One of the things I've been trying to accept is that I'm not where I thought I would be professionally, and, honestly, I have little hope of that changing anytime soon. I've temporarily given up on finding anything in my chosen field and I'm working in an entry-level call center position. And I'm struggling with it. I'm struggling with adjusting to the job, and I'm mentally struggling with the fact that this job feels like a disappointment. Most days I'm able to deal with it, but then it gets brought up to the surface easily. Over lunch with a coworker one day recently, she asked if I had thought about going to school. I told her about the short version of how I went to school, got a degree, and still wound up there. I played it off as "Yup, the economy sucks, things happen" but inside it left me feeling like a failure all over again. All through high school and most of college, especially once I came to my senses and changed my major to one that felt like the natural choice for me, I was the stellar student - the overachiever - the success story. Now, just over a year later, I'm in a job where none of that matters. Yes, it's a step up from waiting tables, but its still not where I expected to be.
I'm not just having issues with the difference between where I am and where I expected to be, but some of the specifics of the job as well. I do like to have people around, but I don't like constant contact with a stream of strangers. I need a break from people sometimes, and I do prefer to work with people I know. Taking calls from 40-60 different people per day is probably not the best fit for me. If I eventually move up, I can move into positions where I would handle fewer calls or even have more of my interactions be internal calls. If that were the case, it still wouldn't really be ideal for my personality, but at least I'd be interacting mostly with people who were on the same page.
One thing that I did set out to do, was help people. I may not be doing that in the most earth-shattering way right now, but I do get a good feeling when I find a way to save someone money, or solve their concern. I don't make everyone's day, but I'm glad when I can leave someone happy. It helps to boost me back up from the mental drain of constant interaction with so many different people.
I have to keep telling myself that it will get better. Life is full of curveballs. I have no idea where I'll be in five years. I have to look to posts like this one by Maddie of A Practical Wedding for a reminder that no matter how good your prospects may look early, life can be full of twists and turns. Early highs provide experiences to fall back on, but they don't guarantee anything. Even looking in my own family I see that some people followed a clear, logical career trajectory and others have taken a less direct route. The important part is that I keep looking for the bright side and take opportunities as they come. I realize that I can't have everything all at once, but I'm not going to feel sorry for myself just because life isn't the way I want it to be right now.