Good Day! Welcome to a new Thursday edition on Thankful FaM. Depending on the response we get from this, it will either become a regular Monday event or it will go to the archives where all one-offs go.
Today is a day to Walk on the Bright Side. I have a special guest contributor, friend and writer, David. In our circles he’s know as the resident realist (sometime cynic) whose love for writing may only be trumped by his love for European football. I love soccer for certain reasons (read: Christiano Ronaldo); I’m not sure David and I are of the same opinion.
Each and every one of us have things in our life the stress us out. It doesn’t matter how happy we are when we wake up, there are, undoubtably, certain annoyances and worries, big and small, that creep in our heads. For today’s blog, I asked some friends to tell me about a few things weighing on their minds. I’ve listed these worries below. Following each, David will serve as the creeping voice telling us why, realistically, this should be an issue of concern. I will then do my best to illustrate the bright side. It’s always been helpful for me to see the dark and light of each issue in order to move forward in a positive, productive (hopefully healthy) way. Plus if you ever thought my optimism makes me overlook certain realities in life, David is here to balance me out.
In case you thought you were the only person stressed about the following things, just know, you’re not…
D: Welcome to 21st Century America. I think competition is basically unavoidable these days. The fact that jobs are so scarce and coveted mixed in with the promise of financial stability in uncertain times means that people are gonna really fight to claim their piece of the pie. I would say that it would be worse to be naive about the competition at your workplace than to be conscious about it and act accordingly. I do not think it is advantageous to meddle in your coworkers’ business, but it may be wise to take measures to protect yourself. Just make sure to be assertive and not get in situations where you are pushed under the bus. I would not let a competitive work environment ruin a job that you enjoy, because good luck finding a job that is not competitive.
B: Well let me be the first to say, thank goodness you have a job! David, I’m sure this was on your mind and you just forgot to vocalize it! I think a lot of us assume that once we get a job the pressure is off, when in fact the pressure shifts from getting a job to keeping one. Competition always makes me better at whatever it is I’m doing. So I would say, it’s a great opportunity to rise to the occasion and prove that you are even more valuable than your company initially believed. Maybe they won’t just keep you, they’ll promote you.
I dream of writing a book but fear that I’ll never do it.
D: As a writer, I have experienced countless frustrations with starting and finishing projects. I think the biggest mistake people make is trying to bite off more than they can chew. I know that I would not be ready to write a novel right away and judging myself on whether or not I can or will finish a novel would just frustrate me more and rattle my already fragile confidence. I would say work your way to the point of writing a book. Start with some short stories or things where you can polish your skills but where you will also set a more realistic goal. It is all about habit and discipline though. The world is full of people who talk about writing a lot and never do it. So if you want to write, start writing now. On the bright side, plenty of novelists and other famous writers did not start or finish their first works until their 30s or 40s.
B: For me, I’ve found that if I really want to do something the reason I do or don’t jump is because of fear. For a while I couldn’t figure out if failing was trying and not succeeding or not starting something at all. Not starting could happen for a number of reasons, lack of time, a change in priorities, or maybe the doubt that I shouldn’t. At any rate, I’m happy with everything completed or not completed. If you’re serious about writing I’m sure it will happen, even if you only have time to write in the first 20min of your day. Even though David says to start small before jumping into your novel I wouldn’t say that means you have to put the novel on hold. The small steps may be breaking your novel into pieces. It’s going to go through numerous revisions anyways, so you might as well break it up. Stop worrying and start writing. You will finish if that’s what you want.
I’m getting an advanced degree and wonder, will this degree will get me a job?
D: Well, I think it is becoming clear that degrees are no longer the golden ticket they once seemed to be. Sadly, I think there are just so many people with college degrees and master’s degrees that the issue is a numbers game. However, that being said, my advanced degree did just recently land me a job. But it got me a job not because of the degree but because of a contact and friendship I made through the degree program. I think we are in a job market where jobs are only acquired through personal connections and others vouching for you. So if you are worried about your degree leading to a job, I would say use your program and the fact you are in school to make as many contacts as possible (i.e reach out to alumni). If you think of the degree as a means to an end and not a guaranteed end then I think it can certainly pay off.
B: Welcome! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this before. In my own head perhaps? Obviously if you’re pursuing an advanced degree, you’re smart, ambitious and tenacious so you won’t have any problem getting a job- no matter how long it takes. You are in a prime connection to make contacts and these aren’t just any contacts, they are people who share your interests and in all likelihood have a personal stake in seeing you succeed. Don’t knock your advanced degree! What’s even cooler is that down the line, if you decide you want to change careers, you can teach!
All of my friends are getting married and I’m no closer to finding that person or being ready to settle down.
D: Coming from the southern part of the US, I have a number of friends from high school who have been married for a while. At least three people I know from high school have unfortunately already been divorced and they are only 27. I think rushing into marriage because of pressure is one of the worst things a person can do. Just because other people have gotten married does not mean they were ready and knowing that you are not ready is important and nothing to be ashamed about. From what I have seen, the allure of getting married young and building a life with someone is often very different from the realities of having to deal with all the pressures and uncertainties of navigating decisions about careers, money, children, and where to settle, when you are still trying to build your life. So I would not feel any pressure or shame. Best to be honest with yourself.
B: I get the sense that you always find things when you aren’t looking. Plus, if you aren’t ready then no need to worry about finding that person yet! I’m always reminding myself that the only person I can compare myself to is me… so as far as I’m concerned, there’s no use judging my life progress based on someone else’s. I recently had a conversation with my friend Evelyn who said, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” Find comfort in that. And if that doesn’t help you stop worrying, know that you aren’t alone, present company included. So there are millions of people out there looking and in those millions, may be, your prince or princess charming. Oh, and David is free! I’m sure he would also like me to add that he plays the guitar, loves dogs and sunsets.
I hope you can tell from the responses above, that not only is there a bright side to many worries, even the most realistic of people can identify the positives.
Thanks to David for helping!
If you’d like to send in anything or be a part of the next edition please submit! Enjoy your Thursday! Just know you’re one day closer to the weekend!