Practicing What I Preach: A Story of Recent Learnings
It was a Tuesday. I was finally ready to put myself out there and begin applying for new career paths. I got up, headed to the nearest coffee spot with the best wifi and scoured countless job sites for a solid list of places that I knew could use my talents. I looked and looked and looked until I saw it...the one...the only. My soul leaped with excitement, I poured my heart into a cover letter that I damn well knew was pretty fantastic and then...the anti-climatic finish - the feared click of the "send" button.
I did it.
Granted, it was only two weeks into my sabbatical and I had profusely promised myself I would wait a total of four weeks, but nonetheless, I should have known myself better. I waited and waited and weeks went by. Nothing. Not even a measly, "thank you but we've hired someone else". I began to think, really? Am I not all I think I'm cracked up to be? Is the competition really that fierce that I wouldn't even get an interview? The answer was right in front of me. "Yes" to the previous two seemingly rhetorical questions. If the answer truly was "yes" then what the hell am I supposed to do? Crawl in a hole? Eat myself into misery? Hide under the covers and hope I come out from under them exactly what they are looking for? NO. None of these were the answer. The answer was much simpler than that: The job wasn't meant to be.
If the answer was truly that simple, why couldn't I come to grips with it? Why did I let it lurk into my very being and bother me? I took me a few days to get over the fact that it really, really, wasn't going to happen. Like a great Tinder date you think will be more, but no, they weren't going to call. They were NEVER going to call.
Then, I surprised myself, I let myself off the hook and began the process over again in its entirety. This time it was yesterday (Thursday) and in the middle of the night. I scoured and squinted beady eyed at all the options in front of me. There were lots of them, but none really made me excited to live...then I saw it. It was just like before, only better. It was the same company, same type of role, but much better suited and honestly I felt like it was made just for me. Was this the sign I thought I needed? Was I not going to get the other call-back because this job was my one, true destiny? I thought so. I promised myself I should probably wake up early the next morning and retool my cover letter (even though I didn't think it could get more perfect). Plus, it was only posted that day! "What are the chances", I thought to myself.
I did everything aforementioned - got up, headed to a coffee shop, opened up my laptop and started feverishly typing. I felt like I was under some sort of time-clock, you know, the ones with the sand trickled down from one end to the other in a board game - I HAD to get this out ASAP.
I was really struggling; the words weren't coming, the coffee was cold and I wasn't "in the zone" as you might say. So, I packed up my bag, drove back home and made myself cozy on the couch, determined to refocus. As I finally found my groove, I headed to the job site one more time for some verbal support and to ensure all my keywords were on track --- but the webpage presented me with something I didn't expect, not in a million years, the site read: "No longer accepting applications for this position". I thought to myself in my head...okay, I thought to myself out loud "How the F!?" - is this some kind of joke? I essentially had spent my entire 24 waking hours obsessed with the idea of this and now I won't even get the chance to be considered? Needless to say, it was frustrating. Please don't get me wrong, I know I haven't fully committed myself to being fully out there on the job hunt yet and I do truly believe that the perfect job for me is out there and waiting, but that doesn't mean that those low-blows along the way don't make you feel really crappy.
One of the great mentors of my career gave me some sage advice when she left our mutual place of work. Her mantra came from a previous boss of hers and with it a measly piece of crumpled paper with the words written "give yourself one hour of self-pity and then get on with your life!". Before she left I asked her if I could make a copy of it and I did. It sat above my desk for 4 straight years and I would be lying if I said I didn't need its reminding at least 4 times a day.
As fate would have it, today is June 1st. The day I initially told myself I would begin to officially search for jobs. I guess you could say this is my first let-down in the official process. Does it feel good? No. Does it make me want to turn up my efforts even harder and show what an asset I can REALLY be? Oh freaking yes. Just watch me.
If you're in a similar situation or your life is just super tough right now with work or personal stuff, try practicing the practice of giving yourself one hour of self pity and then moving on with your life. Trust me, it will feel really freaking good.