Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pearls of 20-something wisdom: Career stuff

This post has been sitting in my queue for weeks, and I've lost track of how many times I've rewritten it. The primary pursuit of my 20s has been establishing a career, so I can't just not talk about it. But the problem is, I have no idea how to concisely say everything I want to.

I could start with a timeline of significant career happenings. Too boring? Fine.

Or I could write a "20 Things I Learned While Starting My Career" post. But that's been written about 8 million times already—no one wants to read that again.

Perhaps I could do a Q&A. Answer all those questions people ask when they find out what I do. Ugh, even I have no interest in reading that.

Maybe I should just get the words down and see where they take me (career lesson #15).

The lucky ones start showing signs of what they'll be when they grow up at a young age. Looking back, I can totally see that I was one of them. I beat my classmates at all the reading challenges in first grade. I subconsciously started editing signs by fifth grade. I wrote a bunch of terrible stories in elementary school and junior high (many of which starred my celebrity crushes, from Lance Bass to Chad Michael Murray).

I had other passions—music and sports, mainly—and even dabbled in other fields (like accounting—weird), but I was destined to work with words. That's what I was drawn to. That's what brought me the most satisfaction (career lesson #4). It wasn't about the money, the status, or the glamour. All I needed was words. (And punctuation.)

Career path: all set.*

*Although it did take me a while to stop hoping for the "marry rich" solution to adulthood (career lesson #436).

But the weird thing is, there's more to a career than deciding what you want to do. I grew up in a world where a job is something you have so you can get money so you can eat and take hot showers and wear clothes and all that fun stuff. Perhaps that, combined with my greater desire to be a wife and mother, is why it took me so long to grasp that a job can be more than a means to an end or a necessary evil (career lesson #53). It can be a good and meaningful part of your life.

For starters, adults aren't great at making friends, so chances are, your workplace is where most of your friends are (career lesson #28).

My first business trip. I was still green enough to think that was what adults actually called them.

A field trip to Top Golf. My family thinks working for USANA means you just play all the time. If only that were true. Let me just say, there's a reason my blogging frequency has dropped drastically over the last six months. 

And secondly, if your job is the most important part of your life, then you'd better make sure it's a good one (career lesson #41). That you're doing something you enjoy, that excites you, with people you can easily tolerate. Because if you don't like your job and you don't have something pretty significant to make up for it, then you'll find yourself constantly wishing for something to fill the void (career lesson #40).

Editors are a bit of a dying breed, so I had to fight for the right to be one (career lesson #42). Not all of my editing peers get that chance, even if their skills are seriously impressive. But somehow I found a way to make a living using the skills I want to use. (And I don't have to teach! I'll forever be grateful for that.) I've been very fortunate.

There's no way to say this without sounding cheesy, so maybe read this part really fast, before you have a chance to roll your eyes: I found my "calling." Editing is what I was meant to do, and I have zero regrets about choosing this career.

And, I think that's all I really need to say. Hooray. I'm kicking this thing off my queue.

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