Your career isn't everything.
It is a lot of things, but it isn't everything.
I think this is something I wish I had learned a lot earlier in life. I take my academic and professional career seriously. I am always looking for new experiences and resume builders, trying to network, and making new connections. This is important, I know, but sometimes I am so focused on that, that I forget to develop myself personally.
This is one of the ways that I develop myself personally. I appreciate the chance to broadcast my thoughts to the people who read my articles (I appreciate you too!). However, I still see the difference between my professional identity and my personal identity.
For any future employers that may be reading, don't fear, I am quite well rounded! I write these articles, I have a love for crafting (I've made my own rug!), I enjoy writing poetry and short stories, and I love to volunteer. There is so much more to me than just my professional life and so much more to me than just my personal life. I am both of them combined, but balanced.
But as I said before, when it comes to talk about my professional identity, I can speak about myself for some time. I assure you, not in a bragging type of manner, but in that I know how to respond to questions about my professional development. But, when people ask me what I enjoy doing, sometimes it's difficult for me to come up with a response. The things I mentioned before I love doing and I'm not sure why they don't roll off my tongue. Well, actually I do.
If I think about it, there has always been a serious emphasis on my professional development. When I was growing up (not that I'm not still growing...), my aunt Marlene (who happens to be Dr. Joy's mom!) would always say, "People judge you on the way you dress, the way you walk, and the way you talk!!" It's completely true and in that order as well! My parents, especially my Dad, used to insist that my siblings and I be careful about what we post on social media, because employers look at that to help determine who I am. (To all potential employers, I hope you enjoy the jokes I retweet as much as I do!)
I have spent years cultivating my professional life, making sure that whether offline or online, I am presenting who I am in the best way possible. As I go through college, I'm beginning to realize that I should do that more with my personal life as well.
So what in the world are you trying to tell us, Cassia? What should we get from this? I'm trying to tell you not to let the focus you place on your professional development to hinder your personal development. Explore hobbies, join clubs, meet new people, take (calculated) risks, and enjoy yourself. When you come home from your future job, you want to have something that you like doing to help you unwind. I'm trying to tell you that your personal life is important too.
Take care of yourselves! Until next week.
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Women of the African Diaspora writing for the empowerment of the next generation.