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Embrace Change, Even if It’s Scary

Yesterday marked 1 year since I started my full-time job, or how I call it: my “big-girl” job.

Who knew so much can change in 1 year?! This time last year, I was packing my belongings to officially move to a new city, with a new job as a consultant and start “adulting”. I was fighting back tears and anxiety as I was loading up my car trunk. I felt guilty for feeling anxious — I had so much to look forward to! I had all these wonderful new experiences that I was extremely excited about, but I started to get cold feet.

Change is scary, even if I’m excited about it.

If there’s anything this year has taught me, it’s to EMBRACE change. My apprehension last year was because of starting a “new normal”. Before, I regarded college as “temporary” — it’s only a couple of years, and who knows where I’ll be after? Now, postgrad, a new job, and a new place aren’t temporary. As I spent the years prior to attributing my family home with permanence, it was hard for me to imagine creating a new “permanent.”

However, I survived, because here I am! I guess that was all to say that change sometimes freaks me out, but I end up pulling through.

Circling back to my “big-girl” job: one of the biggest takeaways is to learn to embrace the newness of any challenge that comes my way. Newness is a constant theme in my job. Each day, I face a new challenge, technology, and opportunity. It’s what makes the job so exciting.

This year has been no exception for anyone. 2020, with the pandemic, drastically changed workstyles and forced us to adapt. As soon as I was starting to get a handle on my new life, routine, and job, I had to adapt… again. The pandemic has also taught me how important agility is, not just with work, but in life. How can we change along with the circumstances of the world? We’ve all never experienced anything like this before, so how can we make sense of the changes in our lives? Like many, I struggled with trying to create a “new normal” to make sense of all of the changes this year has thrown at us.

Reflecting on my full first year as a consultant, I realized how much I truly grew. I seriously had to embrace “newness.” I’ve had to learn how to find the right resources when I didn’t have the answers, problem-solve with limited information and curveballs, and track and monitor multiple aspects of projects. The learning curve is steep but well worth the challenge.

I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

I had to quickly understand I don’t always have to have the right answer on the spot, rather, learn to figure it out and work towards it. Every single person I’ve worked with has told me that, and yet, I still have to engrain it in my mind. Having spent my whole life as a student, where I felt expected to have the right answer all the time, I now had to adopt a new way of thinking.

As I reflect, I also realized that I know more than I give myself credit for. 2 years ago, I was an intern working on the same project I’m currently on. I can’t even digest the amount of growth I’ve achieved since then. With all of the changes, challenges and opportunities I’ve gotten in the past year, I’ve gotten more comfortable with tackling the “newness” that I deal with every day. There’s also an increase in autonomy in my day to day — I will definitely give the current work from home situation credit for that one. Not having my team around me every day has put my in the habit to first “take a stab” on my own. My resources aren’t just a few feet away, so I’ve tried to make every effort to figure things out myself and consolidate my questions. Definitely a great skill to pick up on my first year!

Honestly speaking, I would be nowhere without the people in my personal and professional life who support me every day. I’m in awe each day by the knowledge and experience I’m surrounded by (or a zoom call away from). I’m amazed when I see how my team members juggle their work, life AND families every day when often, I feel like I can barely keep myself afloat. I guess that’s also a learning curve too — that’s bound to come with time.

Juggling all of that newness on top of adapting to this new world we are living in has been rough. I don’t have all of the resources just a few feet away from me to bombard with all of my questions. Zoom can only provide so much interpersonal connection. I further have to learn how to separate my work from home when it’s all in the same place. I had to figure out how to stay engaged even while at home (see my tips: How to actually be productive and stay sane). Most importantly, I had to learn how to really take care of myself when I feel like the world is crashing down.

This year hasn’t been easy, but who says easy is good? Change may be scary and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean it is bad. Isn’t that how we learn and grow?