On Being a Professional…and Sometimes a Brat

At 32, I occasionally have to remind myself that I am no longer a young adult… I’m full-fledged and all, even though I often get mistaken for a college student (which is nice at times—if you look young, people expect less of you. I can deal with the condescension I sometimes get at work because I realize the benefits).

I’ll admit I also generally aim to choose the easy road with the highest yielding results. I am in the 1+% of Americans who holds a PhD, so I also know how to work hard. Β I worked my ass off for the degree, and then worked even harder to pay off my $30K student loan in 7 months. I’m proud of that. The question now is…what do I do with it?

My friend Catie and I have called ourselves “Quitters” since college—we come up with ideas, try them, and then quit. The thing is, if I never try anything I won’t know if I actually want to do it, and if I stay committed to things I end up not liking, I’m wasting time. I actually recommend the Trial and Error method in wellness too—try things, and if they don’t work…try something else!

Last night, I went to a Christmas Re-gift party, where the requirements for coming were to bring 2-3 wrapped cast-off gifts and to have a crazy hair-do. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures. Also, unfortunately, I first opened a three pack of Celine Dion perfume, but then the 92 year-old grandma who was there took it from me and gave me some Hallmark candles. Meh.

In the end, I went home with a few candles, a Santa figurine, and a Sephora hair turban. I got rid of two photo albums, a book, some random fitness equipment, a 2-quart slow cooker, and some potpourri. Yes–the re-gift party is a junk exchange, but my friends do it every year, and it’s fun and pee-your-pants funny.

I took this:

Hummus plus tomato, cukes, olives and feta cheese...with Stacy's pita chips. I also sprinkled hemp seeds on it. Sometimes we eat this for dinner...
Choco-Coffee Energy Smoothie! 8oz coffee (brewed), 2 tbsp maca, 2 tbsp sweetener (I used Xylosweet but you could use sugar or whatever you want, to taste), 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla, 10 ice cubes. Blend. Awesome! It makes about twice the amount shown here.
It's Time Again: Grow Microgreens--I got some new zesty seeds. I'm also going to culture some veggies.
I went to the gym looking like this again. I'm not (too) vain, but it is time for new gym clothes.

Why did I call myself a Sometimes Brat in this post? Because I try things and then quit and I am particular about what things I buy, wear, and eat. It can sometimes come across as bratty, but I hope that I’m striking a balance between advocating for myself and my wants, and not infringing on other people’s lives.

I just quit a position I held as a board member on a local co-op’s board of directors. It made me feel guilty and bratty when I quit, but it did not fit for me—it was all policy governance and balance sheets, and I’m more about programs and health products (what I thought it would be about in the beginning). Given my schedule, it didn’t make sense for me to continue that project so I broke the commitment.

What things have you quit? Does it make you feel guilty?

What have you been bratty about and how do you justify it? I guess for me, I call it adjusting with changing priorities–and it’s sort of like Not Going to Aberdeen when I stand up and say, “This isn’t working for me anymore.”

Do you splurge on gym clothes? I do sometimes, but they get so sweaty and stinky, that I’ve also bought a lot of them at Target and TJ Max.

Also, tomorrow is my first day at a new school. I am teaching nutrition at a community college. I’d love some suggestions about things you’ve had teachers do on a first day in class that you liked. I need to do ice breaker stuff…it’s hard to learn names! But I don’t want to be too cheesy…

47 thoughts on “On Being a Professional…and Sometimes a Brat”

  1. good luck on your first day!!! Ohhh I used to know so many ice breakers but I've been out of the work loop for awhile now (I'm a student).. For nutritionist stuff, I LOVE the visual of how much sugar was in each drink etc. We had a lady come in that had a can of pop and then the comparison of how much sugar was in that. I'm sure you know what you are doing already, but that's one of my favorites!!

  2. Kudos to you girl on the degree AND paying it off so quickly. That's fantastic. I love the idea of at least trying. I do splurge on workout clothes – more so on the running gear. Some things don't really matter, but the right running tops, pants, shorts, socks make all the difference. Good luck tomorrow!

  3. life is all about trial and error, right? Sometimes it makes us bratty and sometimes we learn our lesson of humility. I try to just roll with it, haha.
    Love the celion dion perfume comment!

  4. good luck tomorrow, lisa! no ice breaker ideas for you, though – sorry! ( and i used to be a teacher!!)
    i love workout clothes and don't mind spending on them because quality lasts. favourite brands: nike, adidas, lululemon.
    i totally agree with getting out of a commitment if it's not working for you anymore/you don't feel the vibe…life is too short/don't sweat the small stuff!

