In my early 20s, I knew what I wanted to achieve professionally. That goal drove me forward for a very long time. I only wanted that goal met and I wouldn’t let it go. Even when there were signs that maybe I should.
Growing up, work is what fed you, literally. It would provide for you, and having one wasn’t for “fun,” it was to let you be independent and self-sufficient. I have been working non-stop since I was 15 years old for that reason.
Thus, work has defined me as a person for a very long time. It was the fuel I needed to go forward, the comfort when I had personal issues with friends and family, and the direction when I sometimes felt lost. The sacrifices made for work felt worth it because the goal I had in mind was still my prize, and once I got there, I would be set.
Then, I met that goal. And then things got more complicated.
It’s a weird thing, getting what you want, because I know so many affirmations of how to get there, but not so much what to do once you arrive.
When I was 25, I was laid off. I remember feeling like it was a crushing defeat that would bury me in a black hole. And then, a little after that, I got the opportunity to move to Chicago. I was at a point in my life then where I needed a huge change.
I’m back in a very similar position now. And, after a long tenure of being employed, now I’m not.
The subject brings up a trail mix of emotions: scared, excited, nervous, angry and sad.
And I can’t help but laugh at the comparison to 25 year old Jess and that version 10 years later.
I’m back at the same crossroads I was before. But I know of two options ahead of me to explore, I just don’t know which path to take.
Both are scary, both are unknowns, but when I was 25, I felt that I needed to be 100% work-focused, and that Jess isn’t the same me now. Yes, employment is necessary (unless I hit that lotto!) but part of me thinks, maybe I need a break. To quote a wise friend who went through this too, she said, “this could be an opportunity to make positive change.”
But change is scary, and now, I have to embrace it.
Today marks the start of something new, but also the end of an emotional 1.5 months. This has not been an easy road, but at least there is some resolution.
So, I leave this post with advice a friend gave me, when I was having a low moment. “Your job is only one part of who you are. You’re a sister, aunt, daughter and friend first.”
Let’s see what the next chapter brings.