Walking into my mid-twenties, I look back at myself through the last 5 years and see all the times I thought life was amazing as well as those times it was unfair. The nights I curled up in a corner sobbing, months I spent not focusing in class, falling victim to external pressures and judgement, not wanting to be a part of this complicated world… kind of makes me feel sorry for my younger self. Having been through a lot of negative experiences, there was one thing all of them had in common – the involvement of another person. Depressing? Naahh…
Today, I am grateful for these experiences as it has shaped me into who I am.
I began my first job as a sales rep and anyone who’s been commissioned knows how money driven the industry is. Being new to the business world, I did not know how things worked.
An incident occurred where there was loss after which I was an easy target and was expected to pay for it out-of-pocket. Confused and not sure what to think of the demand, I tried to wrap my head around the situation.
Being non-confrontational I did not speak up for myself and, unfortunately, neither did anybody else. Through all the mess I learned that I had the strength to keep calm and maintain a professional demeanor. However, imagine “trust” being a piece of paper.. and now stick it into a shredder. That is exactly what happened to the trust I had in my manager. Destroyed.
After discussing with several people, including my parents, I realized I needed to stand up for myself after which I approached the corporate office, and the issue was settled in my favor. Shaken by the experience, my eyes had been opened to a very different side of the world. I learned to be aware of my surroundings, including people and possible ill intentions.
Above all, I am my best advocate and taking in-charge for myself had become my top priority since.
The Difficult Coworker
As it is work can be stressful, but add in the personalities and you’ve got your daily dose of challenge. My job involved me sharing space with a coworker who I would describe as a “perfectionist” and followed a strict schedule.
Since I was used to a certain work style and had more on my plate, it started becoming burdensome when we were told to share responsibilities. Now I can definitely say I am much better at time management than I was 2 years ago since I have had to speed up my pace to catch up with her.
Among other things was her ambition. Being someone who joined our team almost a year after I did, she had already initiated a request with the manager for growth opportunities. At the time, I felt offended by her approach as it seemed she was trying to overrun me. In attempt to maintain my seniority with the team, and being the competitive person that I am, I began doing more than just my minimal job duties and contributed several ideas for departmental advancement that we as a team can pursue.
Over time, my initiative to go above and beyond was recognized and I realized her approach had to be done if there was lack of career growth by just “going with the flow.” I learned that asking and being upfront about my career goals with my manager is the best thing I could do for my professional advancement.
No doubt, I saved the best for last – my 3 year long blurry relationship with whom I would say seemed like the perfect man all around. Blurry? Perfect? ..uh what? Yep it happened. No matter how “perfect”, I learned a relationship is between two personalities. I thought I’ve been through storms before I met him, but I was wrong. The long distance relationship has taught me to be extremely patient and independent. I may have also soaked up some of his “mature” personality.
There was quite a bit of pressure for me considering his professional achievements but it has also been a huge motivator and probably is one of the reasons I am where I am in my career today.
Since he was always busy with work, it made me question my worth..
..but in the process I have also learned longing for acceptance does not reciprocate expectations and not to hinge on others’ opinions of me but to value who I am, just be myself and let my growth speak for me. Last but not the least – I have to admit – my bond with his dog was a major influence in my decision to adopt one to call my own or I may have never known how amazing it is to have such a loyal being as part of the family. Adopting my lab retriever mix is one of the best decisions I have made for me and my family.
In conclusion, people came into my life for a reason, and each an every one of them left a memory. Some good, some unpleasant.. and unpleasant memories were accompanied by important lessons. When in the situations, it may have put an emotional toll on me, but I was able to learn and come out of it stronger than ever. And for this, I never thought I would say it, but I appreciate the people who contributed to my personal growth. As I walk down this path called life, I believe people will continue to join in and leave. What matters at the end of the day is if I have done my duty to pardon and look past the distress and continue walking with a positive outlook on the future.
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