Have you ever had a dream that you finally achieved only to find yourself filled with doubt?
That’s what happened this year. It’s my first year out of school and it’s understandable to have some anxiety. It takes time to build competence and confidence. For me, in that specific role where I was put on the spot to know exactly what needs to be done to help a person in need, felt too impossible to “fake it till you make it.” My supervisors told me to do this. They needed me to step up and be more confident. Maybe I could have researched the best methods to do this. Maybe done some neuro linguistic programming on myself, stood up straighter, took deep breaths, changed my body, changed my mind…
But it burned me out. And I didn’t want to force it any longer. Did it really have to be that hard? How much is a person expected to push through? How do you know whether the struggle is a normal part of being a beginner or if it’s a sign that you are starting down the wrong track?
How do you know that in all your time trying to be brave and courageous to save something you were actually being a coward in not letting it go?
How do you know that when you were escaping what seems to be a hopeless situation that you were trying to escape the inevitable growing pains of life’s lessons?
I don’t want to struggle unnecessarily but I know that struggling is unavoidable. I don’t want to give up but I want to be able to enjoy the learning process without fear or feeling I need to constantly impose a sense of capability. Not sure if capability is the right word. It’s more that I don’t want to feel like I am forcing myself to enjoy the stress or that I’m constantly trying to trick myself into believing that I can do things that are noticeably awkward and difficult for me to do.
It’s hard to be paid to be a beginner.
That’s the truth of it. As a beginner you are excited by the novelty and possibility but then you realize the pressure you are under, which makes it harder to learn because when you are being paid there is generally less room to take risks and make mistakes. At first your supervisor may be really excited to have a fresh mind full of enthusiasm and potential and may even promise to mentor you. However, there’s a point where it’s time to get down to business. They’ll need you at some point to be equal to the other staff and when your learning curve varies in pace from their expectations that puts a lot of pressure on you. That’s the part that scares me about being a beginner. Not learning fast enough.
Though I do feel that somewhere out there, there is niche waiting for me, where even as a beginner, I feel I’m safely in my element. I want to believe that it’s possible to enjoy the inevitable struggles of being a beginner without forcing a smile on my face. Maybe on some rough days but never feeling like I’m dreading to come to work everyday. I know it’s possible to love your job. Just like it is possible to be in a happy relationship. And even though there are so many divorces and people hating their jobs, there are those people who give people like me hope. I know what it is like to be in a bad relationship and not know whether my expectations are too high or unrealistic or that these relationship challenges would haunt me with whomever I’m dating. But I proved myself wrong. Those challenges were unique to that relationship and maybe these challenges that I’m finding with my career are unique to my current career or possibly to that specific work setting.
I’m not giving up. I’m on a quest. I’m on a pursuit of finding happiness in my livelihood. And that’s the thing I’m finding is worth struggling for. That’s the thing I hope we all can discover for ourselves.