Shared Experiences

After returning from North Carolina, I fell into a funk. Of course, that didn’t stop me from forcing myself to stop in at the government job center in Sunnyvale. I had actually researched Nova (northern valley) before and noticed the superb Yelp reviews, but for some reason, I had just never gone. Then, while I was in NC, one of my contacts suggested I check out the services. So I did.

Admittedly, I went in thinking my resume was already the best it could be (after all, it’s already gone through a gazillion edits), but what do you know? I picked up some new tips, and now my resume and cover letters are even BETTER. Wha?? Was that even possible? :) I know, I fluctuate between feeling rockstar confident and feeling completely and utterly broken. Story of my life. Anyway, I attended a few workshops and orientations and also met with a couple of career advisers. Both felt that my materials were pretty strong and that for me, I needed to boost my numbers: network more and submit more apps. So now I’m back on that wagon.

One of the advisers also recommended that I attend an orientation this morning for a job networking group. As with nearly all of these activities, we started off going around the room with individual 30-sec introductions. Ugh. I still dread those things, but I did notice that I’m less anxious about them now, so that’s promising. On the down side, I still kinda felt like I was in an AA meeting or a support group of sorts– we’re all a little defeated and a little uncertain. The trainer this morning talked about the emotional roller coaster during this whole job transition process. Sometimes I do feel a little sheepish–like we are some lame group of misfits or social outcasts– but today I found some comfort in knowing that my emotional ups and downs weren’t just about me. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with me: these highs and lows are just a natural and expected part of the process… and oddly, I felt a little validated from just learning that. So this networking group, should I decide to join, requires that people split out into groups/teams and then each member has to volunteer 4 hrs/week minimum helping to run the operations and group exercises. There are a ton of activities and role playing exercises to practice networking, interviewing , etc. Yeah, it’s super uncomfortable, to be honest. But I try to convince myself to consider this all as a game, except that shit, there’s so much frickin’ interaction!! One part of me wants to step back– it’s just too much people time and too much awkwardness and discomfort. And yet, if I give it deeper thought, I know that this is the new world order, you know? I left my comfortable, stable job to seek change, challenge, and adventure… Yes, I have grown tremendously in the last several months, but that’s not necessarily enough. This is how things are moving for everyone…

As I’ve met so many new people and listened to their personal stories, I’ve always felt like my own life had a lame, boring path. I’ve alluded to this before: I mean, I know people who have battled cancer, lived through war, suffered from disease, poverty, abuse… they have these incredible stories of fortitude and survival. So maybe in some weird way, this process is MY story of resilience and strength. In giving up my job, I didn’t anticipate losing my identity and self-worth, but  I feel now like I am fighting to earn those things back. Not that I will only regain them through employment, but that every day, I’m struggling to keep disappointment and failure from degrading my soul and spirit. I shouldn’t give up just because I’m tired, or because this new paradigm makes me cringe. If I indeed value learning and adaptability, then this is where the rubber truly meets the road. The world is changing; the markets are evolving… there’s no time or reason to be defeatist. The world won’t stop just because I want a breather.

This morning after the orientation, I was really leaning towards finding an excuse or easy way out. “I’ll just continue to network on my own; I know what I have to do.” But deep inside I know that I have to face this head on. It’s go time, and I have to pull out all the stops, goddamnit. Bring. it.

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