I had a light bulb moment earlier today while driving back from Le Subway, my exotic lunch of choice for 90% of my work days. It was sort of a deep and insightful light bulb, and there was a moment where I was sad, nostalgic, happy, regretful, and contemplative all at once. I immediately decided to write about it, make it less of a depressing thought by sharing it with you people, and throwing in some jokes to lighten it up whilst dissecting. Because that’s my style. We are not super serious here at Miss Sassy Pants, because we don’t take our sassy pants too seriously, unless they are just seriously sassy. See how I did that? Also not sure why I used “we,” since it’s just me here in these pants. [Baa! That one was for you, Senator]
So now here I am, taking a break from wrestling and arguing with the biggest, slowest, most complicated excel spreadsheet ever (bet you didn’t know they could wrestle or argue…now you know) to get this jank down on proverbial paper. Also I challenge you to a game of corporate lingo bingo. 10 points for everyone who spots them all (also fun to play on conference calls, but that’s not for this post). Here we go.
One of the biggest take-aways from this rotational program is the human experience. It’s not necessarily all about how many muckity-mucks I schmooze with, how many high-impact initiatives I participate in, what my visibility is compared to my colleagues and peers, or my success rate (thank goodness). It’s the people I meet and interact with, how I learn to interact with different personalities, different kinds of bosses, finding my place in the work community and “life” community (aka outside of work), making new friends and forming relationships, and learning which gas station sells the cheapest gas (a moot point out here, as I sacrifice future unborn children each time I fill up). It’s the soft skills, and if my HR manager was reading this, he’s be so proud as he is always stressing to us kids in the program how important the soft skills are.
The first rotation in Richmond was easy. I had previously lived there for a good number of years, aka my entire life minus roughly 4 years of college, so suffice it to say I knew people. I knew where to go, I had friends, and I had places nearby I could easily visit and know more people. Does that make me sound ridiculously cool and popular? No? Well you’re right, I wasn’t, but my point is, I had a network, I had family, and I knew people at work from the previous summer working there. Like training wheels, this situation let me learn slowly and safely about the “real world,” as real as a world can be while living in the same town you grew up in and still living with your parents and paying no bills. Have a chuckle, and we’ll move on. Then after 6 months of regularity, good work out schedule, my designated parking spot where I parked daily, good pals, weekly lunch outings, and Law & Order marathons with my parents, not to mention close proximity to VT (very important), it was all brought to an abrupt halt.
On to Raleigh, where I knew approximately 2 people and moved in with this random chick I found on Craig’s List (she’s awesome btw, and we’re now friends…thanks Craig). I missed my friends, having tons of Hokies nearby, and knowing which bars to go to for a cheap drink and good time. It took me a little while, but after a couple months I had new (good) friends, pals at work, my “place” socially at work, and had a routine of regular things I did and people I saw. It was like I actually lived there. Then once I got used to it and settled, I up and moved myself to California. Which, among other things, means I’d be away – far, far away from Virginia Tech during football season. Talk about depressing.
And so it seems that two times of settling, connecting, and routine-ing is enough for me to adjust how I think about and do things during these short stints of life. I have found myself frequently thinking, “well if it’s only x number of months left, what’s the point?” Why form bonds and connect with people, only to up and leave a short time later and more than likely see none of them possibly ever again, aside from Facebook updates? Luckily for me, when I think these things, I immediately recognize the depressing-ness of them and do something deliberately opposite of those thoughts. Like make plans and do something to capitalize on fun.
But then other times I can’t get motivated to make the effort to meet people or meet up with the people I have met. There’s logistics, getting to know them, figuring out if I actually like them and if they like me, if we have anything in common, forming bonds, blah blah blah. Making and maintaining friends (and especially good friends) really is a lot of work, so then I think, well I’m not staying here so why am I putting in all this effort to form relationships with people who will soon be 3,000 miles away from me? And also I’d argue that some people would feel the same about me. Why will they put in a lot of effort to reach out to me when they know I will be gone soon, when they could be making time with more permanent people? I could visit, we say, or they could visit me, at some vague point in the future. It’s not such a big world anymore that San Francisco is inaccessible from Raleigh. And I may or may not do this, but none of us are made of that kind of money. But you get the point. It’s a balance. I fight loneliness and laziness to try to find a balance between being a total loner / hermit for 6 months, and putting work into making bonds which will possibly hurt me later when severed (or at least transferred to somewhere less tangible like the interwebs). But really, this shouldn’t be the first thought after meeting new people…I mean really: “Gosh, you are nice and seem pretty cool, I think we could be friends, but I’m not sure I want to hang out anymore for fear that I might really miss you at some indiscriminate time in the distant future, so let’s examine the ROI before we spend man-hours to take this initiative further through the development life cycle.” Right! Who does that? No one.
I have no regrets, and when I think about making plans, accepting or saying no thanks to invites, I always consider this. Which will I regret more: going and doing, or not going and not doing? We know the answer. I am grateful for my job, for the chance to live somewhere other than Richmond via company funds, and to meet as many different people and see as many new things as possible. After all, we learn from each other, do we not? And no doubt I can only benefit from forming as many friendships and strategic partnerships as possible. Whether things turn out for better or worse, I will have learned something from them, and learned more about myself. Which is apparently what the 20-something years are all about, so they say. Whoever they are. They seem to know a lot, so we’ll take their word.
So I long-winded this one a bit and went over my self-imposed word limit, but whatevs. Anyone agree or disagree with me? If you disagree, I’d say you might be weird or have issues. But I’m open minded. Plus, it’s sassy to be adventurous and to put oneself “out there,” where ever there happens to be. Go forth and be sassy.
Also, I managed 10 to 13 corporate lingo bingo words, which I’d say is decent considering the mostly personal topic. High five if you found them all.