  5. Wow girl, I didn't know you had a PhD! I was in a PhD program in Biochemsitry for 3-years at Georgetown/NIH but decided that research was not for me. I was pretty much 50% into it so I left with my M.S and am now applying to physician assistant programs. Props to you girl!!!

  6. “Because I try things and then quit and I am particular about what things I buy, wear, and eat. ”

    if that makes you a brat then i am definitely one as well πŸ™‚ as well as a quitter — including a PhD (got the MD though, so not too terrible.)

    i think we're just . . .selective!

  7. I struggled a lot with liking (or not liking) the research aspect…and went

    the academic route instead (aside from my dissertation, which was

    wonderfully qualitative). I know many professors see teaching as an

    annoyance and just want to do research…but I can't stand the research!

    The degree at the end of a journey is really the least of things….the

    important thing is to take the path toward the “thing” you really want to

    do! PA sounds awesome and like a super functional/useful/worthwhile

    profession. You will get to really impact the health of people πŸ™‚

  8. I actually paid my loan payments for 2 years…and then realized my

    principle had only gone down $1000…so I set the goal to pay it off and had

    approximately 7 jobs (and 7 ulcers!) to do it. I don't recommend that, even

    as good as it feels to have it paid off.

    I agree with you—moving on sounds much better than quitting πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks! I love first days of school…there's no real work to be done πŸ™‚

    I love the good brands of workout clothes too—I'm sure I'll mostly splurge

    and buy a few cheap things too (…as I sit here in my lulu pants).

    I agree—I'm trying not to sweat my quitting decision from yesterday. In

    the scheme of things, it's No Big Deal!

    Have a great day πŸ™‚

  10. The funny thing about the Celine Dion perfume is that it has been

    re-circulated at the last three re-gift parties! So (until Grandma Millie

    got it and actually wants it) for the last three years it has been saved and

    re-wrapped, re-gifted!

    I like the “roll with it” philosophy πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks. I am quite a splurger on workout clothes, but I'm trying to tone

    things down when I can. I find that socks make a huge difference and

    definitely cannot compromise on those!

  12. I love that visual! I'm definitely going to do the sugar thing. Sugar in

    general is a crazy concept…and a great demo to show that and relate to

    impact on health.

    I think I'm good on the knowledge part…it's just the implementation I want

    to do well (for 18 year-olds) because I have the opportunity to make such a

    big difference in their lives…and I also have to be comfortable with the

    fact that most of them don't actually care…

  13. Wow I learned so much about you in this post! You look younger than 32 πŸ™‚ If you are a brat, I definitely am a brat. ESPECIALLY when it comes to food. Well, I think my pickiness is justified, I just want to treat my body well and not feel guilty over eating something I didn't really even want to begin with! The dish you took to that party looks amazing by the way, I am craving olives and feta cheese now.

    I think quitting something is ok, as long as you are doing it for the right reasons. I quit college swimming right before my senior year, and even though it was really hard, it ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

    Good luck on your first day of class! I wish I could take it!!!

  14. hey, lisa!! thanks for stopping by my blog :)))
    it's not quitting so much that's my problem. it's my inability to stick with and completely anything withing the time frame i set for myself. i'm always having to rearrange my time frame because of it. i'm working on this motivation issue i have.

    for your class, i like when professors simply ask us to go around the room, say our major, where we're from, major, and answer a personal question (like what you wanna be when you grow up, what's your favorite food, etc.) i love getting to know more about my classmates + professor.

    be well :)))))

  15. I don't think there is anything wrong with being a quitter, as long as you don't leave things you are truly passionate about for the wrong reasons.
    I quit a genocide intervention club just because I didn't have enough time for it. I feel a little guilty, but I know I did the right thing for me.

  16. Erica - Itzy's Kitchen

    oh my gosh- that party sounds hilarious. I just love that you have to rock a funny hairstyle. I rarely splurge on gym clothes (which is funny because I teach….so there literally are people looking at me while I work out haha). I usually go to Target or Under Armor outlet!

  17. I totally get the feeling of being a quitter. I thought my nutrition degree would equal a job after college. and here I am a yoga instructor and hopeful blogger? but I almost kind of love my lost lifestyle. Good luck with class tomorrow, being real and yourself always equal the best teachers.

  18. Love this post!!! Just be yourself…that's the best thing you can do as a teacher:)

    Oh and gym clothes…WalMart…sad but true!!! And the funny thing is…they last forever! and yes..I work out a lot:):):)

    Good luck:)

  19. Target is by far my favorite place to get gym clothes. The Champion brand rocks, especially the pants and the sports bras! I am a sweaty beast when I workout, so why would I want to spend $60 on a tank top!? lol πŸ™‚

  20. Good luck at school tomorrow. ice breaker stuff is super fun for sure! =) Don't worry about the cheese factor <3

    I'm a brat about doing things I really don't want to do. always have been. I pout and procrastinate. at least blogging excites me or I'd have blank posts everyday!

