Tag Archives: grown-up

I’m Tired of People Saying I Need Practical Career Goals

13 Jun

Dream8Follow My Dreams… Or Nah?

Since I’m trying out this whole “responsible adult” thing, I’ve been reading all these career advice articles for young adults with titles like “20 Things You Need to Accept in Your 20’s,” and “Things They Don’t Tell You About Your 20’s.”

The recurring theme in most of them: Life is shitty, student loans will suck you dry, and there are hardly any jobs out there so you should settle for whatever job you can scrounge.

Oh, Thanks y’all. I feel pretty encouraged. -__-

So, follow my dreams… Or nah?

 My life goals are, by most people’s standards, very impractical— I’m like Lynn from my favorite throwback show Girlfriends: I have several passions I want to pursue, I do all I can to avoid becoming a corporate slave, and if I could, I would stay in school for a while and get a few master’s degrees.

While some people can (or have to) put aside their life goals, that is simply not an option for me. I cannot function without writing. I literally write for my health—for now. Somewhere down the road, there are a few Oprah’s Book Club novels published with my name on the cover, I’ll have several by-lines in my favorite publications, and I’ll eventually step into the title of Editor and Chief of something fantastic.

But for now, I’m living on a blog and a dream.

For us dreamers, it’s easy to get discouraged—especially in a society where we expect everyone to make “practical” decisions and get “sensible” jobs. It’s difficult to hold on to your goals when people say that you’re too much of an idealist, that you won’t be able to support yourself, and that your dreams are hobbies, not careers. Sometimes, I even say those things to myself.

But “practical” doesn’t always work when idealists feel called to do creative work. And in answering that calling, we have to be resilient against the Naysayers and negativity.

Dream1So I created a 7-point list of things I’ve committed to doing in order stay on the right path of my vocation.

  • Stop calling my dreams “impractical.” For me, impractical can sometimes be a synonym for impossible. I gotta let the word go before I can fully accept that I’ll be successful. Instead, I’ll assume that under the right conditions, all of my goals are possible.
  • Look at all of the success stories of other people. If other people have done it, I can do it too. I have an editor friend over at Ms. Magazine in her early 20’s and loving her dream job. One of my favorite bloggers financially supports his family of 6 using his blog. Maya Angelou’s life journey, where she went from sex worker to waitress, to dancer, to actress, to award-winning author, is nothing short of amazing. These awesome examples give me hope.
  • Dream bigger. My friends often come up with the coolest ideas for my blog and my career. I usually think their ideas are too hard to accomplish, but I quickly realize that it isn’t that they are too hard—it’s just that I don’t believe I can do them. Thinking about all of their ideas I mentally shot down, I realize that I need to break out of my “I cant” prison and believe in myself a little more.
  • Keep making moves toward reaching the goals. I’m committing to writing more often (so look out for my posts y’all) and pitching to publications as often as I can.

Dream6

  • Celebrate small victories. I treat myself to something every time I publish an article. I celebrate when my blog stats are higher than usual. These accomplishments bring me closer to my ultimate goal—so I’ll drink to that 😉Dream5
  • Support other people’s dreams. What goes around definitely comes back around. So I’ve began supporting other writers and artists in whatever ways I can. Sometimes just showing up for people goes a long way.
  • Talk to God. My spiritual foundation is what constantly rejuvenates my desire to write. Sometimes prayer and my church music really get me through difficult days when I’m questioning my calling. Thank God!

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If you need a little more motivation, check out this article from the Daily Muse:
10 Quotes That’ll Inspire You to Dream Big

Got any advice for me? What do you do to stay on you path to reach your vocation?

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My Return to Sneakers: No longer trying to be a grown-up

23 Apr

CHUCKSWhile cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago, I came across a pair of old-school black Converse tennis shoes—shoes I’d sworn off several years ago. I thought I’d outgrown sneakers. They just didn’t match the sophisticated, successful adult persona that I was going for.

Instead of sneakers, I pictured myself in heels and a business-casual wardrobe, walking into my first job out of college. That entry-level position would eventually lead me to my dream editor job, where I could be financially independent, pay my own bills, love my career, and eventually move into my own place.

Yet, despite having celebrated several birthdays, bringing in a few new years, and achieving several milestones (graduating, getting published on my favorite sites, coming really close to having my dream wardrobe), that grown-up, sophisticated Shae has yet to show up. And I think it’ll be awhile before she does.

It’s been a year since I’ve graduated college and my first job out of college required me to ask “how may I help you” while wearing ugly non-slip shoes and seating people to a table. Lately, the only jobs I’ve come close to getting are positions that pay minimum wage or slightly above it, and nothing I’d be proud enough to put on a business card.

Though my career is taking seemingly forever to start up, I sometimes would catch glimpses of my sophisticated adult self when I put on my suit and heels for an interview or when I head out with friends to a comedy club on a Saturday night. But I would quickly realize that she was an imposter when the interview suit is a smidge too big,when the comedians on stage always make fun of my friends and me for being the “youngins” of the crowd, and when I have to call my mother to help cover the cost of my car repairs.

Since my actual life didn’t look anything like the independent “grown-up life” I’d pictured, my attitude changed. The once optimistic girl who believed she would be a successful editor became a miserable, not-so-sophisticated grown up. I became my worst nightmare: a person who hated her job, and I didn’t even have a job. Responses to my applications were few and far between. But when I did get an interview, it was always a low-paying position that had nothing to do with the field I wanted to get into. So I put on my classy-yet-not-so-comfortable interview heels, smiled at each interviewer, and answered questions confidently as if I really wanted the position—but on the inside I was screaming “fuck my life!”

Sitting in all my boredom, the byproduct of unemployment, I began reading my high school and freshman year college journals. Instantly, I was taken back to an unsophisticated, yet happier version of myself. I missed the 4+ years younger version of me, who always wore blue, white, or black Converses and dreamed of being an inspirational writer. This girl, in her plain sneakers, wrote hundreds of pages for novels she wanted to publish. This girl believed that someday she would do great things. Her journals weren’t littered with complains like mine currently are.Instead, they were filled with ideas and possibilities (and of course talk of boys, prom, and friends).

The younger me had more faith in herself than the pretend-adult me.

So I’m taking back the idealist attitude along with my Chuck’s sneakers. I’ve decided to put down my glamorized idea of what adulthood looks like, and repossess that uplifting spirit I had before I became so worried about finding a job, paying off college loans, and becoming the woman that wears fancy heels. I still have faith that I’ll make it to that career path one day (hopefully sooner than later)—and I might have to be underemployed for a little while until I get there. But instead of moping around and hating my life, I’ll do it with an open mind, faith in my future success, and my black Converses.

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