So this year (all 7 days of it) have brought a new challenge for me, which I knew was coming for years, but didn’t quite know how to prepare for. I’m about to turn 30 and that is like the end of the world for me. In fact I’ve prayed and prayed that I wouldn’t make it to 30 so I wouldn’t have to figure out how to handle this age, but I’m almost there so I better figure it out!
So I asked myself “Why do you hate 30?”. I know 30 isn’t old, but I will admit that spending so much time doing college recruiting and making offers to kids that were born in 1994 has me feeling older than I am. 30 is fine I guess. It’s weird to think after Sunday I can’t say I’m in my twenties anymore…. But 30 hasn’t DONE anything to me. I mean, I don’t look different (yet). I’m alright. What could it be?
As I sit here in my betty boop pajamas, listening to the spice girls channel on my Pandora radio, I’m thinking back to those tween years where I listened to open house party every weekend and my biggest concern was whether or not I had the right Skechers and JNCO jeans. I try to remember what I wanted to do with my life at that age. I wanted to do something, right? I did. I wanted to be an independent, grown up and have my own place and an important job.
I was getting lost in remembering all of my other terrible fashion decisions when Christina Aguilera popped up on the Pandora. That takes me back to the teenage years when TRL was part of my daily schedule and I knew every dance to every pop video played. What did I want to do with
my life then? Move out. Work hard. Make money. Pay bills. Go to college. Be a cool mature college kid. Ha!
Do you know what happened? I did work hard. I held down two jobs in high school and took college courses at night. I paid some of my own bills, spent the rest of my money on other junk. Went to college, but didn’t go to class (remember how I’m in college again now?). Not only did I move out, but I moved around. When I landed in Alabama I thought I’d finish college and go ahead and get my career rolling. Then my 22nd birthday rolled around and I remember crying at work when my friend came upstairs to my office to bring me a birthday gift (because I didn’t want to acknowledge my birthday that year). She’s older than me so she thought I was crazy, but I told her I thought I would be doing so much more at 22 than what I was doing. I wanted to do something big, I just never made a plan. Funny though, I buckled down after that birthday and worked my tail off to do something that no one else in the company had done at my age.
That seemed to satisfy me for a while, but here I sit a few days before 30 wondering where my life has gone and why I’m only doing what I’m doing. I’ve been fairly dramatic about how far behind I am right now compared to where I think I should be, but the cold hard truth is I didn’t plan for it. I had goals, in my head, or so I thought. I have this bad habit of not sitting down and thinking about how to get to the finish line. Too often I put my head down and push through, I just keep working until it’s done and then I come up for air. Even when I run I tell myself over and over “run through the finish line, not to the finish line.” While that’s appropriate for running, it’s not always appropriate for my day job, or the rest of my life. Sometimes I have to stop and make a plan. I have to stop and make sure my expectations are realistic. I need to really ask myself “where do you want to be, and what is it going to take to get there?”
A while back I text one of my former employees, the one I knew would be 1000% honest and not worry about hurting my feelings, and asked her for 1 thing I did really well as a manager. Her answer was awesome (I’ll cover it in another post)! I was thrilled about it, but I knew I had to ask the next question. What was I really bad at as a manager? She told me acceptance. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by that, but thanked her anyway. Today I know. I have to accept that I didn’t do what I thought I was going to do by now, but I can’t go back and change that. I can only move forward, sometimes failing and sometimes not. I have to remember failing is moving forward if I allow it to be. I have to accept that some people are always going to work the way they work or respond the way they do. I have to accept that not everyone’s best work is as good as my best work. I have to accept that sometimes my co-workers won’t have the same goals I have. I have to accept that some employees can’t be helped. I have to accept some things as fact and not let them derail me from everything else.
So what does this have to do with an HR blog? Well, it doesn’t HAVE to have anything to do with an HR blog because I’m an independent, almost 30 year old, awesome business person that can write whatever she wants! BUT I’ll give you what you came here for: What are you doing to help your folks plan to reach their goals? I see a lot of stuff about goal setting, metrics, performance appraisals, etc. and not enough substance about how your employee is going to get there. Just because your employee knows what their goal is doesn’t mean they know how to get there. How about we make sure they know what it’s going to take to get there. How about making sure that the meeting about goals and appraisals is more than a meeting to check off our yearly task list. What if we used that meeting to make a plan to reach the goal, a plan to satisfy the metrics? I think we also need to make sure everyone is being realistic, without crushing anyone’s ambition. That can be a fine line, but I think it’s important.