I actually got out of the house last week quite a bit, so of course I spent the weekend relatively reclusive, save for a trip to the park with the dogs. I went out with friends from work on Friday for dinner, drinks, and a movie. It was a lot of fun, despite keeping me out past my bedtime (which is like 9:30pm).
I know I haven’t been writing my normal heart-wrenching updates full of meaning and intention. It’s not that I’m not thinking those things still, just that in the light of my gratefulness, many of those thoughts become tempered and softer. I enjoy my job and my coworkers, even when it has been slow making friends. For some reason, I always forget that other people need a lot more time than me to decide if they like people (me) or not. I can usually get a “feel” for people within a few minutes to hours of spending time with them. Now, wait, you say, shouldn’t we take longer when getting to know new people? Aren’t you making assumptions by assessing them too quickly?
I don’t like to think of it as making assumptions. I tend to read people pretty quickly and it has always served me well. In the same vein, despite my ability to read people quickly, I often have blind spots depending on the person. I read people, trust quickly, and then forget to re-read those people, meaning that I dole out trust at times to people who no longer have the best intentions. I like to romanticize this flaw of mine, telling myself that it is always better to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sure, it means I get burned now and then. But I feel that it is an important part of my brand of authenticity.
A candid talk with a friend at work was helpful today. For back story, in our succession planning, my bosses have been asking about what I want for my future–a managerial track or a technical track. Each has pros and cons, of course, which I’ve spent weeks going back and forth over. Meticulously writing lists and playing out possible scenarios in my head. I had a conference call this morning with several coworkers (one here and two in a remote location) that went pretty well. After the call was over, I hung up the phone and almost immediately flew into a frenzy of self-doubt about how “useful” and “efficient” the meeting had been. Reading over my notes quickly. Had everyone gotten what they needed? Did I do things the best way? Had everyone felt heard and appreciated? Did I go into enough detail? Or too much? Did I waste their time?
“STOP IT. I know what you’re doing.” I looked up from my notes at my remaining colleague, a bit shocked by the tone of his statement. “You don’t need to doubt yourself so much. It was a great meeting and you’re doing what we should have been doing a long time ago. People appreciate that you care so much, but you gotta give it a break sometimes. For your own sake.” He looked over the edge of his laptop at me, smiled, and then went back to typing an email.
I was grateful that someone had broken me out of my mental spiral of self-questioning. Laughing, I shared my recent frustration with him at having to choose a track and that I was struggling between the ability to be at the bench doing science and being able to lead teams and make a bigger impact. He smirked and admitted that he also had that struggle, but that at least I’d had more opportunities to flex my leadership muscles in my team, which is true. I was grateful for the vent session and also for the wake up call that I had been grappling with a “first world problem” in the presence of someone that hadn’t really had the same advantages. “We both live in the future, so just be open to whatever it brings.” A completely whimsical statement came from a painfully analytical personality and that was comforting to me.
I have no doubt that my job will only get more complicated and trickier as I get deeper into a job role that is both exciting and nebulous, but I know I can do it. I think that every job is really about the people. Cool science is always a perk, but the people make it or break it. Though I don’t know a ton of people yet (or rather they don’t know me well enough yet), I think that I can win them over. And some I won’t. And that’s okay, too. I’m just excited to make some memories. And be around people that remind me to stop and take a deep breath once in awhile.
“Blinded by the glare
I was moving like I didn’t care
But it was more than I could bear
You know I hoped I’d see you there
Staring out the window
I could see into the soul of every passer by
So many lives
So many pairs of eyes
A pure feeling
I’m invisible and magical
If only for a moment
A pure feeling
I’m scared to control it”
“Now I’m flying and everything feels so free
Take me higher, take me
Now I’m flying, and with these broken wings, take me higher
“Sooner or later, I swear we’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it,
Sooner or later, I swear we’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it
Milk and honey ’til we get our fill
I’ll keep chasing it, I always will
Sooner or later, I swear
We’ll make it there
Sooner than later, sooner or later
The fear inside, the hills we’ve climbed
The tears this side of heaven,
All these dreams inside of me
I swear we’re gonna get there”