The purpose of these writings is to share and ease the identity crisis that young people may have moving into a professional career. Including what I have learned, my own experience as a Gen Z/X, and how I navigate the relationship between Sara, in her truest form, and my workplace self.
I am not a blogger. In fact, I have a bit of disdain for fitness bloggers specifically, and/or those that may self-promote under the shield of “helping others.” However, as I took my first job at the ripe age of 21, working in a complex global organization, I realized that I was experiencing an extreme case of cognitive dissonance: How did I get here? Is this what Sara would do? Did I want a corporate job, and am I changing myself for the worse? The better?… This could probably continue on for a lot longer. Long story short — as one of the youngest people to join my company, and as one of the first Gen Zs (1995) that had entered the workforce, I was (am) feeling WEIRD.
Questions for the reader(s)
Advice (where I feel qualified enough to give it)
Talking about myself in too much detail may diminish the magic that is a random online blog. So I will just say that I currently work in human resources at a very large, global, private company, and I have always had an interest in industrial psychology and English literature. Therefore, you have the conception.
Her Venn Diagram:
Thanks for getting through the fluffy stuff. You made it to my first blog! And as with all pilots, this may be a considerable letdown for you, OR it will entice you just enough to keep skimming my writing after today.
The first thing I want to address is the title of this article. Her Venn Diagram. I believe that names carry a lot of power and should not be taken lightly. “Her” obviously refers to me, although I wanted “Her” to explain that my perspective in the workplace may be vastly different from a male, as well as it is how I self-identify. “Her” (not to be confused with the movie starring Joaquin Phoenix) also shoulders a lot of pride and power for movements that are happening all around us #MeToo #ShePersisted #HerStory. The gender conversation is not going away anytime soon, and I am happy to share my personal experiences later on. Full disclosure, I encourage and hope that men can have a connection to these writings as well; this is 100% not a feminist or female-only blog.
Now, the Venn Diagram. See below.
See what I mean?
(This sketch was in my original draft, but I was charmed by how much character it had, I decided to keep it in instead of order a professional diagram.)
I will let you interpret this image how you see best but will provide some context. Ra-Ra-Rewind. Circa 2016 – on the left, “Sara,” has been in school her whole life. She drinks fishbowls with her friends at the local college bar for as much change as she could scrape off the sidewalk in a given day. She is in business school, so she knows that if she only spends $10 at the bar now and buys $50 of New Amsterdam and Jagermeister next week, she wins because the present value of money is greater than the future value of money. Anyways, she drinks, she dines, and she hangs with the gals. Not only does Sara drink on Tuesdays, but she also has been a vegetarian for two years, so she can’t actually eat the chicken wings that her friends order – though she is a mooch and wants to. In a nutshell, Sara is a young girl that wants to save the world from cow farts, corporations, white privilege, and enjoys an occasional vodka soda whilst doing it. Interestingly enough, as previously stated, she is also in business school, which contradicts a few of these principles yet again, but that is for a later discussion.
The mist clears, and we are back in 2018 where “Work Sara” now exists and has existed for about a year.* She works an 8-5 day job, 40 hours a week, and finally got that overly climactic “taste of the real world.” She now has to come to terms with conference calls, wearing shoes that are not Chuck Taylors, working with people that are at different stages of life, which includes but is not limited to: children, engagements, grandchildren, and mid-life crises. She realizes that people in the real world actually use the phrases “personal brand” and “re-invent the wheel,” and she has to sometimes tell people that are 20+ years older what to do and how to do it. Public speaking? Oh, you mean logging on to a Skype call and virtually sharing your PowerPoint (yes, please throw notecards away). Overall, she really likes (even loves) her job, coworkers, and manager… but once again, how did she get here? And why does she feel so evolved?
This, my friends, is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. Not to be defined as unhappy or incompetent. Disjointed. Phony? Changed? Torn. Some people may reply to this with “Hey, Sara, that is called the Imposter Syndrome; it’s a TedTalk by Amy Cuddy.” As much as I love Amy Cuddy, that is not this feeling. It is when I come to work, but a part of my identity is left at home, and Past Sara is looking at Work Sara in confusion and perhaps condescension.
The articles I will continue to write from Her Venn Diagram articulates this particular feeling that may resonate with audiences who are in the same position as the two Saras who are coming to terms with each other’s existence. Whether you are just graduating and feel a part of yourself changing, or for those who have been in the working world for a while but still seem to be searching for that self-actualization…that missing part of you still stays at home, or with your friends, while your other self is at work. If anything, I hope my writing inspires, encourages, empathizes, and honestly, helps my own sense of relief. This is not an advice blog but an exploration of our generation in the real world. I hope to explain how I deal with internal conflict, inner workplace workings, the gender disparity, and how to find your slice of happiness in a world that is globalized, structured, and requires you to wear just the right blouse that says “I mean business” and “I am approachable.”
*To be clear, Sara has had jobs in the past, and “Work Sara” refers to Sara working in a corporate setting as a full-time employee post-graduation.
I forgot my badge again. — Me