And why I still feel guilty sometimes.
I worked hard to get to where I am today.
I graduated High School with a High School Diploma and an Associates's Degree. I decided to further my education and earned a Bachelor’s Degree within three years. I ended up majoring in Media Arts and Science with a concentration in Web Design and Development (originally I was going to double major in Psychology and Neuroscience).
Throughout my three years of college, I interned with three different companies — two of them only using WordPress. I worked a freelance job to create a website for a professor at the school I attended. To keep my student debt down, I obtained a work-study position on campus as well.
In no way shape or form am I complaining, but I am recognizing that I didn’t have it handed to me on a silver platter.
So why did I feel guilty about getting my first full-time web development position? Especially right out of college? After all, it was exactly what I had worked for.
I still didn’t feel like I deserved it.
While I had a job lined up to pay me more money than I or anyone around me ever seemed to have, many of my friends who graduated with me or even before me were still looking for a position in their field. What made me feel even worse was the fact that many of my friends from high school were still working at retail stores or fast-food restaurants.
Not to mention, we were, still are, (at the time of this article) in the midst of a pandemic.
I kept encouraging my friends who graduated with me to keep applying to jobs, however; the process of searching, applying, interviewing, and getting rejected by jobs is taxing.
Adjusting to working in a corporate setting where I was the youngest and one of the very few women was difficult for me though. I felt as if I had no one to talk to about my struggles at work. I had nothing in common with the people I worked with. On top of that, developers are often introverts and keep to themselves. I was only required to go into the office twice a week. The rest of the week, I worked from home.
I often refrained from even mentioning my ‘perfect’ situation. I’m sure the last thing my friends wanted to hear was how I was adjusting to the 9–5 corporate work life. Because at least I had a job.
The fact is that approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. Washington.edu
Despite whether I deserved my position or not, I still had it. Coming from a working-class family, I wasn’t going to squander my chances of living a middle-class life. Growing up, I had seen my parents struggle with money and I never wanted to have to deal with that.
I buckled down and did my absolute best, but I still felt out of place.
Feeling out of place was just a symptom of the notorious imposter syndrome. I felt as if the company that hired me was mistaken and would soon find out that my development skills were not what they thought they were. I had a huge irrational fear that I was going to be fired at any minute.
Obviously, none of this was true. The company that hired me understood the challenges of transitioning from college to working full time. The manager was incredibly understanding. Eventually, I started to feel like a part of the team, and feeling guilty wore off. It still comes and goes in waves whenever I visit my old friends that are still working cruddy jobs or when my code gets critiqued, but I remind myself in those moments that I did work hard to get to where I am and that in the end, it’s just a job.
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