Since the beginning of 2012, I’ve fought a losing battle against sleep. I set my alarm clock twice a day: at 7 and 8 o’clock. I aspire to awaken with my early bird brethren at 7 but for about 80+ days, 8 o’clock has remained the undefeated, undisputed champion of my sleep cycle. Today was different. Today, my subconscious was full of vigor. My soul felt a special kind of inspiration to win the battle versus impossible odds. The rays of the sun broke through the blinds of my window with the force of a locomotive. The rays caressed the flesh of my countenance with both the love of a mother encouraging her child to start their school day right, and a father still groggy from an early wake, sternly ordering his son to get his ass up out the bed so he doesn’t miss basketball practice. I could hear Spike Lee and Lawrence Fishburn screaming at me to WAKE UP! Against all urges of sloth and malcontent, I abided by their word.
My eyes slowly opened and I looked outside. I saw clear blue skies and the aura of a beautiful spring day. The blare of the factory iPhone alarm tone echoed throughout my bedroom. I angrily slid the arrow from left to right in order to quiet my digital drill sergeant an attend to the order of the day. It was at this moment that despite the foggy and disoriented feelings after my slumber, that I realized the muse of my motivation. Was it that today was Friday, and all the fuckery and debauchery that accompanies weekend activities was upon us? Not quite. Was it that after a swindle of a winter, New York City finally started hitting its stride towards spring and sexy weather? Perhaps. Above all else, as the smile widened on my face, I realized that a chapter in my life was closing. Progress has been made and it was a time of celebration. Today, was my last day at work.
When I started this consulting gig almost five years ago, I felt a similar enthusiasm. I was done with my masters program, and was ready to finally begin a career in my field of study. I did my research thoroughly. Before LinkedIn, we utilized monster.com for our job searches. I was looking at new opportunities all year, and was coming up empty. Someone suggested that I hit the HR websites of different companies within the fortune 500 as my field was hiring. I obliged and stumbled upon my current company. I composed an email, expressing that I was graduating from Hofstra University and was looking for new opportunities. I enclosed my resume and instructed them to contact me if they had follow-up questions. 2 weeks later I received an email to set up a phone interview, and the rest is history.
As any wide-eyed new recruit, I had visions of ultimate success. I saw myself as a partner and a major player in this company. I knew my skill, my heart, my intelligence, and my determination would carry me to ultimate victory. I didn’t see anything that could get in my way. This is a pitfall that many new hires fail to avoid, and I was no different.
In my first year I found myself performing tasks that I didn’t associate with my job description. I don’t mean like interns who are treated like indentured servants. I mean tasks that were technically in my realm but weren’t specified when I accepted the position. For example, if I hire you as a basketball sports writer, but then have you cover football, you should be able to finagle the work because it’s sports writing but you may not be as versed in football. That was all me in my first year. I battled through that adversity, became a strong performer, and was well on my way to success.
There were good and bad times with this job. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I grew within this field and developed myself so that I could be marketable. There was a time where I thought I would never leave this place, but reality set in quicker than a hiccup.
Do you ever wonder why some people at your job seem so apathetic when you first start. They caution against optimism, decode company announcements to reveal reality, and are usually planning their exodus from the company. At first, I dismissed their feelings as sour grapes, and chalked it up to burnout. That wouldn’t be me right? Yet 5 years later, here I stand.
Time at a company will give you a unique perspective. When you experience company trends, policy, and the environment in which we operate, you develop that keen eye for truth. The magical veil is removed, and the wizard is discovered to be nothing more than a facade. This isn’t an indictment on company practices, but a truthful observation that occurs within everyone. It’s at this moment when you ask yourself the Usher Raymond million dollar question “should I leave? Should I stay? Should I goooo?” Whatever decision you make, be firm in it and remain without regret.
The best advice I ever received professional was the following: “You are in charge of your career. No one will care about your career path as much as you, so you need to own it and control its direction.” This quote has been proven true time and time again. No truer than in my current employment situation. It would be easy for me to write a vitriol laced blog full of bitterness against my former employer, as any of us could, but that’s not how I feel. I am truly blessed to have started my professional career at this firm. Change is constant and change is necessary in order to evolve. When you perform at a high level, and those that measure your performance deem you high level “good, but not great”, then there is an issue with either them or you. When you see colleagues at the same level, same performance output, and same body of work get those accolades ahead of you, than there is an issue with “them”. You have to be honest and look yourself in the mirror and ask if you are the rock star you claim to be, and if your reflection cosigns, than you need to evaluate your options.
I bared witness to good friends and colleagues getting promoted ahead of me, rated higher, and acclaimed more, and I saw it consistently. There was no need for me to hate, but to evaluate. I looked and saw an inconsistency that was birthed out of corporate restructuring, apathy from those who should steer your career, and not being invited to certain cool tables. I would sing my struggle inspired ballads of disrespect to coworkers who would look shocked. They would say that for someone with the reputation I had at this company, to not have it reflect in performance and salary was a travesty. It was then that I knew my time to move on was now!
So I sit here, typing this last blog from my work laptop, that has seen classic blogs written for SBM, NecoleBitchie, Hip-Hop Wired, Nerd, and others, and I reflect with a smile. I went from college graduate with potential to a true professional. These halls of my NYC headquarters help mold me and guide me, through experience. As I walk out of the doors for the final time, the sun, brilliantly shining upon me, alludes to a change in seasons. I change professionally, along with these seasons, in hopes of brighter days, warmer feelings, and fertile coffers filled with the presidents of America’s past. I look towards my new and exciting opportunity with wide eyes and naivety, just like 5 years ago when I first started here. Only now I approach this new path in my career with wisdom, business savvy, and the joy of leaving on my own terms… on my own two feet.
Wishing everyone the best in their future endeavors,
Editor’s Note: I know I haven’t posted here in a while. I know that I’ve started this sentence a million times, too. I’ve been busy with this career move and developing the SBM conglomerate to new and exciting heights. It’s time to return to my personal blog. This will be the last blog here under the current design. I’m going to drop a new design within the next two weeks. From there, my posts will be more frequent. I will explain the new direction of Streetztalk.net when I present the new design. Thank you for your support of my writing and those that support me in real life. I’ll do my best to not neglect anymore.