Tag: post-PhD

A survivor’s tale

It’s only when you go through something you never thought you could ever go through and survive, that you can truly know what you are capable of.

Before that, you only have a faint notion of what you think you can manage, an assumption based on your confidence in yourself. This is a reflection post about the past few months when I came face to face with my own weaknesses and came out with knowledge of what I can and cannot do.

I never knew I could work 12 hour days, sleep for a maximum of 4 hours and get up and do it all over again. I never knew I had the capacity to stay human enough on the outside even though i was on autopilot. It is a wonder that I managed to dress up and look presentable enough for human standards…nothing too impressive but just enough to not attract unnecessary attention to myself. In other words, I did not become a  hobo, although the temptation was so great.

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Image from http://www.deviantart.com

The months between April to June 2019 showed me that I can work under extreme pressure while also realising that I am very task-oriented. If I have a task before me I will work on it until it is done before I can allow myself to rest. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing. I also learned that the human body will shut down on you if you do not give it rest, hence the 4 hours I allowed myself to sleep when I could. Some days it was less than that.

I also took for granted my ability to FOCUS. I still wonder how I was able to work on one thing for the past three years and I am happy that I managed to complete the project in  record time and survived to tell the tale. I  definitely had days of procrastination and days when I felt demotivated, but giving up was not an option. Now, if I could just apply the same energy and focus to certain aspects of my life, like relation…s, never mind.

The past season of my life has taught me a few good things about myself that I didn’t know before.  Of course, at the time I did not know that these were good things, I was simply going through the motions and actually hating my life. I remember tweeting this on one of those very difficult days:

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Well, now  I have my life back. I survived and I am looking back at the lessons I learned during that time. In summary, this is what I learned about life in my most hectic life phase and I hope this will encourage someone who is close to giving up:

  • You are definitely stronger than you think you are
  • This too shall pass, nothing is permanent
  • There are lessons in every season, your toughest season can become your testimony and might help one or two others
  • Your breakthrough is closer than you think, if you could just keep digging.

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In conclusion, I always like to give credit where it is due. None of my success in the past few months would have been possible without my God. There were times (many times) when I wanted to give up. There were countless times when I felt inadequate and felt that I did not know what I was doing, imposter syndrome anyone? But then there were those days when I would wake up with a random idea at 2 am in the morning and start typing. There were also days when I felt supernatural strength and a solid presence providing comfort during the dark days. God was with me every step of the way.  All glory goes to Him!!! I am capable only because He makes me ABLE. 

grayscale photography of hands waving
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com
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The career crossroad…

What do people consider when looking for a job? Is it more important that you have job satisfaction or that you are paid well? Or are you like most people thinking of a job in terms of survival and therefore, it is about the pay cheque and nothing more? Are you in a career that has growth potential or are you working a 9-5 job with no prospects?

Time
I took this picture myself while at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay…a little fun habit I have picked up to create a collection for my blog.

My time is running out and in four months I am facing another life transition, this time from graduate school back into full-time employment. I have started asking myself serious questions. I have been wondering whether I have the luxury to choose a satisfying work environment, doing what I am passionate about (working with children), choose the perfect location where I can thrive or I will be faced with taking the first job that comes my way? Is there such a thing as a perfect career choice for a new graduate? I feel like a new graduate even though I have years of work experience prior to coming back to university. This is because I might transition into a completely different career than the one I was doing. I will let you know what that is once I figure it out. I took my thoughts to Twitter the other day too:

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I know there are people who are experienced in this kind of thing and they make so much money giving people career advice. I am so sure that most of their clients are people who find themselves at crossroads like the one I am currently on. I feel worse because I have no clue what I want to do, so even doing a job search is tedious. I have to first figure out where I want to go, what job fits my skill set and what the next year of my life can possibly look like. That’s right, a year is as far as I can think right now.

I know from discussions with two people close to me that I am not the only one going through this. Some of my friends are starting to have these same questions early on because they are questioning whether what they are currently doing is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. I can imagine the situation is worse for my peers back home where unemployment rates are way too high to even consider options other than survival. You hear people encouraging youths to become entrepreneurs, but can we all become entrepreneurs? I am of the opinion that there are people who do well at starting and running their own businesses, but it is not for everyone.

So I pose this question to you guys, how did you decide what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? Did you know instinctively that was the right direction to go or you got some help? What can help in this process?

Maybe you can help me clear my head.

GG