Am I Qualified To Be Myself?

16 Dec

So I’m sitting in a meeting with the Lt. Governor’s “people”. I’m listening to a conversation about the state’s position on lowering the drinking age to 18. I get excited about a point, give my two cents, and feel like moron when I hear “the Lt. Governor doesn’t believe in harm-reduction”. I had a valid point, but I feel like a little kid, playing with grownups. More and more I’ve had to come to terms with my lack of age and experience while trying to feel that I’m qualified enough to sit in that room.

To be completely honest I don’t feel qualified. Sometimes I’m doing my job, like writing 5-year objectives for a grant for CDC and think to myself “why would anyone trust me with this stuff?!” There’s just this overwhelming feeling that I’m not equipped to deal with the bureaucracy and the politics involved. And I can’t help but to let it get to me that everyone else with my job has gotten their Masters, while I’m still trying to get one, and they certainly weren’t hired right out of school. Heck, everyone else in my level either qualifies for retirement or will in a few years (or months). God knows I don’t know half of the acronyms people use in Public Health. Everything is just a damn acronym, and there’s no manual that explains what they all mean. You just sort of have to pick up, somehow, what the heck they’re talking about.

But then there’s this part of me that feels like I’m not at my job because I met the education qualifications but because I bring something new. And I have good ideas. I use good judgment and I work hard. Sometime that gives me a really good boost of ego, enough to get to speak up at meetings when I have ideas, and enough to defend them when someone questions me.

But what I don’t have is the ability to look back at mistakes that I’ve made and feel like I’ve “lived” through them. I afford myself no mistake, and keep chugging a million miles a minute, taking up every spare project, because I cannot do less now, I have something to prove. What I lack in education and age I make up in know-how and work ethic. Sort of. At least I want to give the appearance that I do. Secretly, I sweat at meetings, hoping I don’t do anything stupid that shows how insecure I am that I may screw up.

The sad thing is that because I love what I do is why I need to be perfect at it. I’m not unhappy, and no one particularly is tough on me, other than myself. And maybe I’ll never live up to my own standards of what I believe a “qualified” person should be.

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