Updated: Sep 9, 2020
First, I want to say this blog and the people who support it (and BLCK SPCES as a whole) have given me a completely new outlook on life. That's in regards to my personal life along with my professional life - starting this blog, in a time where I had no idea of what was next, gave me a sense of self-confidence I've never really had in my 28 years of living and my 2 1/2 years of being a "practicing" planner. So.. THANK YOU! I can't express that gratitude enough..
(you can watch this video about finding my way on my IG @thedee_p too!)
Second, I want to say that being a planner of color, particularly Black, has been a rollercoaster of emotions lately. Nonetheless, I've actually found myself and my VOICE more so during this quarantine/lockdown and time of racial tension. I started laying the foundation for the planner I wanted to be back in 2016 when I started my graduate program and now I feel like I'm finally starting to become that planner. Granted getting to this point has been far from easy... from struggling to deal with my then terrible work life, to resigning from my job in December of 2019, to never-ending interviews with NO offers, to the pandemic, to just completely falling apart, to instances of depression and self-doubt... this newfound elite level I found in myself has been hell getting to. I can't quantify how grateful and thankful I am for the support of the people close to me, my mentor, and really my folks for being there every time I stumbled, failed, couldn't pick myself up, or every interview that came up short - that's a sense of love I can't ever repay just know I'm forever indebted to all of y'all. This road of growth has been so got damn frustrating, refreshing, and liberating all at once. I'm here now and I'm not taking anything less than what I'm worth - PERIOD.
I fought through self-doubt pretty much every day for 3 1/2 months straight before the pandemic hit - nothing was sticking and things weren't panning out the way I'd hope they would aka life. I left my previous job because I was essentially told I couldn't grow and there wasn't room for my ambitions in my position or that organization - it was a huge blow to my career, my self-confidence, and really my mental. I was traumatized, upset, frustrated, angry, and more hurt than anything to have put so much into a position only to have it spiral the way it did. Despite the fact that I went through some of the darkest moments of my life at that job, I never downplayed what I wanted to do and the planner I wanted to become. Nor did I bash my previous employer for treating me the way they did, I took as a blessing in disguise because I took a leap of faith when I left - I just knew there was more out there for ME and nothing could stop me from getting to it. Even with my confidence rising, my resume seemingly on point, and a list of interviews all over the DFW still NOTHING - I went on roughly 15+ interviews from late December until early March with no job offers just generic email responses telling me I was a "great candidate, just not what we were looking for".
Through all this back and forth with cities, firms, and the like I felt like I was qualified (if not over-qualified) for every job I'd interviewed for, yet I was always on the short end of the stick; literally. Honestly, I said fuck this and immediately started thinking of ways to be sufficient as a planner on my own terms and learning as I went, granted that was a direct reaction off emotions it actually laid the foundation for where I am now. I was just pissed when I made that claim because I was essentially downplaying myself, my skills, and my true ability as a planner to fit into the corporate "planner mold". I mean I was dumbing down my responses in interviews because I'd been told I came off as "too ambitious" when I answered certain questions.... so yeah, I was well over it. It being applying for jobs, doing pointless assessments, creating example projects, going for interviews (sometimes multiple), hearing nothing for weeks, and so on to prove I was good enough for these positions - it was just dumb to me by February. I knew from the jump what I wanted to do and was willing to do anything to learn to get better, yet that wasn't good enough. At that point I just wanted to get my foot in the door even if it was taking a position that was entry-level in nature. It finally dawned on me that people were intimidated by my ambition, my work ethic, and desire to be an impact (this was well before I found the voice I have now) - I was in a way, too real, for their generic molds. It's wild really, I knew what I wanted to do but was willing to work in any medium to get there; no job I interviewed for believed me when I said I didn't mind working my way up as long as there was a chance to grow. My work ethic is unmatched so I refuse to be pigeon-holed again.
I want to be 100% transparent and say that despite the fact that I knew what I wanted to do and was very clear about it I lost a lot of sleep, cried a couple nights, and just sat stuck because I felt like I'd made a huge mistake leaving my job and getting turned down after every interview I went on. I was depressed to be honest. I couldn't find myself, I was just drowning in self-pity, anxiety, and worry for a couple months - I barely had the desire to get out of bed; it was bad all around. I wish I would've reached out and expressed those emotions back then but I was too proud and slightly embarrassed to tell anyone that I was lost, no real plan, no real idea of what the hell I was doing, nor how I was going to find a job... I'm learning to be