Last week, I got a new job.
This is an exciting, wonderful thing for several reasons:
1) I have been searching for a new job for about eight months, which has including writing an average of one full job application(including a resume, cover letter, and occasionally a portfolio) per week. Additionally, I have been doing informational interviews, formal and informal networking events and actual job interviews. This takes up lots of time and energy–now I can devote that time and energy elsewhere.
2) I have been interviewing for this particular job for 3 months and have been living in a state of uncomfortable limbo. That also takes lots of time and energy.
3) It pays better than my current position. This job is going to help the Husbandit and I improve the immediate quality of our lives and will allow us to start making some long term plans.
4) I want this job because it works for me and my interests and priorities and needs–not because I hope that it will sound impressive or because it is what I feel I “should” be doing or because I just need a job. The position seems like it will genuinely fit me and my life.
5) In order to get to #4, I had to figure out who I am and what I actually want in my life. Pushing myself to try new things has helped me discern who I am and what I want and I’m excited to reap some benefits of that work.
When I started this blog project I had two of the lurking goals in the back of my mind: get published and get a new job. However, I also had a lurking feeling that I wanted more than to change jobs and see something I wrote in print. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, so trying new things seemed like a good path. As I started purposefully engaging in new actions the same question kept emerging: “Does this make me suffer less or more?”
It sounds rather bleak to talk about suffering, but it is a very practical question. We all suffer at some point and we all want to suffer less. Previously, I always asked myself, “Is this what I should be doing?” Interestingly, that question had not helped me be happier, it just led me to flail about in fear and anxiety. Simply asking myself “Does this make you suffer less or more?” was much more useful. Asking that question then letting the answer inform my actions nudged me to make choices that were more likely to make happy. It opened me up to building the structure of my life around happiness, not fear. Fear is certainly still there, but it is less of the foundation and more the weird staircase to nowhere accidentally left in by the architect.
Approaching my life this way is what led me to do the informational interviews, the writing classes, the job applications, the informal networking; to make the choice to write between appointments, to start going to a support group, to send the manuscript to a publisher; to give myself the permission to try new things, to accept myself, to step into the unknown. And all of these small and large decisions contributed to me being able to tick off my two secret goals.
Funny note: When I found out that I got the job I had an overwhelming urge to dye my hair–which was another lurking goal. Hair dyeing has always been this attractive but scary thing for me–it’s bound up with all these feelings about image and interaction and permanence. I kept saying I would do it, then I would chicken out. I read this article a few months ago and I have decided to take the plunge. It will have to happen after my birthday and the end of this blog because my hair-dyeing buddy is out of the country, but it’s going to happen! It feels wonderfully superficial and symbolic.