Identity and Development: Surviving My Professional Crossover

Identity and Development: Surving a professional "crossover"

Fall 2015 is waiting for the gun to go off. I keep finding myself hashtagging #fall2015 more than usual. I’m stoked for it. This is the first time I’ve ever started a new semester without some heavy weight on my back (both when I was a student and as a professor). Today, I’ve got my ducks in a row, and I’m reaping the benefits.

Aside: I’d like to note that I wrote this little piece initially for my other blog, productiveprofessor.wordpress.com, but once my fiancé finished reading it, he said, “This would be good for pinkcurlers too!” So, here it is. I hope you find this post fruitful and enjoyable as well.

What you have to understand is that after high school I belly flopped into independence–which was fantastic, but choppy. I worked so hard in food and beverage service. My feet would hurt (as in “I need advil right now because even with my feet up I can feel the throbbing of my blood pumping”) for about six hours before becoming normal again after double shifts.

But, every month I had my rent on time even if it meant living on two dollars for two days. I smiled so hard for all those patrons, carried scary-heavy treys of drinks with one hand, counted change, laughed at bad jokes I had already heard, swept the sticky straw wrappers and broken tortilla chips. I strategized for more tips at every table or bar stool. Each table or sad man at the bar carried the potential for the best tip of the day. I knew how to work a table without losing my dignity.

Identity and Personal Development: On Surviving a Professionaol Crossover

Renowned actress, Jessica Lange, conveys an exemplary attitudinal transition into a professional career, with a nice dose of confidence and healthy nostalgia

I can pour a perfect beer. I know how to get rid of fruit flies. How to text inside my apron. How to run back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and then, back and forth. (Side note: I somehow managed in my 8 year long career in food service to avoid opening a champagne bottle–it terrifies me).

Today, work is not abusive. I have my own office space. Men can’t make you flirt with them, and women don’t try to screw up your head. Your money goes to the bank, instead of on your lap when you’re driving home or clutching the little stack in the parking lot after a shift, all the while, never forgetting that waitresses carrying their own hard earned cash are prey for night robberies.

This Fall 2015, I have a right to be the master of my own designs. I can share. I can listen. I can help. I have a right to not pick up the empty Splenda packets scattered around the coffee machine. I’m now organizing and preparing for this fall with one thing on my mind: the life of this semester. (I sound like a college kid myself). There’s no trying to sell old watches on e-bay or watching Anne Sexton on YouTube on the floor of my sofa-less apartment; it’s now my own desk and shelves, my business cards stacked neatly under a shell, a break for lunch, water, neon paper clips and fresh face students (they’re like the best blueberries in the basket). I found the perfect binder, the perfect textbook for the class, (The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing), a nice smelly thing for my office and a cool book called, The Wave. 

Identity and Development: Surviving a Professional Crossover

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.”  –Carl Rogers

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”  —Aristotle

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