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I Have a 'Grown Up' Job, Now What?

When I was a kid, I felt like I never really declared my future career. I think I used to say I wanted to be a nail technician when I was really young, while also simultaneously being a judge as my mom served a short-lived term on the bench (some judicial lingo for you right there) when I was a tiny person with a naturally grown shaggy lob before it was cool. Maybe my mom could correct me on this, but I don't think I ran around saying I wanted to be an astronaut or anything like that. I think I knew my place in this world and wasn't going to kid myself from a young age. Just kidding, please don't squash a child's dreams.

All jokes aside, I think like, maybe I wanted to be a lawyer because there were a bunch of lawyers in my family. Not sure if I ever declared that I wanted to be a musician, but I feel like that dream died as soon as I opened my mouth to sing a tune and slammed my grubby little hands all over the piano we had in our living room during my childhood. I think in some senses, I was a somewhat practical kid. Except, you know, when it came to my crushes on celebrities and assuming that we were all somehow going to be married in some really complicated polyamorous Disney relationship (because that's where all of my childhood crushes stemmed from, I see you, Sprouse twins, Zac Efron, and the loves of my life, the Jonas Brothers).

Maybe I just wasn't a career-oriented kid. I mean, that's like, normal, right? I feel very blessed to have had a fairly normal childhood. I played with dolls through fifth grade (I distinctly remember playing with Bratz dolls in my room with my friend Marissa when a trailer for Hannah Montana came on the TV and both of us declared that it seemed stupid, which was really hilarious coming from two ten-year-old girls playing with fucking Bratz dolls and from someone whose nickname in high school was briefly Frannah Montana)(also sorry for #exposing us, Marissa)(did I misremember this moment? Plz confirm), I had a MySpace page in middle school for a moment but that was pretty short lived. I didn't really feel any pressure as a kid to like, spend endless hours on academics or prepare for my future. My parents let me have a pretty chill childhood full of like, sports and normal kid stuff, which I appreciate.

That was a really long explanation to get to a very, very simple point: I don't think I had any real aspirations growing up.

This really didn't worry me until my senior year of high school when I started to think more seriously about where I wanted to go to college. For some context, I was sixteen when I was visiting colleges and started submitting my college applications and seventeen when I chose my school (Cleveland State University, in case you were curious at all). I was also seventeen when I declared that I was going to go down the journalism track of my major. So, that's a lot of big life decisions I made when I wasn't even a legal adult.

I remember being somewhat worried my senior year, wondering what I was going to do. I felt a bit lost in that sense. I knew what I didn't want to do (which was just about everything to do with the medical field, math, and literature). I got good grades, but I wasn't interested in the slightest in, well, most things academics. I just liked learning, to a degree, and putting pressure on myself to get good grades so I could be "smart." I legitimately liked English and writing and reading, but I didn't want to be an English teacher and at that time, that seemed like the only option for me (remmeber, I was a teenager and shouldn't have been making life decisions).

I found out that my uncle used to write about music for a publication similar to Rolling Stone and immediately decided that was what I was going to do. After all, I liked music and I liked writing and that's all that needed to click in my head as a seventeen-year-old. Mind you, I'd never written about music before that point. I just spent a lot of money buying things on iTunes, concert tickets, and had pretty calloused fingers from trying to learn as many simple songs on the guitar as I could to feel "closer" to the music. Fast forward to college and my first proper journalism class and me deciding that traditional journalism really wasn't for me. I finished out my degree anyways and graduated earlier because I didn't really know what else I wanted to do and I objectively wasn't bad at it, I just wasn't excited about it and wasn't nearly as good or talented as the people in my class who cared. Which like, duh. If you don't care about something, how do you expect yourself to be good at it?

I digress, this led to a very confusing ten months post-grad. Or rather, post-moving back to Niagara Falls from Cleveland. I wanted to be in New York City, that much I knew, but finding a job was a fucking feat. I didn't know what I wanted to apply for. Did I want to work in social media? Would I be able to fake it 'til I made it and somehow manage to do something in editorial? Could I swing PR with no PR experience? What the fuck is influencer marketing? (That's a joke, but I didn't know just how many jobs were open in this field because my program was kind of outdated and I thought there were only a few companies calling the shots behind the scenes).

It's really no joke that I fell into influencer marketing by accident. I cold applied to my current job, like I had to literally hundreds before, and got the offer almost two months later. It was a job in an industry I was interested–and arguably knowledgeable–in and it got me to NYC. What more could I have asked for?

So now we're here, over a year later, and I'm stuck what? Where do I go from here? What do I do next?

I'm a 23-year-old living in the city and I feel like I'm left out of some big, ambitious club. It's not that I'm not motivated. In fact, I'd like to think I'm a highly ambitious person. I just don't really know what I want to do next or what I'm striving for right now. I don't have a five-year plan. I don't even have a two-week plan at this point. I get asked in interviews where I see myself or what my dream position would be and...I don't think I have one. That seems like a scary thing to admit, but maybe it's not. I don't have a dream job.

At least not right now.

I work in an industry that is ever-changing. People work for themselves. New media comes around in the blink of an eye and we're all kind of forced to adjust and adapt or sink. I want to swim in this industry, but as a youngin' with not a lot of experience on paper (though I know I'm capable of more than my CV might showcase) I feel as though I'm just struggling.

I'm better about not playing the comparison game very often anymore. I've stopped almost entirely when it comes to appearance and material goods (though I still wish I had Emrata's boobs every time I see a picture of her and I'm not afraid to admit it!). I don't even want to call it jealousy, but every time I see someone around my age (usually a bit older, but occasionally my same age) doing something they call their dream job, I just want to know how they did it and how they knew.

Blogging isn't my dream job. Working in influencer marketing isn't my dream job. Working in social media isn't my dream job. They'd be incredible jobs, and something I'm absolutely interested in, but putting all of the pressure on one career to be my dream job seems...daunting, almost. Am I afraid of commitment? Failure? Do I have no personal goals?

As someone who spends a lot of time on the internet, both for work and personal use, I'm kind of bombarded with the messaging that being a #girlboss or #bossbabe is the highest thing to strive for. In the past, I've most certainly subscribed to this notion and definitely tossed it around like confetti. I think it inadvertently put a lot of pressure on myself to do something big and great with my life when in reality, I just think that's not in the cards. At least for now. I've always been a late bloomer (see: still waiting for my boobs, 10 years after puberty), so maybe my career ambitions will come with age.

For now, I'm pretty content with just existing the way I am. Could deal with a little less credit card debt, but hey, that's a personal problem I got myself into so, I'll cross that bridge when it comes...


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  2. I can feel you so much! There are so many "what if's" in life and we never know where we would have ended up if we would have chosen another path. I'm glad that you kinda seem to like your current job in marketing and let me tell you, you also do great as a blogger and writer! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts as I am in a similar place right now.

    lots of love, Miri

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