Have you ever been slapped in the face by maturity? What I mean to say is, have you ever felt your perspective on life broaden in an instant? If you would’ve asked me a couple of months ago if I enjoyed my job, I would’ve given a smile and said something along the lines of “it’s not bad, but it’s very odd.” Today, I would say that I am blessed with such a great opportunity. I now look at my position as a career rather than a job, and I am happy with the way things are going. No, I didn’t get a different job, but I did get a fresh attitude. Before I get into the why, let me quickly explain what I do, because I never knew that a job quite like mine existed.
I am a customer event coordinator for Cummins Inc. Basically, I am a corporate event planner. This can mean anything from arranging travel logistics to being the first person that guests see when they walk into an event. The tasks I do are extremely varied, and I often have to pull bits and pieces of information together to make an event come to life. For someone who is prone to anxiety, this uncertainty was a little rough to get used to. Much of the planning that I do can all fall apart due to things out of my control (weather, sickness, lack of info, etc). My stress level was unnecessarily high. It’s true that my nerves lessened with each month under my belt, but I was (and still am) figuring out my rhythm. Gaining confidence at work has affected all areas of my life, and I am slowly feeling more like a woman and less like a girl.
So what slapped me? Well, I was walking along a crowded road back to the bus after the Brickyard 400 Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I had a group of about 50 people behind me, and my arm was raised high above my 5′ 2” body to lead the way with a company sign. In that moment, I felt such pride and contentment in my job (despite my achy feet). Little old me was trusted with customers and to be the face of the company for the guests that day. Ever since then, I have viewed my work much differently. How lucky am I to be able to get paid to make people’s business lives more productive and enjoyable all while gaining new experiences myself?
Now, enough about me. Throughout this process, I have come up with a list of a few helpful thought patterns. If you are feeling discouraged in your daily grind, maybe these tips will help you gain a more positive perspective.
- Think about how lucky you are to have a job– I would highly doubt that you were the only person to apply for your job. Think about how you were the one chosen. Others would love to do what you are getting paid to do, so prove that you were really the best candidate every day.
- Think about the work that needs done– 10 years from now, the tasks may be covered by someone else; however right now the clients, customers, and/or leaders are depending on you to complete them. I even thought about this back when I was mopping the floors of Noodles & Company to close at nights. Did I love it? No, but the floors needed to be cleaned, and in those days, it was up to me to do it.
- Think outside the current moment– Your job may not be your forever, so perform as if the next big opportunity is about to walk through the door. Your job is not a death sentence, but a stepping stone. Don’t get down about where you are, because you have no idea what road you may actively be on.
- Understand that time is different in the corporate world– At a restaurant or small company, working in a position for longer than 1 year can feel like a long time. At that point, you may have the processes down pat. Heck, you may have even been there longer than most of your co-workers. This has not been my experience in working for a corporate company. It takes years to carve out your space; there is always something new and something to learn. It has been humbling to still feel like a rookie, and I bet I still feel this way for years to come. From what I gather, this is completely normal. You just have to put in the work, put in your time, and put yourself out there. It will be slow, but if you start your career with a long-term mindset, you’ll feel much more content with where you are.
- Believe in your abilities– Even though I was nervous and felt unqualified to be an event coordinator (keep in mind my educational background is in mathematics), my boss kept telling me that I am one even if I didn’t feel like it. I wasn’t really faking it until I made it, because I wasn’t faking it; my successes were due to my abilities all along. Telling myself, “I, Gabriela, am an event coordinator” repeatedly felt silly, but it really helped. Whatever your title is, own it, but don’t let it define you. Rather, define your career and title by the work and personality you put into it.
Life is too short to have a bad attitude about what you do for 40, 20, 15, or however many hours a week you work. What I’m trying to say is, go get yourself slapped in the face by a fresh perspective and then fight back to fully experience it.