I will remember 2017 as a year of change and transition. Lots of lows, peppered with a few highs. Frankly, I was itching to slam the door on the year. Rather than dwell on what utterly sucked, I’m embracing the tough learnings from the 365 days of 2017, and leaning into 2018. Here are my top takeaways.

You don’t always get what you want – I hear the Rolling Stones playing in my head, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need!”  When I left my job in early January I was determined to do everything I could to land the job I wanted and deserved. I got sooo close on two positions that I could envision myself walking into my new office. I could feel the surface of my freshly polished desk. With each process I invested a lot of time, not only in research and preparation but physically in the presence of those I would ideally be working with. Once again, I learned that while you may still get a medal or ribbon for placing in a sport, or a bouquet for getting runner-up in a beauty pageant, in the real-life game of job searching, second place only gets you crushed dreams and tears. But, in the end I landed the job I not only wanted, but needed. I needed change, I needed a welcoming culture, I needed work-life balance and I needed to renew the passion I had for my work. I didn’t necessarily get what I think I wanted, but I found just what I needed.

Work friends may be just that ­­– After five years at my job I had forged friendships. After all, we spend more time at work than at home. What was really telling for me is which ones were real friends, and which ones really didn’t extend beyond the day I left. Some of that is life and the fact that we’re all pressed for time. Some is telling, in that true colors emerge. Either way, all is good. It simply served as a good reminder that work friends may be just because of work. And that’s okay.

Embrace your age – Ageism is alive and well. It hit me hard during job searching when I was questioned more than once about my tech skills and ability to adapt. I had to squelch my need to yell during one of my phone screens with an HR dude, “I could fucking do your job and the one you are interviewing me for. Do you think our brains go dead at 50? Being Snapchat-proficient is not a skill needed to lead this department, of which you’ll never be qualified to do.” But, I learned that the organizations that value expertise and accomplishments is where I want to be. Now, excuse me while I post my Snapchat story.

 Life is too short to hold grudges –Just because you’re in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader. I had one of those as my boss. Self-awareness was not a skill in her possession. Self-preservation was. When one eats away at your self-esteem over the years, so she can mask her insecurities, it’s wrong, very wrong. While I wanted to stay angry forever, it’s not in my best interest. Life is too short, and karma is a bitch.

You’ll find allies and supporters in the most unlikely places – It pays off to not burn bridges and to be a decent human being no matter what. When job searching you really do find out who your supporters and allies are, and it’s not always who you might think. Treat people right, and they’ll return the favor, especially when you least expect it.

Believe, and make it possible ­– I’m not trying to get woo-woo or unrealistic, but there is truth to setting goals and believing you can achieve them. Daily affirmation works. Will daily affirmation make me look 10 years younger? No, of course not. But, will daily affirmation that I will land a good job with a healthy culture where I’m valued, happen? And, will daily affirmation that I can and will run the NYC marathon make it happen? Count on yourself to believe in you, and it WILL happen.

Finally, and most importantly, a big shout out to my friends and my family who I cherish. You infused bright, shining moments into a less than stellar year. You were always there when I needed you, and even when I didn’t.

Here’s to opening that 2018 door wide and with purpose. Bring it on!

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