Chaya rethinks her assessment of what an ideal workplace looks like
As told to Leah Greenburg
I’m really glad that I didn’t jump into a college program “just because” I should. It’s been almost six months at my current job, and I’ve learned things that no college could have taught me. I just needed to experience real work for myself to come to these conclusions. That’s the kind of person I am; I prefer to take things slowly and thoughtfully, and make a decision that makes sense to me. After all, I’m the one that will have to live with the decision, and I prefer to have no one to blame (or thank) but myself!
So, what is the great conclusion that I’ve come to?
First, there are a few realizations that working in a home salon have taught me. For one, at this point in my life, I do not want to work at home or for someone who works out of their own home. I like the office environment, and I really appreciate professional standards. Also, now that I’m working in an administrative job, I’m starting to see the benefits of getting professional training. Yes, I’m great at figuring out software myself and can watch tutorials when I get stuck, but I’d love to feel like I have a real understanding of what I’m doing and learn it properly. I’m thinking of getting the kind of training I’d need to get the professional job I’d really enjoy.
At our final session this week, we went through all of this, and now I finally feel like I’m ready to make a plan. I’ve gained clarity on things that I didn’t think mattered so much, like my values of open communication and honesty. I’ve learned about the kind of work environment that works for me (not the kind I’m currently in). Putting all of that together with my strengths as a driven, organized, people person, I’m starting to form a picture of what my ideal work will look like. It reminded me of a time we were trying to decipher an old recipe card from my grandmother. We had to slowly, carefully figure out what each of the ingredients were, and try to guess at what some of the rubbed out letters should have been… because there was only a recipe, but it didn’t say what it was for! Here, discovering all these interesting parts about myself was like figuring out what the ingredients are, and finally, at the end, concluding what I was given all these great skills for, and what recipe I was born to create in my work life!
The good thing is that there is more than one thing I can do with my skills. I know that the choice I make now isn’t necessarily something that will work for me in ten years from now, but just like I learned so much from a few months at my first job, I’ll keep making choices that work for me and fit my life goals.
I decided to look for training options where I can learn more about business management, since that’s the part of the job that I enjoy the most. That’s the first thing I want to do. Once I’m enrolled in a program, I’ll start looking for a new job. My goal is to find an administrative, front desk kind of job in a business where I’ll get to learn more about another field and work in a professional environment. We made a list of a few kinds of businesses that interest me and fit my values. Real estate, insurance, and medical offices are on that list. Before I jump into anything though, I’m going to try and spend a day visiting an office in each field I’m considering, to make sure it actually fits what I have in mind. I have my checklist of must-haves to match it up with, and finally feel like I have a fully-baked career plan. I also know that if I ever need some help along the way, I have a career coach to check in with. That is more than just icing on top!
Coming up: meet Miriam, who thought she had her plans all set, but a better plan came along — she’s engaged! Now there are some big career questions to answer… and ask.
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 806)
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