This I Believe

Daniel - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on June 24, 2007

I believe in the necessity of constant transformation. Over the course of my life, I’ve never found myself in deeper despair than when I was confronted with a new situation to which I was unwilling to adjust, nor have I experienced greater hope than when I’ve looked back on times when I’ve grown due to facing a challenge.

Confronting real change is never easy. Doing so can cause us to question not only “what we do next”, but ultimately our sense of who we are and what we stand for. This was particularly true for me when I approached, and eventually decided to leave, my first job out of college.

I graduated, like many of my peers, excited about the prospect of being paid for working hard, instead of paying a hefty sum every six months for tuition. I was hopeful for the opportunity to be in a new space, meet new people, and learn real world skills.

My first position, as a customer service assistant at a tech company, was both what I had hoped for and what I feared. My job was not too hard, my co workers were friendly, my boss was kind. But I quickly found myself going day after day to do something I wasn’t interested in, and not particularly good at.

In this case, transitioning from a student to someone working in the “real world” resulted in me spending most of my time doing things that I didn’t think were important, for reasons that were increasingly hard to grasp: was I simply paying my dues before moving on to a “real” role? Was I selling out at a time when I had the flexibility to switch careers? As I increasingly engaged in activities that I didn’t care about, I further began to loose sight of things that I did think I should be doing at some point in my life.

Months worth of these thoughts convinced me that the adjustments I would need to be comfortable in my workplace would ultimately not be worth it. This, in turn, led me into the unknown. I tried to recall what those causes were that I once found so compelling, and tried to unearth some opportunity to earn a living doing them.

I contemplated, talked to friends and family, prayed, and realized that working with redevelopment in New Orleans was one of the things which I both found fulfilling and I enjoyed. I took a chance on leaving steady job, a stable group of friends, and a set schedule of activities, just to be thrown into the arms of change all over again. So far, my work has required encountering an entirely new culture, quickly developing new skill sets, work habits, and relationships. I’m having to do some walking in the dark as far as where my future will leave me, and I’m having to discover a side of me that is more comfortable with ambiguity, more willing to let a team lead instead of taking leadership for myself, and more willing to leave at a decent time each night, letting some work wait until 9am the next morning. But, I continue to look forward to rediscovering myself as I strive to meet the challenges of each new day.