I am a Type-A, perfectionist. Not to mention, I was raised by a father who attended Stanford undergrad and Harvard business and is now a self-made Venture Capitalist. Thus, I am notorious for working myself to the bone in the hopes of one day reaching the success I so crave.
I like to think of my resumé as a work of art and I’m constantly going over it to add a little marketing here, take away some school spirit there, shew in some creativity in that corner, and voila! Then a couple months later it’s back to the drawing board to see how I can revise once more. A masterpiece that will never reach its final form.
Now that I’ve painted the scene, you can imagine my utter distress, when on Valentine’s Day, my summer internship I had lined up was ripped from my grasp. Quite literally ripped as I ripped up the W2 form I had been meaning to fill out as I had in fact been offered the job and given the forms, signed a fucking non-disclosure agreement.
An impersonal email, stating the position had been simply “changed” in the two weeks since I was told “You’re hired!” To be quite honest, my initial reaction was to laugh and say ironically, sarcastically: You’re kidding. How professional! An email from her personal email and she signed it with the name of the company. No “Sorry we bullshitted you!” No “By the way, here are some tips for next time!” Not even the director’s real goddamn name. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!
Within a minute of reading the email, I had overcome the fire in my belly to shoot off a nasty email response, and instead began a mental checklist of other companies I could apply for, how I would budget my time, which classes I could take, etc, etc….
A tearful phone conversation with my mother, all the while sobbing “I’m a failure,” ended in her saying “Izzy, get a hold of yourself and stop spreading yourself so thin. Live a little.”
It wasn’t until the next morning, I gave myself a good long look in the mirror and said:
“What the FUCK am I doing?”
What-the-fuck I was doing, was overextending myself. Burning out. Depriving myself of the satisfaction of being young.
What’s this satisfaction?
Not having any goddamn responsibilities.
Let me rephrase that: not having to have any goddamn responsibilities. I have created for myself such a large army of tasks-at-hand that I’ve all but forgotten what it feels like to not be stressed.
We’re all victims of our own inability to surrender to the pleasures of simply living our lives.
My mom is completely correct. I’m a sophomore in college, 19 years old, have hardly had the opportunity to dip my toes into the real world. I don’t mean the business world–I mean the world as a whole, planet Earth, the beauty, insanity, diversity of it.
I’m young and able and full of wonder, why am I trying to spend my summer days boxed in a cubicle? So I can maybe one day down the road have a job that I could potentially enjoy? I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m going, so how am I supposed to know what I need to do now to get to this figurative place?
Now I’m not throwing all ambition out the window and saying fuck it. I’ve had success. I go to a top-tier school, I have had internships and jobs, I have great skills, interesting hobbies, so why am I burning myself just to throw yet another string of letters onto a sheet of paper?
The point I’m trying to make is that in the grand scheme of things I don’t have to work myself raw so that I can set myself up 30 years down the road. No one has to.
It’s completely okay to take a breather, take some time to yourself. If you’re like me and are thinking “A month of no obligation sounds heavenly,” go for it! If a free weekend, a sick day, quitting your horrible job, dropping your backbreaking major sounds like it would make you the happiest version of yourself–then what’s stopping you?
Pause. Put it all into perspective. Piece together a present life that truly inspires you.