Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's in a name, a title, a number?

I don't often spill much of my personal life onto these pages, often times because there is too much running related to talk about, but I also am of the belief that personal life is personal for a reason. I still have trouble accepting the direction that our society is going with all this over sharing (this coming from a self admitting twitter addict...) and the fact that so many people have access to so much information on the internet.

But the other day (ok yesterday to be exact) something happened at work that made me draw a parallel to the lessons I have been learning as a runner. I always love those moments when life and running come together and you realize you learn the same lessons throughout life that apply to multiple situations and help you become a better person.

Now I love my job, and when I say that I mean I love what I do every day. I may not always like certain aspects of what it means to be in the fashion industry, or being part of a corporate environment, but I like being a technical designer. I love working out patterns, and learning about the fit of garments. It's actually fascinating to know so many intricacies about something most people don't even know exist or take for granted. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else (unless that something else was coaching running, or working as a personal trainer. . . anyone want to hire me?). But I also know that your success in your career does't just depend on how hard you work or driven or dedicated you are, it depends on how much the people above you want to see you grow. Why someone would hold you down is beyond me, but I know it happens. And unfortunately I had to go through a year of my career where I more or less felt like I was left to fend for myself with no direction (and this is my opinion).

A year later, many departmental shifts and some staffing changes later, I am finally learning and enjoying my job more than ever instead of wanting to pull my hair out by the fist full before 10am. And just like you can train for months for a PR and miss my mere seconds, I have been working very hard for the past year to move forward, only to fall short of my goal.

I went through the typical emotions, anger, resentment, dissapointment etc. until I started to wonder what was more important to me, a title that said I was smart, or knowing that I have learned an immense amount in the past year and that I have a very technical job and I should be proud of my growth. Why does a title mater so much? So that everyone else knows I am smart, something I already know? And then it hit me, this was the EXACT debate I have with myself after ever race that doesn't result in a PR. Every race where I have to go into work the next day and when people ask me how I did, I try my best to explain that it was a well run race but I did not run my best time. But I know better than that. I know that through every race I have run this year my skills as a runner are getting stronger. I am learning even pacing, better training, better recovery, and with that will eventually come better times. Life requires a lot of patience, something I do not have a whole lot of, and along the way it should be your experiences that mark your growth and success, not the titles you have. I may not have the "right" job title, but I love my job. I may not have the "best" race PR, but I love racing. And on top of all that I have figured out how to have a really great relationship with Boyfriend, and make sure each area of my life gets the attention it deserves. Maybe if I only had one thing in life to focus on, I could be perfect at that one thing, but wouldn't that be just a little bit boring, not to mention lonely?

It would seem that we are a society obsessed with labels. So the question is what do YOU value more, the skills you have, or the titles and times associated with them?

xx Sara

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