It’s an honor to be able to share my insecurities with everyone. When Levo asked me to write about the concerns women have during the beginning stages of their careers, I was ecstatic because “what’s the maximum word count on this?” For me, second-guessing and over-analyzing come packaged right next to the fallopian tubes. No matter how confident, intelligent, or competent you actually are, this feeling may be hard to shake. In response to past articles, it is evident that “Fears of a New Graduate” and “What It Actually Feels Like To Be 23 and Living at Home”—If you’re a woman in your twenties who is just starting out your career, I’m willing to bet that you understand the concern and stress that comes with this life change. You are far from alone in feeling this way, as I’ve talked to numerous other women who feel similarly.
- You actually know nothing and are constantly on the verge of being found out.
I have had impostor syndrome for a long time. According to my head, I am an intelligent, educated, hard-working individual who can solve any problem that arises. I start to feel nervous when my stomach tells me, “YOU KNOW LITERALLY NOTHING. What are you even doing here?!” It’s normal to feel this way at the beginning of your career since there is always a chance that someone will think you know more than you do or give you a project that’s too difficult. Here’s a useful tip for you!: That’s something that happens often. When you’re curious and want to learn more, your head does the thinking for you and helps you figure things out.
- You will never be able to negotiate and ultimately cheat yourself out of thousands of dollars.
If you didn’t haggle over your first job proposal after college, chances are high that you’re worrying about how this will affect the rest of your career and finances negatively. According to data, only 21% of women do negotiate their first offer out of college. Though it may seem like a daunting task to negotiate, it’s crucial in order to avoid being taken advantage of later on down the line. Congrats on receiving your first job offer! Before you accept, though, it’s imperative that you negotiate. And don’t worry if you didn’t – portfolios are a marathon, not a sprint. You have plenty of time to get into the negotiating game. Luckily, Levo has all the right tools to help set you up for success.
- You’ve already made all the wrong choices.
Every choice you have made about your education and career thus far may seem wrong, but that does not mean it is. The next time you find yourself in doubt, run to your best friend and let her slap some sense into you—but do it lovingly, of course. Even if what you really want is a complete change in your chosen career path, that’s okay. Remember that there’s always time for making major decisions like these. You’re not condemned to be a construction manager forever!
- You’ll never have a close group of friends again.
College is one of those things that people always tell you about as if it’s supposed to be comforting, but it seldom is—” These are the best friends you’ll ever have.” I cherish my college friends, but the prospect of never making another equally great friendship as an adult is daunting. That said when you’re eating lunch by yourself at your desk for the first few months of your exhilarating new career…You may feel alone at first, but if you put in the effort, I promise you won’t be like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation forever. It’s definitely tougher to make friends in an office environment than in a college dorm, but if you make an effort, you’ll find your people eventually.
- You’re not doing enough.
Even with a packed slate of responsibilities–a full-time job, two freelance gigs, volunteering at your high school, and being on the committee for three different professional organizations–it still doesn’t feel like enough. It’s only natural to want to crack on and build up some momentum early in our careers. However, it’s important that we don’t exhaust ourselves too much or try to do everything all at once. As Kate White – former EIC of Cosmo and all-around massively successful woman – told me recently: “Think of yourself as a serial achiever.” Relax, there’s no need to rush. You have all the time you need to achieve everything on your list. In fact, it would be counterproductive to try and do too much at once. You’re already doing a great job, so take some time for yourself!
It can be tough to relax, but no one is worse at it than me. If we all make a commitment to take it easy, though, we’ll get better results. Beating yourself up rarely leads to anything good – trust your abilities and give yourself some credit.
Photo: Life of Pix