Quarterlife Career Musings…

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Being in your mid-20s isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Forget the fun, fortune and fame of The Hills and welcome to the grim reality of post-college life.

It’s truly an odd place; stuck in the middle of the complete dependence of your devil-may-care college years and the fully independent, responsibility-laden promised land of your thirties. There’s a certain heaviness about it all, as if the choices you make and paths you wander down now will determine the next ten or twenty years of your life. And often times, they do.

The thing I’m struggling with right now is the importance of my next big career move. After freelancing and wearing a million different hats during the past year and a half, it feels like the right time to settle down and move confidently in the direction of my future. Finding that path to head down, however, is proving to be quite the challenge. The biggest problem is the plethora of equally viable options that I can see myself pursuing. Writer/ Editor? Definitely.  Business School for an MBA? Why not! Event/ Wedding Planner? Sign me up. Entrepreneur? Heck, yes.   With interests so varied and a penchant for enjoying both the analytical as well as creative aspects of a job, I’m left torn down the middle. This dilemma conjures a picture I have of myself happily straddling the Prime Meridian in Greenwich wearing pink heart rain boots, hair in pigtails and a goofy grin on my face; only this time half of me is standing in the artist’s world of uber-creativity, while the other half is planted firmly in the c-suite behind balance sheets and cash flow statements.

It begs the question, was college worth it? I toiled, I studied, I aced my exams, and then I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. Over the four years at USC I learned all about public relations, communication theory, public speaking, presentations, management, finance and accounting. But I never learned what I truly enjoyed doing, or what I was passionate about.

The hard work throughout college resulted in a job that started the week after graduation at a top PR firm. I felt accomplished and proud of myself, but deep down I was also utterly, hopelessly lost and confused. There was nothing in particular that made me want to pursue public relations, except that it was the field of my first unpaid internship, which allowed me to get a paid internship, which built up my post-college resume and helped me land the PR job. I felt like I had thoughtlessly taken a few steps down a path that suddenly turned into a steep hill. Without noticing what was happening at the time, my life turned into a slippery slope where one silly internship steamrolled into my chosen career field. Eight months later, stressed, depressed and miserable, I finally found the courage to try something else.

Writing freed me, and the ability to think creatively felt like an underused muscle I was just beginning to rediscover. I realized that my college years somehow robbed me of the ability to be creative, follow my heart and truly know myself. Though the past two years have been therapeutic and freeing, I still can’t tell you my ten-year plan. Instead, I’m trying to focus on staying in the here and now, and actively pursuing things that I truly enjoy. I always have and always will love the freedom of creative expression that I feel from writing, but I’ve also found that the life of a work-from-home freelancer has its drawbacks.

Yes, sitting at home in my (undeniably stylish) pajamas and staring at a computer has left me yearning for some daily human interaction.  Mike is always up for a chat, coffee or a nice long walk, but I still miss the boost of collaboration – working together, pooling ideas and resources, and coming up with a smashing result that’s greater than the sum of everyone’s parts.

Over the past few months, I’ve found myself drawn deliciously deeper into the realm of pursuing event & wedding planning – a process that requires countless hours of creative collaboration. As you know if you’re a regular reader, I’m already planning my good friend’s wedding from top to bottom – and am having an absolute ball. I love calling the vendors, researching the best options, creating design ideas, and seeing them come to fruition. Every day in event planning brings a new possibility and a new challenge to create something beautiful for your client – and I simply can’t get enough of beautiful things.

As I counsel other friends on their events, throw my own and plan every little detail for Jenny’s upcoming nuptials, I see that doing this full time is something I could really throw myself into wholeheartedly.  After much hemming and hawing, last week I decided to dip my toe into the pond by choosing a name { The Stylish Soiree } and reserving the URL.  The Stylish Soiree: The art of crafting impeccable events with style.  It’s definitely me, and I’m infinitely excited to jump in with both feet as soon as I have time to build the site.  Is it my life calling? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s certainly a place to start.

So, while I still don’t have my ten year plan, what I do have is a new direction. Writing is and always will be my first love, and I do not intend to give up on it while pursuing event planning. The beauty of having two work-from-home jobs is that I can arrange my schedule to include both without sacrifice, and embrace both the business side and the world of the creative. That girl with pigtails and pink heart rainboots? Looks like she can have the best of both worlds after all.

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7 Comments

Filed under 20something Musings

7 responses to “Quarterlife Career Musings…

  1. Michelle

    How much do you charge? Do you have a website?

  2. Pingback: Ask the leadership coach » Quarterlife Career Musings… « Shopaholica

  3. Sriram

    hey!!! gud luck!!!

  4. A

    Thanks for summarizing the mid 20’s– so true! I’m also in my mid 20’s, not sure of what to do in life, climbing the corporate ladder with no intention to stay in corporate America. So how do I make the next big move into what I really want to do!?

  5. Anonymous

    Well said! Wow – I feel like you were writing to me directly. I know you will be successful at whatever you do! Love the blog – please keep it going!

  6. Pingback: Need… Vacation… Now… « Shopaholica

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