For my first job interview, the employer asked me what I disliked in life, question I quickly gave an answer to. I, unsurprisingly, didn’t get the job.
I’m a constructive criticism advocate — or at least I try to. During my Art School years, I expected feedback from my projects when I presented them; real insights come from the outside. My way to show myself as willing to get my work roasted was roasting other people’s projects, or at least that’s how I made some of my classmates think about me. At the time, I didn’t know I was acting like that. But now, I see how my self-righteousness may have gotten between me and my academic life.
Lessons on assertiveness aside, I recently started noticing how positive of a role some people play in my life. I began appreciating the energy of those who can make anyone feel welcome. Like, you can’t help but being around them all the time. Such people make me laugh and smile, but more importantly, they inspire me to check myself.
It’s through experiences like these that I start questioning how I’m relating to others so I can be more deliberate about it in the future. It’s easy for me to shrink into my social bubble and intensify the circle-jerking as soon as I get confident. And, I won’t lie, being surrounded by like-minded people could be fun and usually makes me feel safe. But often, that safety turns away the best part of risk and challenge: learning.
Learning is what keeps gathering new experiences exciting. Of course, this is true when talking about the people who end up staying in my life for long and for good, but also when I encounter a random stranger during my commute and ask for the time. Every person I meet presents me an opportunity to learn from them and, ultimately, learn about myself.
Paying attention to what others say not only widens my perspective about my own opinions but also reveals the reasons behind their thought process. I’ve found out my parents, my friends, my peers and my clients are all, in their own ways, right. Learning became easier once I realized everyone is trying to make up for their own truth.
All this might look obvious in hindsight, but it didn’t use to. I, pragmatic in nature, wanted to trust my sources, my experiences, my ways. And that makes sense. But my words, my craft and my knowledge do nothing if they don’t relate to the ones surrounding me.
This week I started on a full-time position as a Graphic Designer; coincidentally, at the same company that interviewed me around 3 years ago. And I just can’t wait to try what’s not supposed to work.