Victim to instant gratification

Instant gratification. That’s what we want. It’s the concept we’ve grown accustomed to with technology’s rapid growth. We place an order and expect it to be fulfilled in a few minutes (fast food) to a few days (Amazon Prime). Patience is becoming a scarce virtue in our society. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to wait or have free time. We expect our days to be stocked with distractions, deadlines, and multitasking, especially during our work week. We want to be busy. Without busyness, we’re left twiddling our thumbs and losing a staring contest with the clock on our computer screen.

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I’ve fallen victim to instant gratification. For the past few years, I’ve lived life in fast forward: pushing myself to learn new things, put in 100% on assignments and continuously search for the next step. First, my focus was getting through the drudgery of high school, and then I quickly transitioned to a junior college and kicked butt in academics. After that, it was about choosing where to spend two years knocking out my BA. After that, it was all about job hunting and finding the first professional stepping stone.

In the midst of all that, relationships ended, new relationships started, milestones were celebrated and tragedy struck. There were so many times I felt happy and many times I felt like giving up. The truth is when we’re busy living in the fast lane, are we allowing ourselves time to enjoy our lives or are we too focused on the next project or deadline?

“When you delay instant gratification, you’ll experience long-term satisfaction.”

This week I started my first big-girl job. The first week of any job is always the same: getting used to your surroundings, meeting your co-workers, and realizing you have no idea what you’re doing. My first few days were boring as heck… no deadlines, projects or meetings. It’s been a lot of thumb-twiddling, ear-bud popping and website reading. During the first couple days, I felt frustrated. Each day felt longer than the last, and I kept glancing at the time. I knew the root of my frustration: instant gratification.

I realized that even though we live in a society that prides itself on quick service, on-time delivery, and fast-paced living – that doesn’t mean we need to become agitated when life switches to the slow lane. Things are bound to pick up at work. After all, I am still the “new girl.” Soon I will be swimming in projects and the clock will read 5 p.m. before I know it.

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Right door opened

When we travel down a dark tunnel long enough, it soon becomes difficult to imagine the light at the end. The same goes for rejection. The more rejection we face, the harder it becomes to picture what success will look like. Over the past six months, I’ve been slowly venturing through the job-hunting tunnel. Every door I approached took the form of an interview, I would use my key (skills and experiences) to unlock it, but the knob wouldn’t budge. The lack of a key (right qualifications) forced me to try another way. Pretty soon the tunnel transformed into an intricate maze – I feared I’d never find my way out.

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I trust in God’s plan, but after being stuck in this tunnel for months, I started to doubt and grew distant from God. I blamed him for not having the right key to access the right door. I doubted my skills and believed no company wanted me. Constant rejection pushed me further from picturing what my life would look like when I received a job offer. I begged God so many times for a new opportunity. I told him I was ready to start working, but he didn’t answer – and I was angry and impatient.

Then a week ago, I received a follow-up email from a local recruiter regarding my resume. She met with me and set up an interview with a telecommunications company. I didn’t get my hopes up. None of my keys had worked, so what was going to be different this time? Like any other interview, I prepped, dressed to impress and showed up on time. The recruiter I’d been working with told me to call after and provide my feedback. Before I had the chance to call her, my phone rang. After rambling on with my positive remarks, she said: “Well Amy, I’m glad to hear that because they’ve already contacted us and want to make you an offer.”

Dear Lord, thank you for the assurance that when one door of opportunity closes, you will open a bigger and better door for me. Teach me to trust in you more deeply and lean not on my own understanding. Amen

It’d been less than an hour since my interview ended – how could they have already made an offer? I expressed my disbelief and she replied, “They were looking to be wowed, and you wowed them.” I could feel the light’s warmth because I’d made it to the tunnel’s end. The key fit, the knob turned and the door opened.

That night after the excitement settled, I knelt down by my bed and opened in prayer. I thanked God for this incredible opportunity and apologized for doubting him. This position was everything I’d been looking for from the start: local company, great pay, collaborative team setting, creative department, writing-based position and so on. Every failed door hadn’t been a 100% fit – and even though I didn’t see it, God did. He knew what I deserved and followed through.