Lately I’ve been learning an important life lesson. Well, several actually. First, I’m learning Adam’s advice of “you’re not hired until there’s a signed contract” first-hand, and learning that it actually happens frequently and not “that kind of thing happens to someone else.” Since leaving safe little nest of high school, I’ve had trouble accepting the idea that the world is full of people who rate getting ahead of each other as a higher priority than getting along, and it’s gotten me into scrapes and confusion plenty of times. Not least because I was unhappy just by having so little grasp of what was going on in my peers’ heads.
Ahhh New York. Very different from the slower-paced Midwest.
Anyway, I forgot myself, and didn’t think about the idea that just because the German company was enthusiastic about me meant they actually would hire me. Practical considerations made it necessary for them to ultimately think of themselves and their business.
Which brings me to the second life lesson:
People have better things to do than wait around for me, and are probably doing them, not being annoyed that I’m taking so god damn long deciding. I didn’t find as much acceptance in college as I had hoped for, and now being liked has become more a higher priority than it should be. Therefore, I’ve become vulnerable to something called “peer pressure.” It teaches you you’re inconveniencing the people around you when you really aren’t, whether it’s about where you sit or deciding when you’re going to Europe.
So I thought I had to force myself into a decision for the other people (instead of doing it for myself), and ended up doing a terrible job of it. For one thing, don’t burn the boats behind you if you haven’t actually gotten to dry land yet.
The whole reason I was having so much trouble deciding on a course was that the last time I made one of these major life decisions, I feel like I screwed it up. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do, exactly how awesome it would be, and within a few months of starting, it was sinking in that I may have made a big mistake. My mom assures me that I couldn’t have known it would turn out that way, but part of me is sure that if I’d only thought about it more, somehow I could have known and avoided making the mistake.
So when it came time to decide between two (reasonably good) balanced options, I agonized and pondered, and was ultimately paralyzed by the fear of failure. And somehow, with what I can only think are very 1337 skillz, I managed to screw up both options. Luckily that’s not the end of the story, but the two options I was deciding between both kind of got scrapped and now I’m looking at other offers… Ones that may turn out to be better in the end.
Occasionally I play the Sims. Periodically during my Sim’s career, a box pops up with a little story about, for example, my scientific invention and do I plug this silly widget in here or this other place. I get two options, Here, or Other Place, and the story offers no hints between them. It’s perfectly balanced, and I have no way of knowing which it is. And that decision is the difference between my character losing their job and starting over from the bottom, or a promotion all the way to the top. I usually try to remember to save right before the character goes to work, so I can go back to the save if I screw up.
It never occurred to me that this was supposed to be a life lesson in coming to terms with the results of your decisions.