First (and Second) Jobs are for Experimenting

The first part of my Metro ride book time this week was spent finishing Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a Smartmouth Goddess. It's a sassy, down-to-earth, at times overly simplistic feminist how-to manual for young women. Some of it I skimmed, some wasn't relevant (i.e. blind dates), but the part about work I read over and over again.

Her basic point: your 20s suck. Hallelujah, thank you for finally saying it! I always thought my 20s were supposed to be fantastic, but in all honesty they are scary as hell. I'm constantly doing things for the first time, wondering if I'm doing them correctly and what the ramifications will be if do or don't do them well this time around. This applies to investing in retirement, communicating with SCL, networking, but I want to focus on the main one that's bugging me at the moment--figuring out my work style and goals.

When I first started my current job, I was frustrated with the lack of work I'd been assigned. I wanted to be seen as a helpful team player, an initiator, an agreeable employee. So, I began offering my time to everyone in my office. Still that wasn't enough. So I finally sat down with my supervisor and said "I need more to do. Bring it on." And boy did she. And so did everyone else, leaving me with a shitload of work to do this week. I've been staying well past 5:00 everyday, sometimes over an hour after everyone else is gone. What a pickle I've gotten myself into. Technically I was supposed to leave work an hour ago (the last week of our summer hours), but here I sit, taking a blog and coffee break before finishing up some other projects. SCL is in class until 6:00, so I'm not missing time together, which is dwindling now that I'm jam packing my evenings and he's got class.

What to do, what to do. I have busted my hump trying to get all the tasks assigned to me done before the end of the week because I want to prove that I can do it. But at the same time, I don't want to set a precedent for staying late every day because I'm a firm believer in practicing balance.

Any words of wisdom out there? How do you balance a drive to succeed and flourish with a desire to be balanced (i.e. not overworked and gulping coffee after work hours on a Friday?)


  1. Here is what it took me almost a decade to figure out. Nurturing amicable relationships at work is just as important as the quality and quantity of work you produce. Being a contributing over achiever is not as valuable as you might think. People hire and promote their friends. I used to hate that saying, it is not what you know but who you know, but that one is valid too. So get out and network in your community if you want to go places.

  2. Too true. And thankfully I love networking! It's just that my wallet doesn't so much. Got to find a way to do it more cheaply.