How I Bossed Up and Made Peace With Working a 9 to 5
When people speak of a "boss" or someone who they hold in high regard, they don’t include us nine-to-fivers. The reality is that working class individuals are not given the same level of respect and appreciation as someone who is an entrepreneur, or other well-paying careers.
There is a lot of shame that comes with working a "regular" job.
Perhaps some people choose to go the more traditional route or arrive at a certain job out of obligation, or happenstance; regardless we all have to make ends meet someway, somehow. Every line of work is essential if you ask me.
Growing up, we are asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?“
We hear this question hundreds of times from as early as 5 or 6 years old until we are graduating from high school; People always want to know what’s next no matter what phase of life you are in. Society makes you feel behind if you're not at a certain place in life at a specific age, that you are complacent and don’t want more or better for your life.
The truth is, it's not that simple, and everyone's life path is different.
I'm no stranger to hard work, and I am passionate about what that I do no matter what it is. What's important to me, is knowing that I can provide and take care of myself and my children.
I'll be honest, it hasn't been easy.
At 40, I’m still trying to answer that question of what I want to be.
At my age, there is this pressure to conform to these unrealistic expectations of what "success," looks like, and if I'm honest, it does affect me. When the people around me are celebrating milestones in their careers or starting businesses, I find myself fading into the background, wondering about my own future. I do my best to root for and support my loved ones in any way possible but at moments it's hard to do so when I feel like I'm not "measuring, "up. I fear that my lack of accomplishments will result in me losing friends because I’m not on the same playing field or “level” that they are on. Sometimes I feel triggered, and the feelings of inadequacy and jealousy creep in.
I often ask myself:
What am I doing wrong? Which direction should I go in? When will my time come?
It's even worse when those same people start to question you about your plans not knowing how you truly feel or have the slightest clue that they are offending you.
If you're anything like me, you know how painful that could be.
I know there are other women who are maybe older or younger who probably have these same feelings, know that you are not alone.
A lot of corporate entities don’t have enough spaces for us as Black Women, but we are still worthy of taking up space and applying for the roles that we want. Representation matters, even in the workplace. You don't have to wait for a seat at the table, you can create your own lane by building your own table and living on your own terms.
But...while you are figuring it out, know that your work has value and that what you do matters. This world could not function or operate at its full capacity without your drive, vision, and expertise.
It may be hard to stay afloat or stay motivated, but trust the process because your labor is not in vain.
Here are some things that I've done to keep me encouraged along my journey:
Stay focused on what is in front of you
Stop comparing yourself to other people. We all have our own individual paths to take in life. You never know what it took someone else to get to where they are, so don't get lost getting caught up in that web of disillusionment. It's easy to get distracted by what everyone else is doing and achieving, but do your best to focus on yourself and living your life to the best of your ability. Don't miss out on a potential opportunity by placing your attention on people, places, and things that are not of your concern. Your purpose could be tied to that job, and you can miss out if you are not narrowing in on what is already within your reach.
Shoot your shot
Lookin within the company that you are currently employed at, and see what positions they may have open. Do your research, look at the qualifications, and see how your skill set aligns with what they're looking for. Network, and get connected to people who are doing what you want to do and pick their brains about how to advance. There may be opportunities that will allow you to transfer some of the knowledge and skills that you already have or a whole different track for you to build/start a career. Take advantage of the things around you, your breakthrough could be closer than you think
Find a healthy outlet
Think about your hobbies and what you love to do, those things can help with moving into that next step. I love reading and writing so I had to step out of my comfort zone to write blog posts. I still have that fear of not being good enough but this is my way to share my voice with a community of women who are like me in some way. I journal a bunch of my feelings and emotions. I never want it to spill out in the wrong way to others. I write out things I’m grateful for. That always brings me back to my blessings. I may not have the business or career of my dreams, but I have a lot to be grateful for. Always lead with self-compassion and love. At the end of the day, I had to make peace with my decisions and know that I did the best that I could do with what I had and that it counts for something.
I've had my personal struggles because I'm human, but I used my faith as a vehicle and as an anchor to help navigate me through the rough times.
It took me a while to get here, but I've come to realize that I am in the right place at the right time, and that gives me joy. I still have goals and aspirations that I'd like to manifest, but while I'm preparing for what’s next, I will enjoy life in the present. It's all going according to God's plan anyway, so we're right on schedule!