I had been thinking about this blog for a long time but wasn’t able to focus on what it would be about or the benefit it would serve to my life (or to anybody else’s life for that matter). I had something of an epiphany in the shower today and I felt like The Disillusioned Overachiever was the perfect description of what I hope to experience and share in keeping this blog.
For lack of a more positive narrative, I am currently at what I hope is the nadir of my life. I graduated from business school last year and continue to struggle to figure out the next steps in my life. That is polite talk for: unemployed. I am 32– unmarried and childless. And due to my current situation, I am living at my parents’ house for the time being, a circumstance that brings with it daily humor as well as frustration.
As much as I know that this is a temporary thing, I feel a level of disappointment, ennui… maybe even a constant buzz of downright unhappiness. And I know that I’m not alone. In talking to friends, even those gainfully employed and in happy, secure relationships, there is a listlessness. A somberness. An overwhelming sense of low-level panic.
Some of it is the current economic situation and there is nothing that can be done about it. “Just ride it out” is the best advice. Some of it is the nature of getting older and hitting that age where you recognize a certain fragility, a humanity in your parents. My friends and I talk about this a lot– that we’re hitting an age where we aren’t able to care for our parents in addition to being unable to care for ourselves.
And I guess some of it is being old enough, educated enough to know that the pieces just don’t fit. The numbers don’t add up. Something doesn’t smell right. And with this comes a realization that everything that we’ve been told to work towards is perhaps something of a mirage. And without that guiding carrot, what motivation do we have for moving forward?
So is this blog going to be doomsday? I hope not. But it will be, I hope, a way for me to express my frustrations and provide some interesting content that others can relate to.
On that note, I will admit that I kept a blog during my two years of business school, much in the same idea as this one. I really struggled during bschool and used the blog as a source of venting as well as sharing my feelings and experiences– for my friends at home to see what I was up to and as a resource of sorts for those considering business school. I will be the first to admit that I went a little overboard during certain posts (that is polite talk for: I went cray-cray) and therefore was concerned that starting another blog might be a slick road to disaster. And considering I’m currently actively job searching, this may be a bad idea to be loose-lipped about my life, particularly about some of the jobs that I’ve held in the past.
So before starting, it’s helpful to have rules. These are my goals in keeping this blog:
1) Maintain anonymity: As you can see, I don’t name myself. I plan not to name others. And in my descriptions, I will be less focused on who people are and more on the impact of interactions. I am not saying that I will never name names (as there is at least one story I have in mind where the name is vital). But basically, I plan to follow the rules of libel and attempt to very much control myself.
In addition to anonymity with people, I plan on exercising some anonymity with places and events. At every job, you sign an NDA and I plan on respecting those legal agreements with those companies. However (and anybody correct me if I’m wrong), I do plan to name the bigger companies when they are relevant to my posts, but only if you can’t figure out what department I worked in, people I worked with. Also, you will get no trade secrets from this blog– for I was never important enough at any of my companies to be anywhere close to the action.
2) Focus on solutions: I often ping my friends to report on the sorry state of my life and, not surprisingly, I have received feedback that I am truly boring and/or a Debbie Downer. As much as I plan to write about things in my life, particularly not such happy things, my focus will be on identifying what sucks and then actively working to make it not suck. My hope is that you see that despite what may be less-than-ideal circumstances in my life, I do have hope and do work to make things better.
3) Be objective: I’m pretty analytical by nature and even more so after having finished business school. My aim in this is not to dissect experiences and concepts like a 14 year old schoolgirl (Why didn’t he call me last night? // Maybe a power line went down and he couldn’t!) but instead be as even keeled and level-headed as I can be in the moment. And when I might not be objective, to hold off writing a post. And if I fail to do that, post an apology or correction afterwards. And also, not to drink red wine while writing posts, no matter how deliciously soothing of an elixir it can be.
4) Be responsive: I was actually really surprised to hear that my bschool classmates read my blog. I naturally assumed everybody at school was busy partying and networking and having extramarital affairs. Had I known of this audience, I would have been really interested to know what they thought at the time in order to comment on the shared experience and not just the melody in my own head.
I don’t know if people will read this, if the stories will resonate… Who knows. But if people do start following this blog, I want to be receptive to their feedback and tailor my posts to what people tell me. I have set up an email address for this blog: firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t know if I will check it that often (but I really should now that I’ve shared it), but if you have something to share with me, I welcome the feedback and I will try to integrate people’s thoughts into my posts. Also, if you know me personally, feel free to send me a note via any of my personal email addresses, facebook, gchat, etc.
5) Be nice: So I am known in my circles for being exceedingly honest. Exceedingly critical. Smart. Snarky. Loyal (I hope?) I definitely consider myself a nice person… meaning nice thoughts circulate in my head. They just sometimes don’t quite make it out of my mouth or register in my facial expressions. So in this blog, I plan on being honest and critical and snarky… but I also promise to make the effort to give people benefit of the doubt. To not assume motivations or intentions unless I know them for a fact. To get past things and not dwell. Just generally try not to be an asshole and offend anyone in the process.
I think that’s it. Ok, and we’re off…
P.S. One of the things I liked about using Disillusioned Overachiever as my moniker, in addition to it being totally descriptive, is that the acronym is DOA which typically stands for “dead on arrival.” That is not a coincidence. I think DOA is appropriate b/c it is a descriptor to my generation which is a little bit Generation Y, maybe a little bit Millennial. If you’re 20 to 30 something (maybe even older), you know what I’m getting at. Talk more later.