Frequently, I ruminate on things. Things you maybe thought were settled. Things I definitely thought were settled.
Sometimes, I’ve been told I even try talking through such things in my sleep. But I couldn’t say if it helps.
This week, it’s the nascent About page of Last Chance Writer that has come back to the forefront of my mind.
You’ve probably read it. Jeff Goins points out that most blog visitors click immediately to a blog’s about page.
I spent time on it. Hours writing. Days of staring. More hours typing.
I was expecting to come back to it, probably when I had achieved financial stability and/or Interweb notoriety. But not this soon.
The thing is, I think I’ve come up with a term for what I’m doing, or I guess, trying to do. And my hunch is it describes a lot more people than just me. After this post, I’ll probably take another swing at the old about page.
A SECOND CAREER MILLENNIAL
Here’s the term for what I’m doing, or I guess, still in the process of trying to do: I’m a second career millennial.
When I finished undergrad, I was pretty where I was going and how I was going to get there. I’d never have pictured myself doing what I’m doing now, but here I am.
I have to think I’m not alone on this journey. I wonder: Is this you, too? Here’s what I mean.
You leave high school and go to college. You have to have some idea of what you want to study and what kind of work you want to do afterwards with said studies.
It’s a old talking-head myth that people walk out into the world not having any clue what they plan to do.
If you’re on the older end of the millennial spectrum like me, you know that comes later. Twenty-eight. I think that was the first time I thought about how I had no idea what I was doing. Although by then I’d already spent a good amount of time doing something. It’s happened since—thirty-one, thirty-three—but it’s less of a shock after the first time.
YOU START YOUR FIRST JOB…
You start your first job, with what you think is a really clear path. This is it. The start of something real. You point to people who are doing what you think you want to be doing. You may even have some idea of how they got there. You feel confident you’ll be able to do something similar.
But it doesn’t turn out that way.
YOU GET PEOPLE COFFEE…
You get people coffee. Or answer the phone. Or a million other menial tasks not reflective of your $80,000 education.
It doesn’t seem to matter if you dress up, make the most insightful team meeting observation, or whatever other small victory you try to claim.
You get people coffee.
People, your grandpa, your aunt, maybe the people who thank you for their coffee, tell you this is normal.
You will get people coffee, then you will get promoted to doing the thing you think you want to be doing, they say.
But this is advice from another time.
Because the truth is you are very likely to end up staying stuck in this millennial purgatory of coffee and phones.
Look around. A dozen people are getting coffee. A dozen people are answering the phone. When the time comes for an empty spot to be filled only one of you can take it. Or maybe none of you.
One day a guy may waltz into that vacant cubicle who never got anyone coffee and didn’t answer phones.
The truth is they will always need someone for coffee and phones. Keeping you there isn’t something they ruminate over, at night, in their sleep, or at all.
What do you decide to do?
I WALKED PAST THE COFFEE SHOP…
I decided to walk past the coffee shop. I decided to walk away from the phone, even though it was ringing. Even though someone was calling for a guy who didn’t get anyone coffee. I decided to come back to the coffee shop with my own computer, to get myself coffee and to start typing this.
Maybe the first decision is to decide that you can make a decision.
This is a radical idea for people.
People, your grandpa, your aunt, maybe the people thanking you for their coffee, will tell you this is not normal.
Because one day you may still get promoted to doing the thing you think you want to be doing, they say.
But at this point do you still even want to be doing that thing? I didn’t.
I think you should consider this decision.
I don’t think you need to wait for people to stop asking for coffee or to stop pointing at ringing phones beckoning you to answer.
I think you can make a decision to be happier.
Maybe you already have.
Maybe you’re with me 100%. Maybe you walked away from a phone ringing for someone else. Maybe you’re on the same journey as me.
Maybe you’re in the coffee shop across town trying to put words to this very same thing.
Or maybe you’re standing across the street, outside this coffee shop, wondering if you should go inside and continue getting coffee for people.
I think this post if for all of you. I think this blog is for all of us. All you need do to belong is to decide that you want to change.
On a scale of one to oh-fer-chrissake how pretentious was this post? Tweet at me and let me know. @t0ph3rl. On the Twittahs.