March 31, 2011

Moving on Up

Though I did not mend a mumu this week (I am a bit jealous, Heather), things are good for me in the world of work as well. On Tuesday I moved into a cube with a window! While that may not sound exciting, natural light is a coveted commodity in downtown Washington DC: This fun change has caused me to think a little bit about my career path and the paths of my friends. I thought I might share a few thoughts for those of you just starting out on that journey. Many LDS single women hit a point when their plan to, let's say - finish school, maaybe work for a few months or year at a low-level job (though not bottom-of-the-barrel) followed by a smooth transition into the world of being a stay-at-home mom, does not quite come together. When that plan doesn't pan out, one can either choose to move from one job (that barely meets the needs) to another in a state of denial and/or anxiety, or embrace the opportunities given and enjoy life.

I remember in high school having a feeling that I would probably go out into the working world for a season. I rejected that feeling. To be honest I thought embracing that potentiality would be a way of rejecting the greater obligation I had to home and family, something I wanted. My fears kept advising me that I could only choose one. If I chose to be excited about going out into the world on my own for a bit I somehow imagined that my role in the family would be given over to another girl, you know a sweet sister sitting somewhere crocheting in a flowery knit dress. (Ok, maybe not that bad, but I imagined something very dramatic.) I now believe differently. I believe that was the Spirit trying to prepare me to enjoy and embrace my own personal path, though I would not meet the guy for me right away. I've had so many beautiful opportunities over the years, but I regret not starting to think about a wide range of exciting plans right at that very moment.

We'll post about the how-to's of getting a job in the future, but for now I'd like to offer a couple of pieces of advice:

  • You can do this. I started out on my journey with very little. I had no parental help for college and had no idea what kinds of jobs even existed. Though I felt confident in certain areas, I did not feel confident that I could get a good job. One of the first things I learned in the working world is that if you are half alive, and willing to do some work - YOU are as competent as the next guy. Seriously.

  • Take risks. Others will give you all kinds of very safe advice, some of which is wise. Be advised though some advice, though well-meant, will potentially hold you back in your personal progress. When you're single you don't have the same practical concerns as you would in a family. Take a few risks, even if you have a failure or two the learning experiences will be invaluable. When embarking upon a risk Heather and I used to remind each other that if worse came to worse we could get a job at Burger King and pay our bills just fine.

  • Tell God what you need and would like. He is so generous. This has been the key for so many of my friends. I remember once telling Heavenly Father that I just really needed/wanted to make more money. I wanted to move into the financial world of an adult. True story - within one week my salary was doubled. While answers come in different ways at different times, be open to really sharing your heart, needs and desires with him. Even if that desire is just to live in an area where you'll have good friends, or to get a job that you enjoy, he'll help you. I think there is very little we can't achieve with God's help. Have faith in his good character.

  • Figure out how successful people have done it. This is the true way to cut corners. If you have always been interested in, let's say, fashion - find out through study or contacts how the best people in the field got to where they are. Take on a world class mentor or move to a city where you can get involved. Be honest about some of your most exciting desires and move forward! Start thinking about what you would absolutely love to do and begin on the path.

  • Get started today. Don't wait around for THE perfect job or THE perfect plan. You won't likely end up revolutionizing the world of politics in a day but you will be surprised as you get out there, and put in an honest day's work, how quickly exciting opportunities will open up to you.
Your path is your own. It's personal to you and Heavenly Father is with you. I like this way of saying it, "Our lives are the creation of Providence in response to our efforts." With God's grace we can grow beyond our expectations in these years. xo! Liz


  1. i'm so glad that neither you or heather work at burger king. i've always said that they are at the bottom of the fast food-food chain.

    and good work on getting a window. seriously, that is a big step up in the dc office world. you'd better take advantage and fill that window with some pretty potted plants.

  2. Haha! I love your fast food chain hierarchy! I thought McDonald's was on the bottom but when I was in Milan I experienced the McCafe. Subsequently, BK may have hit the bottom for me as well.

    Thanks, Elle!

  3. Liz, this is great insight! I love following your blog!

  4. Aww, thanks, Meredith!! I hope your job search is going really well!

  5. Congrats Liz! Whose office did you inherit?

  6. Liz, great post! For a girl who often needs reassurance in her career-ial success, these are the words I love to hear. i especially love the BK reference, which reminds me of the time I used to joke that Mark was the GM of our neighborhood Arby's. Atleast we've always got Arbys. :)

  7. Thanks, Marci! I'm over in what used to be RPD, and is now the Strategy Office. No job change though, just a little less noise and a lot more light. Let me know if you ever want to come back, I hear there's a cube open :).

    Jules, thank you ma'am! Haha! Not bad, Arbys is WAY up there on the fast food hierarchy in my book (mostly due to the Cordon Bleu). You could do worse, you could really do worse.