Part I: The silence before the storm

Crystal Castle - expectation hangover

This is Part I of a little mini series where I try to share with you how I came from trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations to setting my own rules and started to not only breathe but live.

My story starts shortly after high school. I was a decent student and until I took part in a school project of the Boston Consulting Group I thought I wanted to be a fashion writer, having lived in Italy for a year. After this school project was finished I wanted to become rich and powerful and that very fast so I decided to go after traineeship programmes or dual study programmes as I will call them.

I started the dual study programme right after high school or the german equivalent Gymnasium. I was lucky enough to get accepted already in January of the year I took my A-levels so that I was calm and relaxed during the prep time and the exams, because I knew what the next big step after school would be.

I like to know what the next step is, or least that’s how I used to roll.

A quick word about my dual study programme, there are many different combinations for this but the essence is that the company pays your study fees at least in part at a university that specialises in education for full-time employees. The model at the company I worked at was that you started the studies right away, but for the first two years of the program you are a normal apprentice. After getting your degree as an industrial clerk you would get a regular full-time position while still taking university classes and exams in the evening and on weekends.

Having a major Expectation Hangover

During the apprenticeship, which was a federal regulated one and therefore had to comply with all the guidelines from the chambers of commerce, I had to work in many not so interesting departments. I was tremendously bored already at my first department which was IT.  When the holiday season came and almost the whole department had taken off, the remaining staffer had so much work to do that he could only mutter a quick good morning when I entered the office and didn’t even notice when I left.

One day I actually contemplated taking a nap in the office of the head of the department. But as he also was the union rep I figured that anyone wanting to speak with him would just enter his office. It would not have made for a great start to be caught napping at work.

I did this a year later in an even more boring department. I think that someone entered, saw me napping and quietly close the door again. That’s the off-site production department’s work ethic for you 😉

The study part wasn’t as demanding or interesting or international as I thought it would be, but every semester I would tell myself that it would get better eventually,  when suddenly the programme was already half done. That’s when the sum of university fees I would have had to pay back, as I had signed a restitution contract, became too high, therefore I continued. After I finished my apprenticeship I was able to get a very interesting full-time position within a newly formed department of our yet to be founded energy market division.

As this position came with a nice paycheck and I had my heart set on moving out of my mum’s flat, I  continued to schlepp myself towards the end of the studies.

This is part of a series of posts, Part II will be uploaded next week

I borrowed the phrase Expectation Hangover, from Christine Hassler’s book 20 Something Manifesto: Quarter-Lifers Speak Out About Who They Are, What They Want, and How to Get It
This book helped me a lot during the process of changing my attitude towards life. And the phrase, which she trademarked and I hopefully won’t get any angry lawyer letters for using it, just sums it up perfectly what it felt like to hae all your expectations crashed by the harsh reality.

picture courtesy of nikki

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