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(Act) Like You Know — April 28, 2022

Stretching After a Career Hibernation

It’s been a minute since I’ve worked at a job where money was payment and not hugs, kisses and thank yous from my family. I stopped working “professionally” when I had my now 18-year-old son back in 2004. And now, after all of these years, I find myself once again at the same company that I worked for back before becoming a mom.

It’s the perfect job for me; part-time, flexible, and I get to work with some really great people. I’ve been at Sketchfolio for just over a year now. And while I love it, I am often questioning myself. Am I enough? Do I know what I am doing? Am I embarrassing myself by jumping back in after all of these years? Am I making an impact? Am I living up to expectations?

All of these questions start to creep into my mind, more frequently than I would like to admit. After all, I haven’t worked for 17 years! How am I supposed to feel comfortable and confident in my role? And in a weird time, when nothing in this world feels quite normal anymore, I guess the answer (that will probably be different next week) is that I’ll probably never feel perfectly comfortable…and that’s okay. I know I’m great at certain things, but also, that I have so much to learn. And while that can feel really overwhelming at times, I also see it as a good thing. If I don’t feel uncomfortable, am I even stretching myself, or growing, or learning?

I saw a LinkedIn commercial today and a line from it stood out to me. “Professional is ours to define.” Truthfully, even when I started working full-time right out of college, I never really considered myself a “professional.” I suppose it was because I was just starting out and didn’t have a great idea of what I really wanted to do in terms of a career. So, would I consider myself to be a “professional” now? Probably not. But I do think that being willing to learn, and in general getting better at the job, will help me eventually become more comfortable with the term. In general, I feel grateful to be working with teams that value my previous experiences, and see my value, especially on days when I begin to doubt myself. My hope is that by being more honest about our insecurities, we can help support each other, especially when our negative thoughts try to get the best of us.

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