The culmination came and went by. The dust has settled and suddenly time is a friend. A flaky friend, perhaps but at least not the antagonist in the present state of life.
I am officially an educated unemployed. It hasn’t really sunk in as I immediately took off on a vacation after my last day at work but now as Wednesday afternoon creeps by, I realize I have nothing on my hands except perhaps trace the shades of my tan and the increased pounds around my waist.
I did not take well to quitting my job. I was obsessed in wrapping up pending tasks and deliverables and would even dream about them. Even during the vacation, I was dreaming about the work scheduled – because the thing is – I know what is the work scheduled for the rest of the year. But then I knew I had to take a break! Last few months have been a miserable time and to keep my sanity I had to quit earlier than I was supposed to. The sense of ownership is taking its time in leaving me but I am getting there.
Unlimited time is a gift I need to utilize because the truth is – time is running out. I have less than 45 days to put my life in cardboard boxes before time makes its next play. Last year, D and I decided to take a major step ahead and now that is materializing. I have spoken to a couple of people on the blog about it – I just hope our decision doesn’t backfire. It’s a risk – but then, the payoffs are worth it!
I had a mini Eureka moment at work. And I assure you it rarely happens.
So for all practical purposes, I am a “junior” in my team given that there is a minimum gap of 8 years in terms of work experience with other members. And it has been a tremendous learning and grooming experience! It feels pretty awesome being treated with the same level of respect, authority and expectations. And I have been extremely lucky to have a team that has mentored me during my plunges in unfamiliar waters.
But this awesome senior helped me understand something – do not bow down simply because of your age and lack of experience. My role revolves predominantly on client interactions and being a liaison; there are folks with a gazillion years of experience under their belt but often clueless in certain areas. I am supposed to jump in and steer them towards the right direction.
I had flat-out refused at first… Frankly, I was scared. I simply could not take them to task, review their work and give “constructive feedback”. But slowly I learnt how to handle delicate situations. I did fumble and mumble but all in all I managed to come to terms with the work. But it was difficult to be rid of the block “I am inexperienced – how can I do this!”.
And then came the “Eureka” moments. Our team was expanding and we needed more resources. So lo and behold! I was assigned with conducting preliminary interviews. Pop went “No! No! No!” inside my head. The “junior block” reared its snotty flaming nose very aggressively. But okay! Here goes… I reached out and dialed.
And my doubts melted away. It struck me with the subtlety of a club that intelligence comes from area of expertise – what I lacked in years I made up in expertise. I was warm and cozy in the work while these candidates were still in the blue ocean. In that one moment, I found my confidence and my humility – to acknowledge people for their work and not just years of experience.
Skills. Skills. Skills. The work is what defined me even though the process itself was challenging and annoying.Today, one and half years later, I am entrusted with project management apart from the consulting assignments. I am learning to handle multiple projects and balance priorities driven by my instinct. I am slowly understanding people and significance of the professional relationships in this maze of development. I am allowing myself to make mistakes rather than not do anything at all. And I am thoroughly enjoying being in the driver’s seat with its breaks and accelerators!
So yay! For our work. For our expertise. For our learning….
Okay, let’s be real! The YAY is just for our weekends… The rest is stupid.
What was your defining coming-of-age moment in your professional life?
As the clock chimed away the last seconds of 2014, I was lost in oblivion. The colors of the black night and the pulsing atmosphere were dimmed by the clear stream of sunshine inside my head. It was the longest moment of my life.
No thoughts. No regrets. No memories. Just deep gratitude to a year where I finally learnt to look into the mirror and smile, despite the world crashing around me.
I used to roll my eyes at the hoopla of New Year’s Eve. The only comfort was that I could eat and eat with everyone too drunk to judge. No difference between 23:59:59 and 00:00:01 – life and years could move on so long I could chomp on good food. But this year clocked in a drastic change in my life. I finally started a journey which is not temporary; something that I will take with me until the very end and has been monumental in containing my insanity.
I also learnt two things this year – resilience and optimism (well, creative whining is third). I would accept fate and call it taking into my stride, showing off my non-existent biceps as I casually blindsided the stubborn difficulties of “life”. I was confident that time will ride out those awful moments, like it always has. How naive I was – intensely dense.
This year, I found the courage to face them and kept the punches as a last resort. This year, I held out my hand to the very elements making my life miserable and found a shaky balance to start over.
I belong to a generation that believes in replace instead of repair. If anything goes wrong, off it goes to the bin with a fresh replacement on its way. Cold realization poured over my head when I sought to do the same for something extremely precious. My fighting spirit finally woke up after a long hibernation and I smiled through some of the toughest moments I have ever faced, rarely giving in to the temptation of tears. I saw a silver lining in every dark cloud and even managed to catch a rainbow a few times. And my biggest achievement was to shake free the beast of self-victimization that was clinging tightly. Yes, I was drowning but scuba diving with beautiful corals ain’t a bad alternative; in fact, it is bloody fantastic.
I don’t know HOW this fabulous wisdom was bestowed on me. Maybe I met the right people, maybe I was dealt with the correct hurdles, or maybe I managed to share my food. Some people simply call it “life”. Shit happens. So I learnt to get my hands dirty with a laugh and some good smelling soap called optimism!
And to those who told me, “It’s okay, just a bad day” – I know they mean well, but I will never blame the day, or the year, or the luck. It is my own.