Most people think of “being a professional” as having a serious job, wearing sharp-looking business clothes, and setting aside all the things that are considered childish and playful.
Being a professional typically means being a grown up.
One year ago, I graduated from college, which required growing up and leaving Neverland with white knuckles and gritted teeth. For that reason alone, I dreaded leaving the comfortable confines of my life at DePauw University. How could I possibly enter the “real world” when I still felt like a wannabe child trapped in a 20-something-year-old body? But sooner rather than later, I was smiling from ear to ear, clutching a diploma in my hands, and walking proudly across the stage. At that moment, I knew what direction I was headed toward, but not where my path would ultimately lead me after leaving my alma mater’s campus for good.
Before I knew it, I accepted my first full-time position, and I felt utterly terrified that I’d reached the point of no return. In my mind, there was a distinct line between being a child and being an adult. I worried that I’d spend the rest of my life pretending to be somebody that I wasn’t.
I was in for the surprise of a lifetime when I began my work at BitLoft Game Studios. I quickly learned that the line was, in fact, blurred beyond recognition. I eventually acclimated to the pleasant realization that a lifetime spent in offices may not be so dreadful after all.
Here’s what I discovered:
1. The professional world still requires the same sense of imagination that you practiced as a child.
As our game development team worked arduously to produce an educational video game, I realized that my teammates and I were, arguably, relying on our childlike sense of imagination more than we had as children. It dawned on me that imagination doesn’t have an expiration date, and it registered that I could make my life into anything that I wanted with the right drive and plan.
Maintaining a healthy sense of imagination allows you to think outside of the box, approach problems from new angles, and maintain a positive, childlike attitude that nothing is as serious or permanent as it seems.
2. Growing up doesn’t mean adventures abruptly halt.
Exactly how it is when you’re a child, anything can be an adventure with the right mindset — this goes for the professional world, too. When you start approaching every day with a sense of wonder, intrigue, and potential for the best possible outcome, the only direction you’ll go is up. Having a job doesn’t have to mean dull, bland, and lifeless conversations, or dreading going into work every day. Growing up truly can be what you make of it.
3. Adults get even MORE opportunities to experience the wonders of the world.
Learning and experiencing something new is one of the most enticing and fulfilling aspects that life has to offer. When you’re a child, you assimilate basic (but still astounding) everyday occurrences. As an adult, the sky’s the limit on what you’ll get to absorb in the professional world. You may prove to yourself that you’re more capable than you ever thought possible, and that the only person holding you back from diving head-first into anything and everything is you. Maintaining a childlike sense of brushing the little things off is something that proves utterly invaluable in a professional space.
Like Wendy, I’ve realized that every child has to leave Neverland, and I’ve returned to Earth with these convictions in mind. Adulthood is scary, but unlike Peter Pan, I’m not afraid of it anymore. After all, “to live would be an awfully big adventure.” And I’m ready to start living.
Rachel Auten is a Jr. Technical Writer for BitLoft Game Studios and is applying her sense of play and wonder to development of The Crystal Core.