Who am I?
I’m an Asian American young professional working in NYC. Being a millennial and daughter of immigrants it was confusing growing up being told I was “gifted” and also “not good enough.” After many all-nighters, confrontations, and good ol’ soul searching, I realized my problem is the societal expectations of productivity.
There’s so much stress in trying to spend every minute of the day being productive – about being as efficient as possible. I’m here to cut through that and tell you that you can be productive and also take time to relax for yourself.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but:
- Your grades actually don’t matter that much in the long run. I work with people who got lower SAT scores and never took AP classes. I ended up not being able to keep up with pharmacy classes and friends who got lower scores than me in high school make more than me now.
- Your job prospects aren’t over if you don’t get the top internship in your area. Job experience is still important, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a well paying full-time job.
- The college you go to won’t matter that much. If you got into an Ivy league, of course some initial interest will be there, but if you don’t have the experience and work ethic, companies won’t jump at giving you a job offer. Your impression as a human means 10x more than your college name. Focus on building yourself instead of studying all the time.
Another thing about me is that I never believed that you’re supposed to just know what you want to do. There are so many adults still unsure about their careers, yet we expect high school kids to know what major to pick, to get to a career they think they’re supposed to reach for. The idea that one should aim to be a doctor because they did well in high school chemistry, or that they should be an engineer because they like math doesn’t make sense. If you like eating, have you ever considered becoming a food critic? In each job there are many nuances and skills to learn, and being good or enjoying one aspect of it does not mean you’ll succeed or enjoy it when you actually get there.
I remember a few months into an internship and being asked, “do you think you’ll do well here?” How could I know such a thing? All I did was write reports and file papers as an intern. But for some reason executives and HR deemed this valid experience to interact with clients and work on the analytics. I remember a year into my full-time job being asked if I think this is a good fit. How could I possibly know, with only 1 year into my full time job? My only job? I see employees at work, clocking in their 15th year at the office and saying they work at a great place. How can you know for sure when this is the only job you’ve had? I have these questions not because I’m unhappy at all, but because I understand that I have no clue what everyone else’s experiences are with their own jobs. Students who aren’t sure look at their peers who are so sure of their futures. If you’re one of them, I want to tell you that’s completely normal, and sane. Only a very small percentage of students will have had general experience in their choice career, or a relative/friend who has given them insight on the actual work. However, even those people will never know if there’s something out there that would fulfill them more.
There’s a fear, whether big or small in most people, I think. Whether they can succeed in the thing they set their mind to. Definitely having a clear goal in mind is helpful in achieving them.
When you get that job, will you feel like it was worth it, or will you force yourself to say it was worth it because you made sacrifices? It’s unfortunate that students speak like getting that “dream” job is the end goal. Entering the workforce is just the beginning, and once you enter, it’s a maze. I tried testing out different paths since 9th grade: journalist, environmental science researcher, marketing consultant/analyst, nonprofit worker, doctor, pharmacist, policy/planning analyst, financial analyst, and now underwriting. It’s a field I’ve come to enjoy, but who says I have to stay in my first job out of college for the rest of my life? I encourage every student to not pigeon-hole themselves into the typical “doctor/lawyer/engineer” road and ask who you’re doing this for. Those aren’t the only jobs that make 6 figures, and you’d be surprised how far $70k can stretch when you live alone.
After landing this current job I had a lot of doubts and asked around what others do at their jobs. I’ve grown into my role and I can say I enjoy my job since each day I get a new puzzle to solve. BUT my journey isn’t over yet, and I hope you’ll stick around to see where I go! Who says you have to be one thing for the rest of your life? Who says just because you put in hard work, you have to stick with it? My past efforts still stand, but my top goal in life is to keep myself happy.
I’ve always been interested in planning ahead and working towards different goals in life. Through sharing my own experiences from high school, college, and post-grad working life, I hope to make positive impact on your lives. I enjoy interacting with people online, so don’t be afraid to DM me on Instagram or email (I might be a little slower on that though since I only check that email at night) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a question you want answered, or just want anonymous general advice, contact me!