I’m starting work in yet another company—my Nth employer in my lifetime. But this time it’s different. I am finally in my dream line of work.
It’s not easy. I’m happy—but it’s not easy. I’m having mixed emotions. But mostly anxiousness. Leaving an old job –the work you’d been comfortable with, the people you’d been close with, the place that had become your comfort zone—and then venturing out into the unknown is quite stressful. I’m setting out for a new working environment with unknown culture and personalities.
Sometimes, I wonder if I had made the right choice. Was it right to leave my comfort zone and stress out again on trying to adjust, learn and fit in? I had stayed in my last job for more than a year—the longest I’ve ever stayed in one in my entire millennial life. The reason I lasted in this job wasn’t because it was great and fulfilling but because it was so convenient and conflictless. Would it have been right to stay in this job? Would it have been right if I had stayed in a kind of job that gave me a sense of ease but not of achievement? I loved the people I worked with, but was it enough for me to tolerate the job?
Perhaps a better question to ask myself is: what do I want? Then, I’ll know if I had made the right choice.
And this is what I want. I want to grow and accomplish a lot. I want to do what I love because we only live once.
I see what I love in the new company—the opportunity to write and the chance to be read. I have worked in customer service, media production, advertising and business development, but this is the first time ever that I will be doing a job that is actually my passion and specialization (writing was my college major). This is a great leap towards the fulfillment of my dreams. A stepping stone to becoming a renowned writer.
To be able to do what I love is a great motivation, so why am I so apprehensive?
I tend to be anxious about many things. So, recently, I made a personal diagram of how I can fight fears, and applied it in this situation.
The first step is, like they always say, acknowledge the fears—admit the things that I am afraid of.
I am afraid that the new job might be too demanding and stressful that I won’t be able to keep up with it. I am afraid of doing something clumsy or stupid that people are going to judge me. I am afraid of not matching the wavelength of my new colleagues and be alienated. Not only am I afraid but I also hate to force myself to reach out to people. I’m generally a friendly and approachable person, but I hate feeling like it’s a requirement to make friends and like I have to force myself to come up with icebreakers. I like conversations to flow naturally. I’m scared of being judged.
The next step is to know why. Why am I afraid of these things?
I am not even sure why I feel so afraid and concerned about not matching with other people, being alienated or being judged. I know these are all pointless, restrictive fears. Perhaps I have these ridiculous fears because my self-esteem is so vulnerable and I have the natural instinct to protect my wellbeing. In the university, I was trained and have gotten used to being open to constructive criticisms. But those were criticisms of work. I wasn’t trained to be receptive to personal criticisms. I grew up in a small and mellow environment and had always been lucky to meet good-natured friends. But as I stepped out of college, I walked into a bigger world with a greater assortment of personalities good and bad. I wasn’t used to it.
Now that I have acknowledged what my fears are and why I fear them, my third and final step is to find more productive fears. What am I more afraid of?
I go back to the question of what do I want? I want to grow and accomplish a lot. As far as I can tell, we only live once. And I’m afraid that I can’t grow and accomplish things, in this one shot I got at life, if I let my fears hold me back. I am more afraid to just leave this world and be buried six feet below the ground without leaving a legacy. I want to be remembered through my writing, or whatever creative craft I do. This is what I am more afraid of.
As a self-confessed sluggish and sleepy girl, I am met every day with the greatest temptation of just burying my face in my iPod or laptop and binging on Netflix and video games. But every day I am also confronted with this greater fear of not becoming the person I want to be, not growing and not accomplishing.
Now, this is what I personally thought up based on my experiences, which I feel is a very good way to fight irrational fears. I have found, however, that there is a book that has tackled the same concept, although it highlighted more on the fear of God; and a very cute and touching episode of a Japanese anime I loved very much as a kid. Fear of God may be the best kind of fear, but in a more earthly sense, a good fear can be anything. It can be the fear of hurting the people you love or the fear of not achieving your dreams.
I may be afraid to leave my comfort zone or make mistakes in the new job or not be liked by everyone, but all of these are a part of the wholeness of the world—at least the world I live in. Leaving my comfort zone means widening my horizons and stretching my capabilities. Making mistakes means learning. And not being liked by everyone? We can’t please everyone, it’s true. But as long as there are people who love me, I will keep going.