Adulting: A Mini Series, Part IV

Work, Work, Work

Ahhh work. Yes, we’ve gotten to this point. Life is all fine and dandy when we talk about change. Relationships can be thrilling, and then we get to work- a topic that may bring forth a sigh of ahhh, yeah I know I need to but ugh. I know I have to work because I need money and I want to be able to afford that kombucha at Whole Foods, but do I have to?

Yes, girl. You have to, but the intention behind this blog is to shine the light on the fact that your work shouldn’t be something that induces Sunday Scaries. It should be something that shoots you out of bed in the morning; something that excites you to your core; something that you’re so proud of that you want to give everyone your elevator pitch.

Now, you’re probably reading this and thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, Marina. That sounds great, but I am nowhere near that.” I know. You’re at a job where your work feels like it doesn’t carry any weight. Your boss doesn’t value the work you do. You get to work and start counting down the minutes until it’s 5pm and you can go home. Then you get home and think, “There must be more to life than this.”

There is. But first, let’s rewind back to the beginning: the early twenties.

I’m going to call the first 3 years of this decade the barista phase.

Let me also add a disclaimer that the description of where you’re at during this decade is a sweeping generalization. I recognize that some people won’t relate specifically, but I think you’ll get the gist and benefit in some way.

The barista phase represents all the small jobs you have to basically pay to live. It’s the jobs you have in college that don’t stress you out too much, maybe except for your boss who thinks they know everything and can make the best latte ever. This is the job that you clock in, clock out, and do everything you can to make sure you get the weekend off for Coachella when you know all of your co-workers are going too.

During this time in your life, your job is to keep your eye on the prize; to know what you’re working towards- and that is more than just working for your free iced coconut milk latte at the end of your shift. This is when you’re finishing school; when you’re beginning to craft a resume to land your internship; when you’re deciding if you want to start grad school or enter into the real world before going after those next few letters after your name.

This job can feel like your brain cells are dying because work feels meaningless, so after your shift when you’ve got that coffee buzz, keep your brain busy doing things that feel like you have a real purpose. Craft your resume, reach out to people for informational interviews, read books, listen to podcasts— do what you can so the flexible schedule works to your advantage.

Great. Now you’re on to your next phase. I’m going to call this the in-between phase; the prepare to launch phase. You’re done making espressos. You have ditched the kids you used to nanny for. Now you’re working towards your goal in an active way. Whether that means you’re interning or fetching coffee for the person whose job you ultimately want, you have gotten yourself in the door. Congrats! I know that was a huge hurdle.

Now, it’s time to make the most of this phase. This phase can actually be the hardest. You may be juggling multiple jobs because the slave labor, I mean internship, doesn’t pay. Your boss may be channeling Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Or you may feel so passionate about what you’re doing that you don’t feel like you can ever truly clock out. You’re working 60-70 hour work weeks and you realize that your friends have taken you off the group chat because you weren’t responding and your bae has forgotten what you look like.

It’s ok. All the hustle will pay off. Between the ages of 24-26, you’re setting yourself up for your late twenties and beyond. You’re dialing in on what you want to do 40+ hours a week and what you want your life to look like. NBD.

This can be stressful. This can impact your relationships if you let it- don’t let it. Be up front and honest with your crew on what you’re working on so they can support you during this time. And then guess what? As you start accomplishing goals, they will be right there with you to celebrate!

You will be celebrating the LAUNCH phase. This is the big leagues. This is the end of your twenties and sometimes the beginning of your thirties. This is where you start to see things really pay off. You can buy more than one Kombucha at a time. Your schedule opens up a bit and you can make it to happy hour with your girlfriends. Sunday night rolls around and you don’t even notice. You have entered into a phase of work where work doesn’t feel like work. You have found the right job, you have created the right business, or maybe you have finally dialed in on the work-life balance.

I know I am making all of this seem ridiculously fluid and easy. I know it’s not. I know that it takes countless edits of your resume, going on so many interviews that it feels like a string of bad first dates, and so many nights of worrying if you’re going to make it.

You are going to make it. And you will have hard days. That’s just the nature of the beast. Roll with the tide. Say yes to opportunities where you will meet new people. You never know who is going to open the next door for you.

Remain hopeful; the world shows up when you show up.

Us millennials are changing the landscape of the work force- we are powerful and persistent. So trust your gut and trust that the universe has your back— because it does.