Life from College to NYC

I’ve started this blog to document my journey to find some fulfillment and happiness in life. I am a 22 year old straight out of college, and of all places I could’ve moved to, I’m really not sure why I ever chose New York. It is possibly one of the most stressful cities one can move to. Well, I suppose I do know why I ended up here. The city is the heart of all jobs, especially jobs that pay. I came here with knot in my stomach though… one of uncertainty- about my career, about my life, and of whether I’d be ever be happy working in finance. And yet, because I’ve worked hard all my life, because I actually managed to get into Harvard, because my hard work actually paid off in letting me graduate at the top 10% of my class,  and because I actually managed to secure a job offer from a prestigious financial firm, I just couldn’t seem to turn down my job offer. It was decided then; I would come to New York and continue working hard and build up my career.

Part of me already knew what I was about to do wasn’t right for me. In a moment of panic, I tainted my spring semester of senior spring by frantically studying for the LSATs because I thought law school might be a way out of finance. Maybe I’d work in finance for a year or two, and then I’d go get a JD or a JD/MBA and open all sorts of doors for job opportunities. Although I still believe I’d be more interested in law than I am in crunching numbers from financial statements, I’m not quite sure a career in law would exactly lead to my feeling fulfilled either. My friends who know of my unhappiness will sometimes ask me why I ever went into finance. If I already had doubts about working in Wall Street, why did I ever move to NYC and accept a job in finance?

With a father who has only ever lived and breathed finance, my career path was somewhat drawn for me fairly early on. My parents wanted me to study Economics in college, and that I did. I’ve always been a good student, a good daughter… I’ve always been more concerned about pleasing those around me more than myself. And I enjoyed my concentration, though I don’t believe it was taught very well at my school. So I kept taking the courses, and I kept taking the internships. By the time I realized how much I hated what I was doing, I was about to enter senior year of college – too late to change my concentration, my resume, and hence career path. In fact, I even blogged about it last summer while I was completing an internship that made me completely miserable, but in another moment of panic, shut the blog down when I realized I still needed a job when I graduated and couldn’t have HR reading my blog by accident.   I wish I could say I learned from my summer of misery, but because I am extremely terrified of failure, of disappointing my parents, of disappointing my professors and former teachers, and because I had a resume that was overloaded with credentials that could only lead me to a desk job that involved numbers & analysis, I felt like I had no choice but to go right back into finance.

I wish I had the courage to completely turn my life upside down senior year and pursue something I loved, but I didn’t. Part of the problem was that I just wasn’t sure where my passion was. I knew I loved all things health, nutrition, & fitness related, but there also seems to have been a surge of women interested in those topics, and I wasn’t (and still am not) sure if I had just fallen into a fad. And it was hard for me to throw away everything I worked so hard for in exchange for something that I wasn’t even close to being certain about. I did try to open some doors for myself. I threw myself into dozens of LSAT books, foregoing several senior spring events in order to score well on an exam that I thought could provide a way out for me. I fought hard to try to find a way out, even if it wasn’t the most clever or most thought-out plan of action. At least I felt like I was doing something about my unhappiness.

The problem was that it all led me to feel extremely burnt out. By the time I finally took the LSATs in June (mind you, in the midst of graduating and moving my entire life down to New York), I was exhausted. I also only had 2 weeks to relax before my 7:15 AM – whenever job was about to start. That just wasn’t enough time for me to decompress… and then it all began.

I’ve tried to be positive about my situation, because in reality, many would consider my situation to be “living the dream”. I was fortunate to have parents who were able to set up a gorgeous apartment for me to live in; I was fortunate to have dozens of friends from both college and high school to be in the city as well; I was fortunate to meet the most wonderful boy only a few weeks after I moved into the city; I was fortunate to have a well-paying job during an economic downturn; there was and is a lot to be grateful about.

But at the end of the day, none of it is enough. I just feel drained… emotionally drained more than anything. I am in an unusual situation where I report to two bosses running 2 separate franchises, and as someone whose natural inclination is to please everyone…it’s been difficult for me. It doesn’t help that I am not at all interested in the type of work that I do either. My resume says that I am perfect for it, but my heart tells me to quit everyday. I’ve shed more tears than I can remember in the past few weeks and as hard as I try to be positive about my situation, it’s so hard.

I read an NY times article recently about a young woman in her twenties who was making her way up in the finance career world until one day… she went up to the roof of a building frighteningly close by where I live and jumped. She killed herself. Her colleagues and friends were all shocked. She had been doing well at her job; she had been involved in multiple philanthropic activities; she had a good heart. But it must’ve not been enough.

Stories like that frighten me. But they also make me realize how important happiness is too. I can’t always be consumed with pleasing others at the cost of my own happiness. I’ve worked so hard in life, and I believe I deserve to enjoy my life some too. I should be allowed to find something that will make me feel fulfilled, content, and just smile. This blog will be about my journey to find happiness…to love myself and to love my life. Maybe I won’t be able to switch jobs immediately, but I can at least work on getting where I want to be. I am also going to try and be less critical of myself and instead think in a way that can be more constructive towards getting to to where I want to be. I’ve realized that I am not alone in being unhappy with my  job and that I am also not a complete failure for being confused about life. I’ve always seemed “put together” to others and have always felt pressure to keep up this image, but I’m learning that it’s okay to not come off that way too. Why am I writing about this all, you may ask? Well, writing always makes me feel better…