A while back I interviewed for a team lead position at work that would be a significant promotion – more “leadership responsibilities” as a part of the management team, and a salary instead of an hourly wage. My manager had told me I was basically a shoe-in for the job, but then I was a little too honest in my interview — I told my director that I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted the position because, even though I knew I could rise to the responsibilities, I wasn’t sure if a leadership role where most of my job duties would center on auditing and giving feedback to my peers was really the route I wanted to take for my career. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I know that if I had curbed my honesty and said what I knew the interviewers wanted to hear instead of being candid about my misgivings that I could have gotten it, but I think the truth was that I didn’t really want it at the time.
There is another team lead opening coming up, and my manager has said he wants to “work with me” on my interview so that I can get out of my own way, I guess, but the truth is that I’m still not sure if I want this job. Of course I want more money — that’s a given. And it seems stupid to pass up an opportunity to move up the ladder and further pad my resume. But there is still something about being one of the youngest people on the team and being responsible for auditing and coaching everyone “below” me that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I never really wanted to find myself moving up a corporate ladder.
As much as I like my job, sometimes I really just want to quit and go work at the Bagel Deli like I had originally planned to do when I moved to Indy. It feels weird to be in my early twenties and be so comfortable financially, and there’s almost something that I resent about it. When I graduated, I was terrified of joining the “real world” because having actual bills on top of my skyscraping mound of student loan debt felt like it would never be feasible. I thought for sure that I would be scraping by on the bare minimum, living in some dirt apartment and working a crap job with terrible hours that barely afforded me to feed myself on ramen noodles and Natty Light. I was scared of living like that, but after
mooching off of living with my mom for a year after college, anything sounded better than occupying the same town and same bedroom that I lived in in high school. Living in the dirt apartment on the brink of starvation and financial collapse started to sound appealing, and I came to terms with the fact that barely scraping by is an inevitability for most people in their early twenties, so I may as well just embrace it.
Gretchen and I have been watching a lot of Workaholics lately and I guess I just thought my early twenties would be a lot more like that. I thought I’d be doing way more stupid shit during this part of my life, so it’s a little disappointing that my routine has become a Monday-Friday 40-hour work week where I have to worry about things like PTO and customer satisfaction and a “business casual” dress code. Sometimes I really just want to dye my hair purple and wear my Converse to work and not have to give a fuck about “Service Level Targets” or “corporate responsibility” or any of the other crap that is part of working for the man. I want to get drunk on week nights and spend my paychecks on tattoos instead of car payments. I want to be reckless.
I’m really lucky to have found this job, and I love it, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great company, and I’m happy to be working for a nonprofit (even if it is a Catholic one), but it almost feels like I’m cheating somehow by settling into something that came to me so easily when I had been so ready to accept a future of living on the brink of loan deferment, fueled by a not-so-steady diet of peanut butter and jelly and Taco Bell. It feels like a cop out to be content with this. And as much as I loathed my old job, sometimes I miss doing mindless work and not giving a fuck about who I pissed off there or what my boss or anyone else thought of me. I miss being able to function at work with a hangover and not feeling guilty about calling in sick or being late every day.
I guess I’m just whining about the fact that professionally, I feel like I’ve skyrocketed into adulthood way faster than I was ready to. My job is awesome, but I find it very taxing that I have to wear clothes that I would never normally wear and constantly worry about how I’m perceived on the job and how I’m ranking against the performance measurements our team uses. I find it taxing that I’m 24 and I’m already being pushed to join the management team of a company I’ve been with for less than a year. But in reality, what do I have to complain about? My managers are incredibly down to earth, and despite the sometimes high stress levels, I do find that nature of my work to be challenging in a way that I enjoy, and I’m flattered by the positive reviews that I’ve gotten by my higher ups so far. I’ve already gotten two raises and a bonus and been recommended to head a project championed by our COO, and if I play my cards right I may get another promotion soon. So what the fuck am I complaining about?
I guess it’s inevitable that part of me will always want the opposite of what I have, not to mention that it’s obvious that so much of these feelings stems from the fact that I still really, really miss college. Also, I’ve seriously been watching a LOT of Workaholics.
Take it sleazy. I’m out.