How O.I. Has Helped Me Figure Out My Career

...Well it hasn't yet. O.I. hasn't really figured out all 7,869 questions I have about my career...

As one of those “young professionals” (someone who looks like she’s checking work email on her phone, but really I’m just playing another turn in Draw Something) I am often overwhelmed by all of the career advice I’m given. Some of the more common ones I’ve heard:

  • Figuring out what you don’t like to do has just as much value as finding out what you do enjoy
  • Learning how to work with various supervisors and project managers means being able to be flexible
  • Your time and efforts are valuable, don’t let the ‘higher-ups’ push you around
  • Be open to opportunities for growth and development in your work place
  • Always be prepared for resistance from colleagues or supervisors, and don’t take it personally
  • “What do you want to do for the rest of your life” is a narrow-minded question – think about it
  • Accept your own weaknesses and strengths because it’s harder to accept and work with the weaknesses and strengths of your colleagues

Now I’m going to make a statement that might only be able to come from a naïve, 20-something, “young professional” with O.I.: Growing-up with O.I. has worked wonders in guiding me through the early-stages of my career (or whatever you call having unpaid internships and summer jobs, or volunteer positions, and side projects, and various stints at non-profits).

What do I mean?
  • I mean that I am well aware of how difficult it is to get others to see your perspective; with that said I also understand the rewards of how important it is to be persistent in the face of resistance.
  • I mean that I really can’t know exactly how I will feel or be able to do in a month, never mind “the rest of my life.” This isn’t easy for me to accept and I still struggle with it daily, but I’m learning to see how exciting that can be, and it has led me to a smorgasbord of opportunities and many new friends.
  • It means that I have had to accept my weaknesses very early-on, and in doing so learned how to better accommodate and adapt to them.
  • It means that even though 95% of the world might mistake me as a small child, I’ve learned to work around misconceptions – and befriend the 5% that acknowledges the idealistic whack-job that I am.
  • This means that I know that fractures can happen anytime, anywhere, and they can be caused by anyone or anything. In other words they are not any one person’s fault.
  • This means that being able to adapt and find alternatives is always my fall-back for a Plan B.

Now that I’ve given a point-by-point argument for why you should obviously hire me… juuust kidding. So much of the time people are talking about a balance between work and life, but I am beginning to think that those two realms of our lives can’t always be separated. One encompasses the other (and if you are wondering which one encompasses which then you have bigger problems that are beyond me); maybe if we take the things that work well in both we can then live, work, and learn as stronger and more successful individuals.

…In the mean time you can be sure I’ll be playing Draw Something at the next staff meeting. 

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