Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Big Fat Fear

Lets face it, we all have things we're afraid of. In case you're wondering, for me its suffocation, whales and farm birds (in no particular order... scratch that, farm birds are definitely first). The thing that I've come to learn, is that fears, like dreams and aspirations, change. They evolve. Your fears aren't always the same things you thought they'd be (except for the aforementioned items, they will always be frightening). 

Think about it. Long gone are the days when you were scared of the boogey man, or checked under your bed for monsters before being able to sleep at night, but all too common are the days plagued by new fears. Realistic fears. "Big girl" problems--money, relationships, the future. For me, my big fat fear has been one tiny word: career.
The good thing is, I really don't think I'm alone. With the economy moving the way it has of late, I noticed that I'm one of the growing number of students pursuing a masters degree right out of undergrad. Translation: I've never had a real job. Yes there have been paychecks and long hours, but never a non-internship, 9-5, Monday-Friday, career; something that wasn't supplementary to school, nor did it require my undivided attention forty hours a week. And I have to tell you, it scares the bejesus out of me. 

For those of you unfamiliar with where I am, let me take a minute to give you the Readers Digest version. After graduating with a great degree from a great school, I had to face the million dollar question; whats next? I had a great experience in Philadelphia at an internship in the hospitality field and I started researching immediately. Why? Because I was petrified. I had graduated a semester early, didn't know where I wanted to be, didin't know what I wanted to be doing, but ultimately knew I was good at something; school. It was safe and familiar and a guaranteed two year delay to real life.

Not to be taken the wrong way, my current program has only given me more experiences, opportunities and connections than had I not elected to go to graduate school, but sometimes I wonder, what if I'd gone a different way? What if I hadn't been so scared? Could I be knee deep in a career right now? Or would I still be unemployed, as some of my friends still find themselves a little more than a year out of school? More importantly, would I regret it?

Million dollar questions, my friends. And maybe thats what makes them so difficult to answer. So scary to answer. The grass is always greener I guess, and no one ever got behind by getting more education. But ironically enough, my choice to further my education in order to get a great job has left me with questions that have seemed to swallow me recently. Questions that make my career fear very real. Like:

Now that there is no where to hide, whats next?

What if I still don't know what I want to do? Who I want to be? What I want to do when I grow up?

Am I really more ready for the real world than I was before? 

What if this is all I know how to do? What if I still can't find a job? Was this all a waste?

How will I know whats the right fit for me if I'm still learning what I'm good at? Will I have to settle? 

With career fears, and all of your other "big girl" fears, it all boils down to this; did I make the right choice?

The funny thing is, its the one thing they don't teach you in school.

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