    I'm also a brat when people challenge me about nutrition. people that majored in dance or hotel management and ask for advice, and then tell me i'm wrong. oooh ok we're gonna get off that subject, i'm still obv. fuming from what was said to me this weekend when someone asked me a question about amino acids. bahaha!

    best of luck tomorrow love =) and good luck with the giveaway! <3 thanks for entering!

  21. Good luck tomorrow! That dish looks fantastic! For Ice Breakers ~ it is always fun to do one with motivational quotes. Cut them in half and they have to find their other half. You could do nutritional ones! Once they find their “other half” they have to find out their name and 3 interesting facts about them. Another good one is Truth or Lie. Each person writes 2 truths and one lie on a piece of paper. Read them aloud and the group decides which one is the lie. It can be quite funny what is really the truth. Knowing personal information will help you remember their names. Enjoy your day!

  22. I used to have a Nike town addiction when I lived in Boston…it's much

    easier to keep it under control where I am now. I still sneak it in

    sometimes though!

  23. I've found that people ask me nutrition questions because they want to

    justify their own knowledge (or misconceptions as the case may be)—it

    drives me bonkers to have someone ask a question and then argue with me

    about my answer. I fully support fuming and being a brat under this

    condition πŸ™‚

  24. I always feel guilty if I quit something. Once I was offered an internship, and I said yes immediately. Then a couple days later, I found out I also got another better internship. I knew I had to tell the first one no, but it made me feel so guilty. Ultimately though, I made the right decision. I don’t think you should feel bad about quitting things. Don’t think that you’re selfish. Everything happens for a reason, so no regrets! πŸ™‚ Good luck at your first day!!

  25. for me I think that quitting comes up when we get too caught up in the how's and the outcome. Not sure how to let go of that- which is why the Take a Risk, Take a Chance, Make a Change goal came about. How on earth do we keep moving forward and get somewhere- and live with joy and passion. I am totally with you on the fact that we can start things and not finish them. But remember- some of us just have great idea!!! πŸ˜‰

  26. I do tend to feel bad when I quit something…..but I usually do when I can't get it right….which can come off as bratty.
    Good luck at the new school!!!!

  27. I never understood sticking with something you don't enjoy if it doesn't affect anyone else – I remember quitting choir when I didn't like the conductor and even though some of my friends were miserable, they refused to be “quitters.”

    On the other hand, it drives me crazy to see people pick up expensive hobbies or buy themselves expensive presents and then stop using them after a short amount of time. I know someone who will buy an electric guitar and practice for two weeks, then invest thousands in starting a company and give up when they realize they don't like selling things, and not write their dissertation and waste all that money going to school. I just don't like to see money being wasted is all.

  28. About quitting….it's called “Scanning” – you try an activity and go through the process until you have learned everything you need to or want to about the topic. Once the learning is finished there is really no reason to continue the activity. If anyone is interested – Barbara Sher is the pre-eminent expert in the field.
    As for being a brat – I'm the Queen when people take liberties with my name. I like my proper name and bristle when someone calls me the common nickname. I'm a wuss though (or am I being polite?) I say “you'd better not let my dad hear you call me that!”

  29. the re-gift exchange sounds hilarious..I may have to do one of those for birthdays and the crazy hairdo is the perfect idea too haha! I dont think you're bratty for looking for a job thats more fitting, it's your life and you only live it once

    Oh, and all of that food looks so yummy!!

  30. Congrats on your new gig at the Community College! Teaching is so much fun, and I'm sure you'll bring lots of great energy to your classes πŸ™‚

    No worries about feeling like a “quitter”–as you said, life is about trying out different things and seeing what works for us. I often feel guilty when I say “no” when asked to join another committee, group, etc. But you know, we've only got so many hours in the day, and it's best we devote our time to things that we can commit to with 100% passion and enthusiasm.

    Have a great week!

  31. Thanks for the info about scanning—I'm totally into that idea. It's

    exactly how I feel a lot of the time, but it just seems like there's a push

    to keep doing things based on commitment and not on being practical and in

    touch with wants/needs!

    Funny—people do that to my mom's name too. She's Susan, and even some

    family members call her Sue. I just want to ask “Who EVER told you to call

    her Sue?!?! If you really knew her, you'd know she's never wanted to be

    called that!” So I think that is a totally justified frustration—I guess

    you probably have the tact part down better than I do πŸ™‚

  32. That dip looks good!! I make one just like it but with cream cheese at the base… I never though to use hummus but that is so much more like me! Hummus is my favorite. I can't wait to make this next time!

    I buy all my gym clothes as TJ maxx.

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