Wednesday, May 11

Reflections...

This week is my two year anniversary from graduating from college.  Coming soon is my two year anniversary working full time at the Corporate Colony.  I have been reflecting on what I expected as a new graduate and how those expectations have changed as I've made my way through the last couple years.  I call it the "Corporate Colony" because not long after I started working there on my way home I stared at all of the red brake lights for what looked like miles in front of me.  I got the sense that we were all worker ants or bees, coming to the colony every day, and leaving in the fashion ants do; in a slow line, one following the next until they diverge to place they find food.  Then its the same slow route back.  I digress.  To take you back to two years ago, I had given up the better part of a social life to finish a challenging degree.  I quite honestly did something I never thought I'd be able to do.  That gave me the confidence to go forward knowing I was strong, smart and resilient.  However, in the process I gave up a lot, I worked 20-30 hours a week, managed copious amounts of work and tried to keep my sanity along the way (I don't think I would've gotten through it without wine nights with friends and constant encouragement from my loved ones).  I thought I would easily find balance in my life now that I was starting to only work 9-5.  I was excited to design hardware, it was creative, it was rewarding to see something I'd made in my mind come back to me in a polished, working part.  There was a lot I didn't see though.  I now know this is something I could've only learned through experience, but wanted to share.  I've come a long way in two years!


I've learned that an education is one of the most precious gifts that is not valued enough, it is one of the only things in life that can not be taken away from you.  I think that as I get older my appreciation for education will only grow.  I owe a huge thank you to my parents for giving me the means, financial and emotional, for my education; I will never be able to repay them for that opportunity.

I don't like sitting in front of a computer all day.  I'm extremely social, but for some reason I didn't think that it would bother me to design CAD day in and day out.  I've realized I need much more social interaction to feel connected to what Im doing and accountable for doing my best.

I've learned that my job environment has more to do with job satisfaction than I would've ever imagined.  Do I feel safe?  Is it clean?  What is the lighting like?  I never would’ve guessed that this would be so important to me, but it grates my nerves daily that my workplace is severely lacking ergonomics and these basics.

Success can not be defined for me by someone else, it is deeply personal.  While I thought of success in such a straightforward way before, I’ve realized I don’t consider success to always be getting the big promotion.  I’ve realized success isn’t even entirely related to my job.  There are a lot of ways I measure my success, but my goals are different from the next persons.  And, that is ok.

I've learned that being fulfilled is worth more than spending money at the mall.  I don’t discount that money is extremely important, without it we can not live.  I have a sincere gratitude for the job I’ve had and the salary that has afforded me to live well.  But, money is not a motivator for me.  Sacrificing my free time for a bonus isn’t something that interests me.  Coming from the girl that lived off of $800/month my last year of school I thought money would change everything, and while it changed a lot, Im still me (my family has a word for it… cheap).  So for me, money is a way of living, not something to live for.

Im really interested to hear others' reflections on what differences others have had with their perceived values were before starting and how those evolved as they gained experience.  Have you had a similar or different experience?

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