In May, my job ended. Since then I’ve had my share of interviews and opportunities and then even more
rejection interviews. I’ve tried everything, tried nothing, doubted, and questioned. I’ve loaded my schedule and have taken on more freelance work. I’m currently volunteering and even working a 3-month contract position with full-time hours.
Through all of it, I’ve questioned everything. I questioned why this happened and if I could have/should have done something different. I mentally revisited every job I had ever taken or turned down and questioned if I had made the right decisions. With each rejection this summer I questioned what I did wrong in my interviews. If my cover letters or resumes were bad or if I didn’t wear the right outfit. I questioned what my friends and acquaintances must think of me for being stuck in this situation. Did I seem like a quitter or a failure? Did they even take me seriously any more? It seeped into everything else I did as I questioned my abilities across the board. Was I good at project management? Did I make any impact on the work I did? Did I know how to move a project from an idea stage to fruition? Was I actually a valuable member on a team? Was my writing any good?
Before all of that, I had talked about a job not defining a person. I meant it, too. I’ve had a few jobs that haven’t quite suited me, but I always had a job. So when I didn’t have one, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what my purpose was and wasn’t confident in my abilities. I tried to claim different things and own different passions. I practiced saying a sentence summary of who I was in the car while running errands. I stayed up late and woke up early to show that I was using my time for something. I stayed inside more often than an unemployed person should in the summer time just so I wouldn’t have to explain myself to the neighbors.
So does this all have a point? Have I reached that epiphany and know who I am now?
I’m working on it.
I had an unsettling feeling that this whole thing would shake things up a bit. I don’t necessarily like learning things the hard way though and hoped it would all pass quickly. I’m still searching for a job, but also still hopeful. Some days I come off as confident and other days I likely sound more desperate. But when it comes down to it, I have a better idea of who I am and what’s important to me now in regards to work.
I’ve found that I don’t have to wait for a job offer to do the things I like doing. I can write as much as I want on this blog and work on growing my online presence. I can learn presentation skills on stage while playing music with my husband. I can plan events at church or by volunteering with various organizations. I can help people without working at a nonprofit, and I can manage projects that are my own instead of someone else’s.
Knowing that I can do all of that right now, without waiting for someone’s approval or paycheck, is incredibly freeing. Do I still have self-doubt and tears and wonder when I’ll move forward professionally? Of course. The difference between now and six months ago is that I’m actually doing all of those things wholeheartedly. While this journey hasn’t been easy, it has given me a much greater sense of what I am capable of doing and what I want to do during my life.
This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October.
To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.