How do we know if we are selling ourselves short?

Happy Thanks to be Given! :) I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving full of love, good food and family and friends. I was surrounded by friends, but I really missed home.

I apologize for the delay in getting out a new entry, but life here in NYC has been rough and hectic. We finally moved into our new apartment yesterday in Hamilton Heights, Harlem and I absolutely love it. Although, I didn’t rest much last night and I am not sure if it is because of our bed (Tempurpedic) or because our quiet neighborhood sprung to life at 10pm. Hmmm, not sure which one it might be. I’ve also had a hard time getting my mind to rest lately. I feel antsy and my brain will not stop talking to me. It drives me nuts.

This weekend was a bit rough. I have been thinking alot about my career and my future plans and what I want to do with my career. I should inform you all (all 6 of you) that I have decided to postpone the NYC Bar examination until this summer. By then, I will hunker down and get my studying in and conquer that S oh B. But, I was pretty sure that my plan after that was to just work for the Federal Government and take on pro-bono cases with immigration organizations in NYC. I feel confused and anxious, and uncertain about what I should do. A good friend of mine here in NYC, who is a Columbia Law 3L, was telling me that many of his friends and he might also be working with firms making $160,000 a year. As a matter of fact, most of his friends have already been signed into firms, and have a nice firm job lined up after graduation.

For some dumb reason, I became upset at this comment, and I wasn’t upset with him, but I just got really upset and started telling him about my plans after the bar. He put it correctly and said, “Jaz, you don’t have to justify it to me.” This caught me off guard, and I began to wonder if I was selling myself short with my J.D.? I also began to wonder if it was me who was doing it to myself or if it was other factors? When I think of the “other factors” I started to get more upset and blamed everything and anyone. I thought about how it isn’t fair and I don’t stand a chance in NYC firms because I come from dinky DU Law and not Columbia, Harvard, NYU or Yale. And I figured with that type of heavy clout to back your degree, you can pretty much work and do whatever you want. I blamed my stupid resume for stating that I was out of town, and that is why I didn’t get any of the firm jobs I applied to in NYC.

I just don’t know how to handle this weirdness right now, or what this will lead me to because I love my job. I love what I do at Governors Island and with the NPS because I am good at it and because I get paid well and I can climb ranks fairly quickly here. I also love it because it will pay off my student loans in 5 years. BAM! (And please, let’s not even talk about how rich I am in debt..6 figures…ouch!) But I love where I work. And to be completely honest, I don’t think I would be happy in a firm job, unless I was doing immigration work. And even then, I might be making the same amount of money as I am today. I didn’t go to law school to make money, but I do have to make ends meet with my 6 figure (school) debt.

I finally realized that I love what I do because I am comfortable in it. Is it what I thought I would be doing with my life? No, but it’s a means to an end. I realized I have no one to blame but myself because sometimes I am afraid to push myself that extra mile to get that extra effort in things that I know will be difficult and that I have a likelihood in failing at. I am scared to be a lawyer. The thought of it, scares the bejeesus out of me, and understanding this reality allowed to be aware of this fear and to make a remarkable effort to push through it. Or as Rosie Perez said, “You must push through your fear and into your greatness!” That will be my mantra for the next year, but I have to admit that saying it is easier than it sounds. In a weird way, I am scared of my potential, and I don’t know why I limit myself.

This still doesn’t really help answer the question as to what I want to do with my career, but I know that I need to stop doubting myself and my ability and really push through all those shades of crazy doubt. I know I am smart, there are just days when I feel that the Columbia kids are way smarter than me. I think we all have those days, and we have to remind ourselves that we are extraordinary beings capable of anything. If anything, I am fully aware of my fears and plan to work through them as best as I can.

I am not sure what my future holds for me, but so far, it has worked out well. I might end up in an immigration firm, or I might end up doing Diversity work for the parks and be the greatest Pro-Bono attorney in the nation. Who knows?
p.s. i inserted a pic of governors island, because i love this lil ghost town.

2 thoughts on “How do we know if we are selling ourselves short?

  1. A few things:1. Where you work is pretty awesome looking. I wish I had to take a boat to work everyday.2. I don't know much about Columbia students, except for what I see on Gossip Girl. And, if real life is anything like tv (which I'm almost positive it is) you have nothing to worry about!