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Slow Down

Posted on January 4, 2019


Slow Down

As a young professional almost two years into my career I often get questions like; where do you want to be in 5 years? Do you want to become a City Administrator? Do you like Public Works? Would you consider becoming a Public Works Director?

These are all great questions to get from mentors, friends, and family but it creates a bit of anxiety. In the past year I have been lucky enough to be named an Emerging Leader for the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Public Works Association and named to the ELGL Top Ten Local Government Influencer.

Don’t get me wrong, this recognition is something that I am beyond grateful for, but again, it creates a sort of anxiety. I start to think that if my peers think the work I’m doing is award worthy – maybe I’m not pushing myself hard enough. And, that maybe I should be using that recognition to  move up in the world and pursue that City Administrator or Director job. Maybe I should be striving for that dream job.

I think that I’m not where 18 year old me thought 28 year old me would be in life, living in a tiny apartment downtown Milwaukee without many worries outside of work. I, of course, ask myself why that is. I’ve had success thus far in my career so why am I not where I’ve always imagined myself.

Should I be pursuing that next career move to get me closer to that end goal? Am I ready to take the leap to move across the country if that’s where the opportunity presents itself? Will that next career move help me purchase my first home or my dream vehicle?

Or maybe it will make me feel financially established enough to give back to those who have helped me get this far. I recently saw this quote that helped me put things in perspective:

“Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want” – Unknown

This helps me step back and put things into reality…

  • I’ve been in my first local government job for just shy of two years.
  • I’m employed by an outstanding organization that supports my professional development.
  • I have a great boss who backs me and the work I do.
  • And most importantly, I seem to have a grasp on my personal life for the first time since starting graduate school.

So take this Morning Buzz as a friendly reminder to slow down. You are happier than you think you are in all facets of life. Yes, we all want to strive for the next great thing. It’s human nature. But take time to step back and look at all the good you have going on in your career and personal life. That next big opportunity will come in due time.


Today’s post is by Zach Navin, the Public Works Management Analyst with the City of Wauwatosa, WI.

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