Wednesday, March 28, 2007

to grad or not to grad, that is the question

perhaps it's the recent celebration of my 26th birthday or the realization that an entire year has already passed since i moved out to yee-haw tejas, but all i can think about lately is what i want to do next. it's not that i'm unhappy here, or that i'm desperate to get back to DC... in fact, i'm quite happy that i made the decision to move here. i truly believe that striking out on your own to a city that's completely out of your comfort zone (i think new job, no friends, and the fact that it's freaking TEXAS counts as "out of my comfort zone," don't you?) forces you to evaluate who you are, what's important to you, what you want to accomplish, etc etc etc... and i am confident (or at least hopeful) that i will look back on my time in austin and be grateful that i took some time to just hang out with myself.

(man, could i sound any more like a self-absorbed 20-something? yowza. cue emo music, please... or maybe some john mayer "quarter life crisis," although i have seriously lost some respect for him given the rumors that he is shacking up with jessica simpson. dude! i know you're not that hot, but seriously, at least you can credibly say you're a legitimate musician. that alone should net you some higher quality than jessica simpson, aka boobalicious reality star / no-talent ass clown)

the reality is that i never came to austin to stay, and although there are a million reasons why i really like it here and have been content to hang out for a bit (reference the million posts on breakfast tacos, runs on town lake, and the general chill but friendly / artistic and smart vibe of this town)... i'm already curious as to what's next. where will i go? who will Jen Mess With next?

it's tricky, because i feel like at this point i've somewhat-sort-of established myself in my industry... i've got five solid years' experience, and i could easily continue down the advertising pathway, stay here for a while, maybe check out another agency, build my client experience, climb the corporate ladder, etc etc etc. i'm no longer 22, paying my dues and trying to prove myself. sure, there's the proving-of-self that always comes along with a new gig, and i'm not necessarily one to sit on my laurels and get too comfortable... but at this point i am lucky enough to enjoy a decent salary (nothing exorbitant but i can make ends meet), a good job at a respected shop, interesting clients, challenging projects and fun business trips (a cruise? trips to Munich? no one's complaining here).

on the other hand, i can't help but wonder if there isn't more out there. could i be more? could i do more? could i contribute more, learn more, gain more? when my mind starts wandering like this, i immediately gravitate toward the possibility of going to grad school. it would be great! i could be a student again and bask in my nerdy student-ness! wear a backpack and take tons of notes! soak up the wisdom of others, live a life of the mind, get out of the corporate world for a bit, possibly re-direct my career path.

then i get all ooky about it. well... shit. grad school's expensive. plus, when i get out, what would do i with that degree? would i just go right back into the corporate world and work for the man? if that's the end result, i'll progress a lot faster if i just stay in advertising and climb the ladder. what if i go to b-school and it's filled with a bunch of douche-bags who overuse the term "net net" or "let's not re-invent the wheel?" (full disclosure: i have totally used both of those terms. but at least i was properly mortfied afterwards.) i always pictured myself going to grad school for something completely random and unnecessary, like french film of the 18th century. but who the F am i kidding? what the hell would i do with that? go to cocktail parties and be one of those super-academics that knows a shit ton about some obscure topic that no one cares about except for me and my professional circle of maybe 20-30 colleagues?

this post will have no neat and pretty conclusion because i have no idea what that neat and pretty conclusion will look like. perhaps the down side of this "move to a new city and do lots of soul-searching" plan is that you end up spending too much inside your own damn head and therefore end up over-thinking everything. maybe i should just jump in and go for it and see where i come out on the other side; that plan has definitely worked for me before.

whatever happens, though, i'll be sure to keep you loyal nine readers posted. (i think my loyal readership is growing, y'all. i had about three. then maybe five. and now a whole nine! woooot.)



At 7:27 AM, Anonymous em said...

I for one, love relocating to a new place. New job. New house. New possiblities. We've been in Jacksonville for 5 years now, and while we do really like it here, we still find ourselves asking "where to next time?"

I'm thinking South Carolina, meanwhile Marty is thinking South Florida. We'll see I guess. It's fun to plan and ponder.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Erica said...

WARNING: this is a comment just to call you out. "challenging projects and fun business trips (a cruise? trips to Munich? no one's complaining here)"
Ahem. "The travel gods hate me."

keep it real :)

At 11:09 AM, Blogger L Sass said...


I've been debating going back to business school, too... it's just so expensive? And is it really necessary?? Part of me just wants an advanced degree because so many of my friends have them... wouldn't it just be cheaper to buy the latest handbag? :)

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Di said...

a friend of Dave's is graduating from INSEAD (NSEAD??, can't remember) in June and it feels like he left yesterday. i vote for the grad school in a foreign country if you decide to go that route. OR get a job in a foreign country. Maybe advertising? because you've wanted to do that FOREVER. and if you meet someone fantastic in the US and all of a sudden their priorities factor into your life, that just confuses things. if you're ready to hop over the pond, i think you should go for it. whether in grad school or not. and since you're only 26, this doesn't have to happy in the next three months. you could even be 28 (gasp) when you head over :)

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Di said...

doesn't have to "happy?" oh jeez. i'm typing lying down. never a good idea. you got my jist though, j'en suis certaine.


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