Personal

A small celebration

I officially got promoted at work. To think: I’ve been at this job (my very first) since late April, and for some months now, I kept wondering about my prospects here—whether or not I entered into something where I couldn’t get a leadership position, and whether I’d be given more opportunities where I could truly be neck-deep in the learning process. I work for a start-up, a very small enterprise that has lasted five years doing corporate reports and collaterals, fleshed out over the past year as a sustainability communications agency. Now it is on the cusp of “growth”—which, to me, is another way of saying an opportunity to deepen one’s purpose. We’re practically only 12 people on the ground; I suppose my future, my own purpose at this company was never quite clear. I applied for a handful of jobs throughout the latter part of 2015 yet pushed though with hardly any of them—some were in news journalism, copywriting services, management consulting in the same industry. Maybe it’s fair enough to say that I went back to this job enough to know I am committed to it. I enjoy what I do, and I’m excited about what I’m about to do more. “Thank you for staying,” our CEO said to me.

I say this all the time; I could never have imagined any of it. Certainly not in the weeks after graduating from university—it’s enough for me to look back on my college years and realize that life, truly, is in constant flux. I don’t think I discovered something “more important” than poetry, but I also believe that it is worthwhile to stay. For one thing, it’s hard to imagine ever working with better people, especially my supervisors—they are among the most supportive, understanding, and honest people I know—and I’m so lucky being part of a good team. (The reality is that most businesses are shitty places to work in. That I can openly tell our Hong Kong consultant where I want to be in five years, that I can freely express myself to our CEO and my managing director—receiving genuine support and good advice in return—it’s more likely I won’t quite get that again.) As for financial worth: I once read something that went along the lines of, follow the principle that management will give you money if they wanted to. And I think it’s okay, too.

As Christmas rolls around in the next few days, the holidays will be a time for both celebration and reflection. Generally, and thankfully, much of my Christmas shopping has already been sorted, and I’m looking forward to all the downtime from work—by January, I’m expected to head two departments, and they say the first quarter of the year is always our busiest. And because this is the last time I want to think much of it: I spent a long time (for months, in fact) thinking about the gap between my corporate self and the literary world—only to realize how upsetting it is when someone discredits success when you have a normal job. I’ve had enough of that, that secretive, passive-aggressive judgment (coming also from oneself) that you’re not taking your craft seriously when you don’t fit into a mold. If poetry taught me anything, it’s that it’s possible to navigate contradiction, to attempt the things that are disparate, to lean into the discomfort. “It’s up to us to close the gap between rhetoric and reality,” I find myself remembering—in more ways than one.

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