At an early age, I remember my mom describing me as a perfectionist. And I really did not believe her, until she explained it by saying I often became too detail-oriented, especially when it came to getting projects accomplished on time versus done perfectly. I would linger until the last possible second, after often sitting around trying to perfect my concept, adding to a poster board, or editing the last few words of a paper I had stayed up all night typing. I often sacrificed timeliness for minute details. So 'perfectionist' didn't seem to quite cut it.
Procrastinator with an eye for detail, maybe?
Times have certainly changed since my elementary school homework habits, but I still have a hard believing I really fit the mold for the title of 'perfectionist.' And over time, and really getting to know myself, I came to the conclusion that my "talent" needed a different name.
Perfectionist didn't cut it.
Since graduating college in 2013, I have had an almost insatiable curiosity for something new. I have a habit of making a decision and going for it, and then quickly changing my mind or deciding on a new venture. One day, when I was thinking about the different places I've lived and jobs I've held, I added it up and I have moved at least once a year since I moved away for college in 2009. I have held 12 jobs (including internships), and almost all of them have been all over the board, in terms of different industries, roles, and responsibilities.
Once I graduated, I took a position at an incredible marketing agency in Seattle, moved back home, and was ready to begin my life post-grad. But almost immediately, there was an itch. And itch to go somewhere, live somewhere new, go travel. And this itch clearly wasn't going anywhere.
I remember sitting at my desk and thinking, "If this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life, I need to go do something different first." And so I kept my bosses up to date, and let them know my time at the company had an expiration date, I wasn't quite sure when, but probably by the end of the year. When I found an internship opportunity where I would not only be able to still do marketing work but also live in Guatemala, a country I'd fallen in love with during a trip in high school, I knew where I was headed.
Quitting my full-time, well-paying job with incredible co-workers, solid growth opportunities, and a killer location in the growing hub of South Lake Union, to move to a developing country and volunteer for a non-profit was probably the first time my "perfectionism" really changed my life.
In my mind, I wasn't ready to settle down, no matter how incredible the job was. So I needed to keep looking. After talking with so many of my peers who are currently miserable in their day jobs, I realize I had it pretty dang good! But I knew it wasn't for me, at least at that time in my life, and I needed to go find the missing link, or fulfill a lifelong dream, or just do something MORE before "real life" began.
But I think what all of this comes down to is my own search for "perfect." Everyone has it. It's that desire to follow our dreams, as instilled by our parents who wanted to give us the world. Our curiosity for the world outside our own, whether that's across the world or across town. Mine happened to be nearly 4,000 miles away.
For some, they might spend their life with this 'reach for the sky' mentality, and that will work for them. As for me, I've grown up and just become much more aware of the balance I need to maintain in my life. Whether it's when I am searching for the 'dream job' or 'dream life,' or dreaming about traveling the world again. I have to bring myself back into reality and recognize that if I do want to travel the world and explore new places, I will have to sacrifice a lot.
I don't think your dream job is impossible. I think it's realistic these days to want something more than your average job. But I think it's all about finding balance in honing your skillset and combining that with accomplishing your wildest dreams.
I have yet to attain either, and maybe I'm still a little high in the clouds for my own good. But I also have no clue if that means I am going to fail miserably or succeed wonderfully. All I know is I need to remain balanced while in pursuit of my dreams.
But at this point, I'm only 25 years old with a whole life ahead of me. And as everyone keeps telling me, I've got plenty of time to figure it out. Plenty of time to make mistakes, change jobs, find new skills and hobbies, change industries, and more than likely change locations a few times in the process.
So, perfectionist? Absolutely not.
I'm just curious, and way too stubborn to settle for mediocre.
*See the full post & connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/striving-perfection-mackenzie-weber?trk=prof-post