit in sometimes, but I try never to stray too far from my true personality. While some people choose to get very prim and proper at work and keep a professional face at all times, that’s just never been my style.

I’m a casual and approachable person, I want people to feel comfortable around me. I don’t ditch my sarcastic quips or approachable demeanor just because I’m in a room of suits. I try to make everyone comfortable around me and it seems to work.

I recently read this blog post about a study saying that when women joke in the work place, it comes off as disruptive and unprofessional. But when men do it, it’s a way of producing positive outcomes. I’m not surprised at all by this. It goes along with the strong stereotype of women comedians not being funny.

On the other hand, women that don’t crack jokes can be seen as hard or bitchy. It’s usually a no-win situation.

And while I’m not surprised, I’m not going to change my work ways. I may come off as unprofessional to you, but I’m still getting my work done. I’m still successful. And I think I do a pretty good job of making people comfortable and trusting of me.

I’ve been lucky enough to work in a predominantly female environment. It’s very empowering to sit around a conference table of all women. It shows me that women of any personality can be successful. Being your true, authentic self is one of the most important things you can do in life.

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What I Actually Learned In College

College is a scam. I think most people know that by now, but I hate the whole way college has been pushed on young people. We are presented with the idea that further education is the only way to go and to go that way you need to go into debt.

I went to school with so many people who went to college because that’s what they thought they were supposed to do. Only to drop out and work in a trade that they had an interest in before even going into college – which is perfectly FINE. But I hate that they felt they had to take out loans to go to school when they had a perfectly suitable career path lined up without it.

I didn’t learn anything about my current career in college. I learned almost nothing academically. My first two years were spent taking gen eds that I never used and even my major-focused courses were a complete joke. I can give props to two of my classes that I took for my concentration – New Media I and New Media II. These classes taught me how to blog and taught me html which was very useful. I will give an honorable mention to my online journalism class but that’s about it.

What I actually learned in college is how to make friends. I learned how to manage a schedule. I learned how to put myself out there. I learned how to be accountable for my actions. The experience of college taught me much more than the classes ever did – but I don’t think experience itself is worth tens of thousands of dollars a year.

I know that there are careers out there that need college. But everything I know about my field of work I learned while working in it or I taught myself. I know that most of the time in college, students are self teaching anyway because professors are overloaded or just suck.

I hate the scam that is college. I don’t regret college but I do regret paying that much for the idea of an education – for a degree that says I was taught something in their school when I could’ve done it on my own plus $300 for those other 3 classes I mentioned.

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How To Disconnect From Work

I used to never have an issue with a work/life balance until I was promoted and took on more responsibility.

I didn’t spend the hours after work thinking about my day and what my next day would look like. I wasn’t brainstorming ideas for a project. I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to answer those emails, but now work follows me home and it’s extremely exhausting.

If you’re like me and need to disconnect from work, here are some things that have helped me:

Set your hours – unless I have a special event or something, my hours are 8:30 to 5. There is wiggle room, but anything outside of those hours I am not doing work.

Delete email from your phone – I don’t sync up my work email to my phone. I can check it if I log in online, but that’s a much lengthier process than just opening an app. I don’t let myself check email outside my working hours.

Take the PTO – I never had a problem taking my time off until now. Even though I know things will continue just fine without me, there is a level of guilt when taking time off and shirking responsibilities.

Stop talking about work – when I’m not at work, I don’t talk about work. Sometimes my boyfriend and I will exchange complaints. But we don’t harp on the topic of work after work hours.

Unplug in general – after work is a great time to leave your phone in the other room. My work temptation stems from my phone so I try not to stay with it after work is done.

Remember your job is important, but your mental health is more important. Don’t get too caught up in living to work.

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Doubting Myself

When I got the position I work in now, I simply told everyone that I was moving to take a new position. That I was staying with my company and doing a little bit more than I was doing before. I didn’t go around saying I got a promotion, I just didn’t see it like that.

It’s funny how much doubt we have in ourselves and how we truly fail to acknowledge our accomplishments. I always feel like I’ve just gotten lucky. But a promotion is a big deal, I should’ve celebrated with champagne and congratulations. I brushed it all off, though, I didn’t take the time to really appreciate my win.

When people took the time to dig a bit about my new job, I would then mention that it was a promotion. I was greeted with fist bumps, congrats, and kind words. Things I didn’t expect at all and things that truly made me feel good. Other people acknowledged my accomplishment, but I still didn’t see it that way because of all of my self doubt.

Writing this, I realize how little worth I apply to myself. How I made the move to New Hampshire alone and started a new job alone that I’m far from failing at. I actually feel at the end of each week I’m doing well, but I don’t do anything to celebrate that.

This weekend, I’m going to go out to dinner. I’m going to celebrate myself and my accomplishments. I’m going to put my doubts aside for a little bit and really recognize how far I’ve come. There aren’t many people who have done what I do at my age and it’s time I start giving myself more love.

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Moving On Professionally

It can be really really hard to decide when your time is up at a job.

I have only worked at two different companies after graduating college, so my experience is limited. But at my first job, I was there 6 months and knew there was no real growth potential there because I was their only marketer on staff and I was making peanuts. There were some other red flags and even fresh out of college I knew it was time to move on.

It’s easy to start applying to jobs, go on a few casual interviews. It’s hard to say goodbye to the people you work with every day, who you eat lunch with every day, people you’ve grown so close with. And it’s hard to turn your back on a place that gave you a job, a great opportunity, and the skills to move forward.

Now I can easily tell when I need to move on when I feel like I’m not being challenged or I am just generally unhappy from day to day. So I give myself two options: 1. Ask for a change or 2. Find a new job. Once you make the decision to move on, you’re faced with the time consuming work of applications and interviews. It can seem daunting, it can even convince you to stay where you are just a little bit longer because of all the time it takes.

But we all do it, we all move on. And your employer really should be happy for you, their goal should have always been to help you grow and if there is no place for you to go with that growth then it should be clear to them you will move on. If your employer isn’t like that, then it should also be clear to them that you won’t be sticking around.

It’s hard to move on professionally, but the risk is so necessary. For your happiness, your health, and your development.

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Post Travel Blues

On the last day of my trip, there is always a little bit of excitement. I’m excited to sleep in my own bed again, have access to all of my things, see my friends and family. But as I sit in traffic on the last leg of the trip home, I overwhelmingly feel dread.

Traveling is such an amazing experience. To me, it is all about experiencing new cultures and places. To me, it’s about finding new places that I could potentially call home one day. Some trips leave me with less dread than others, some locations could just simply never be home. But the ones I get emotionally attached to are so hard to leave.

Because I’m leaving them to come home to a place I’m not exactly thrilled about. And I’m immediately thrown back into the real world of bills, work, and mediocrity. Traveling doesn’t always feel like a vacation where I can put my butt in the sand and not move for 5 days and come home feeling relaxed. But it is always a vacation from real life.

The post travel blues hit me hard for a couple of days, it’s like jet lag, and then eventually I adjust. Then I begin counting down the days until I can put that out of office up again and feel free for a while. That’s what paid time off is for, right?

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