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What's the Most Frustrating Thing of a Young Career?

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When you're young and capable, you have this almost overwhelming desire to prove yourself.

You're smart. You learn quickly. You've got experience in related tasks. You can do really well! All you need is a chance to show it.

Eventually you get your chance. You do well. You prove yourself. Score! Then nothing. You keep going through the same rigmarole. You can do more and better. You've shown that! Where are your opportunities?

That, to me, is the hardest lesson to swallow for anyone fighting for that big break. That you can do really good work and be capable of so much without getting your shot.

It's patience. Learning patience is the most frustrating and difficult aspect of a young career.

I've seen several instances of this recently, perhaps because I've just recently realized it for myself. We tend to think of life advancements like levels in a video game.

As we get incrementally better, we expect incrementally more challenging responsibilities and incrementally higher compensation.

In reality, we're able to grow rather quickly, but advancements and opportunities take much longer to form. When our rate of growth is slowed by something we can't control - employers, society, etc. - we get frustrated. We've lost control.

It makes sense that doing X should lead to Y, but in fact doing X plus waiting ABC amount of time is what leads to Y. We've got the equation wrong.

Patience is the most difficult thing to learn, because it takes control out of our hands and places it in recruiters, God, publishers, employers - anyone and anything but ourselves. We crave growth, and it's taken away from us.

But the same reason that frustrates us is why patience - or perseverance, rather - is so important.

We can't just prove ourselves once and be done with it. We have to prove ourselves over and over and over again. We have to prove ourselves so much that our original threshold for proving ourselves becomes our floor.

Nobody would expect anything less than that from us! It takes time, and it's not easy to wait. It's frustrating! But that's why patience and perseverance are so critical. Without them, there's no chance of us going where we need to go.