I’m Thankful to be Without a Title…sort of.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
It’s the time of the year where (if you live in the United States at least) you sit around the table and eat turkey, or maybe tofu turkey, if you’re one of those vegetarians (I’m a vegetarian, I can say that. Although I might be joining the “meat” side this Thursday, we’ll see). For me, Thanksgiving and the holidays in general have become a time for me to reflect. So, this post is a dedication to one of my reflections prior to saying thank you for all my blessings tomorrow.
This year has been a year of growth for me in many ways. Every year ought to be a year of growth, but over the past few years I have tried to characterize each year by something. For example, I would say 2010 was a year of “getting it together” because I’ve characterized 2009 as “my hell year.” Why was 2011 a year of growth? Well, because for the first time in my life, some big decisions didn’t go the way I thought they would and had left me without titles- something that I have ended up being grateful for.
After graduating from college in May, I headed to Chicago. I had my sights on going to Loyola law school and one of my brothers lives here, so I had free room and board for the summer at least! However, life is what happens when you’re making other plans, right?
Well, I’m not in law school.
What was my plan B? My plan B was to go to Spain’s University of Navarra to do a “Bridge Year Program.” What happened?
Well, I didn’t go to Spain.
What was my plan C? Oh, that’s right, I didn’t have one.
The job market was not remotely appealing to me during my senior year of college and not only because of this economy, but because I just didn’t know what to do with my life. I can tell you what I want to do in 10, 15 years but right after college and to some extent even now, I am not so sure. So, there I was in July, a young lady with a Business Marketing degree, without a plan and without any titles. I mean, you can only stretch the college graduate thing for so long, right!?
This past summer I read and re-read the American Classic, “Gone With the Wind” and one of the quotes from the book that really stuck was, “with enough courage you can do without a reputation.” I love it. I have always been the kind of person who didn’t really want to be identified with a crowd, a group, a title, etc. I’ve always just wanted to be Kovie Biakolo, maybe with a “the fabulously awesome woman” to follow.
Even during college (when I was an international student, in a business fraternity, in a sorority for a time, an RA one year, a leader of a cultural organization) I like to think that I successfully escaped being put in a box, other than maybe being known as a “sassy girl” (which I liked). That’s when I realized I was finally getting the true experience of being without titles. My plans were un-clear and my immediate future, even more so. So, rather than worry and fret about what-ifs, and what to tell people when they asked, I decided that I would be courageous enough to be without a reputation.
What is a reputation?
A reputation is what people know you as professionally and personally. It’s not like I wanted a bad reputation; I just decided that my character would simply have to speak loudly enough to thrive without a reputation. For me, this is what “courage to be without a reputation” means. Growing up for many years, a girl with three older brothers (I have a sister who I’m 10 years older than), I have never really been short of confidence. Furthermore, growing up with educated, wise parents who have always taught me to be resourceful and above all hard-working, I was confident that this “limbo” period of my life would be one that would be tough, but one that I would look back on as a defining period in my life.
What am I doing now?
Well, a lot of things. After much ado with job searching and indeed I still am, Nicole Crimaldi (the founder of this very blog) let me to step on board as an Event Coordinator for her Ms Career Girl Connect events and as a project manager/account executive for her online marketing agency, MCG Media Inc. I say “sort of” because being true to my story, we are uncertain what my title should be.
I am learning a lot about the digital marketing world, the social media world and getting an opportunity to really know what it means to develop a business. Now don’t get me wrong, kudos to all the people who are in a traditional job setting but the truth is right now, I wouldn’t want to be any place else.
As Nicole reminded me after our last connect event of the year last week: I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I always tell the story of how I met Nicole through Twitter, then how I asked if I could help with her events via email. And now, just a couple of months later, here I am working on growing a business, getting more job and life experience than I ever thought I would.
You really never know where life can take you if you maintain a strong character, a positive attitude and a willingness to let go of what you think should happen or who you think you should be.
So, to everyone who wonders and even struggles about what their titles are and to some extent what their reputation is; to everyone who wonders if they’re in the right place or not, I say: be thankful for what you are and where you are.
If you have a title, be thankful. If you don’t, be thankful and see it as an opportunity to grow and be someone you want to be. Be thankful for these, but also be thankful if If you have a thanksgiving dinner to go to, a warm bed to sleep at night, and most importantly family and friends who love you.
Everyone’s story and life path is different, professionally and personally. In the end, however, the best things about life are not your titles or reputation or even your finances. The best thing in life is when you become who you are meant to be, when you know you are making a difference, when you feel loved and when you are grateful for every challenge, every win, and every gift you have, especially the gift of life. So tomorrow…just be thankful.