The lesson will be repeated
I have been turned down for more jobs in the past year than the last 20 combined…
Jobs I was perfectly qualified for, jobs I was overqualified for, jobs that I would have absolutely rocked. For one of them the recruiter told me I was the only qualified candidate she had come across in the state.
Still didn’t get the damn job.
Now, of course, I work. I run the SheHive as well as facilitate classes and events there. I coach private clients. I do management consulting for a few small nonprofits. About once a month I present or speak at a local conference or for some local group. My plate is full, the work is highly-satisfying and the money is enough that the Mister and I live pretty comfortably, I can still travel pretty much when/where I want and I drink good coffee. (Because… priorities.)
So, why can’t I just let go of this idea that I need a j-o-b?
Lessons Will Be Repeated Until Learned
“Maybe it’s a wake up call from the universe,” I wrote to a member of my Masterminds’ cohort recently. “Maybe I’m not supposed to work for anyone else anymore.”
“That doesn’t sound like a wake up call. That sounds like the universe is trying to beat you over the head,” she replied.
They say we are destined to repeat lessons in life until they are learned. Applying for jobs that I am more than capable of doing/qualified for and getting rejected eleventy-billion-f’ing times is supposed to be teaching me… something. I have to believe that or believe that all the successes and accolades I earned in my career up until this point were lies — which, in the face of repeated rejection, can feel true at times.
But I know it’s not.
Illusions vs Reality
I’ve spent the better part of the last six months trying to uncover what it is that a job provided that I’m missing now…
I miss the validation of someone (anyone!) telling me I’m something. I went to grad school three years ago with the idea that I’d come out on the other side primed to be a Vice President and eventually a C-suite level executive at a nonprofit. I left that career track to pursue my passion of creating the SheHive (but apparently forgot to tell myself so).
Illusion: Someone else has to validate me/my worth by giving me a title.
Reality: Any title ever bestowed upon me by an employer was nothing more than how they wanted me to show up at work. I have a opportunity in front of me now to define which labels mean anything to me and how I want to show up in the world all the time. The labels that currently matter to me? Wife, mother, daughter, friend, writer, coach, entrepreneur. Authentic, brave and unafraid. Badass.
I miss having a community. I was deeply entrenched in my work community — we shared laughter, tears, failures, triumphs, births, deaths, marriages, divorces and everything in between for nearly two decades. When I left my job, I left behind people I thought were my friends. People whom, save a very select few, I no longer have any relationship with.
Illusion: I need a job to have a community.
Reality: There are many places to find a community and support system beyond the walls of an office environment. (I might have even created one of those places recently, in fact.) I have a opportunity in front of me now to define for myself whom I want to spend time with instead of forcing-fitting relationships with those my employer choose to surround me with.
I miss a steady paycheck. I’ve come to discover that a steady paycheck meant much more to me than money.
Illusion: A steady paycheck was continual reinforcement that I was worthy and wanted.
Reality: A paycheck never meant anything more than I performed an expected job to an acceptable level. It never validated my worth as a whole person. I have a opportunity in front of me now to define for myself how I measure my worth and I’m pretty sure none of the definitions I will pick will have a dollar sign in front of them.
The Lesson in Front of Me Now
Three hundred thirty two days ago i walked out of the doors of what is likely my final full-time job for the last time, or at least for a long while. It was a declaration that, from that moment forward, only I got define who I was, what I did and what success looked like for me. I forget that moment of bravado and hope from time-to-time and revert back to what used to serve me well — the familiar. That place where I could coast by on the expectations others had for my life.
Apparently the universe isn’t going to let me do that anymore.
Originally published at www.theshehive.com.