Jobless – Part 8

“Wherever I go, I’m watching. Even on vacation, when I’m in an airport or a railroad station, I look around, snap pictures, and find out how people do things.” – Richard Scarry

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances.” – Andrew J. Bernstein

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

I was getting emotionally tired. I’ve been out if work since January 19 and while I’ve had more free time since…..ever…..the emotional toll of things was starting to get to me. Oh, I am fortunate. I’m not someone prone to depression and I am using this time to not only look for a job, but also enjoy the freedom it gives, but like the ship in this picture I’m feeling like I’m not living my purpose. A ship stuck on land. I have always worked, beginning with babysitting at age 12. Life seems weird without a job to go to.

I wish I could retire (I think I’ll be excellent at it), but I’m not in that season yet. These are still my working years and there is much I want to contribute. I’ve typically loved my work….and have never been resistant to change. I believe a new job is a good thing right now and all has happened for a reason. I’m not saying that in a hokey way (heaven forbid)….but in a practical, shake-up-your-life kind of way. Still, it’s different for me to be unemployed, so it’s stressful. Sometimes when you feel stress, you simply need to get away.

So, while talking to a friend I said I was feeling the need to have a break and specifically to be at the beach. She said “Let’s go.” We each had weekend plans on both sides of the next week but could make those weekdays free, so in the midst of those weekends we rather spontaneously took off to Cape San Blas, Florida.

Cape San Blas (and the surrounding areas of Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach) was one of those areas hit by Michael eight months ago. Many homes that were part of the landscape last year are simply gone. Rebuilding and cleanup is happening, but it is a slow process. I’d never been there before, and it was the perfect place to reflect and regroup.

The job hunting process is slow for a lot of us. It’s a time where in many ways the structure of your life has been torn down and you get to assess how you need to rebuild, with the resources you have on hand or can get in the future. While it can be traumatic, it can also be cathartic. Many factors enter into this process and there are always questions.

Rebuilding this part of your life is a process. I’m trying very hard to hold out for the right job, but at what time do you need to compromise and consider those jobs that you don’t think you want? How much time is enough time spent job hunting in a given day? What am I doing wrong? What am I doing right? How am I appearing in interviews? Why don’t I get jobs I know I could make a great difference in? There’s lots of introspection, especially for a chronic thinker, and not a lot of helpful feedback.

And it’s so slow. If they tell you they’ll get back to you in two weeks, know that could instead be months. Or never. In fact, never happens far more often than you would expect. That’s tough to take….especially for potential positions where you have driven for an hour or more to get to an interview that has taken hours and often required all kinds of mental gymnastics and even extra “projects”. Often the interview process itself makes you think “Is this the kind of company I want to work for?” Companies should care about how they treat people….including prospective employees. But that’s the idealist in me talking.

I did not really look at any job boards last week while I was away. I did spend time thinking about where I am on this journey and I expect to not only regroup and change a few things during the next weeks, but to keep assessing where I need to go. I’m not yet willing to compromise much, but I know by necessity that is coming….along with starting to think about whether I need to be willing to uproot my life and move. I had already known a commute was in my future, but maybe I need to cast the net further. Yes, that would disrupt my life more than I was prepared for, but I need to be willing to consider all of the possibilities. Maybe my comfort zone is too comfortable. When we limit our parameters, maybe we’re limiting God’s plan. I am not prone to rash decisions (though sometimes make quick ones), but also consider life to be an ever-changing adventure, best lived by being open to knowing sometimes we need to drive down that road we’ve never been on before.

It’s a messy process, but still a good and important one to go through. Sometimes we hear to get rid of the rubble, and rebuild. Sometimes we just need a few cosmetic changes. Sometimes we need to sell the property, and make a new start. We simply can’t let ourselves become paralyzed.

Vacation is good. Getting away, changing your environment, looking up and out and inward. Next week I get back to the hunt. We choose what rules our life. I do not choose stress, but joy. That is the direction I will pursue. I still know God has a plan….and I have a purpose. But I also need to work to find work. I also need to keep adding alternate courses of action, because stagnant starts to stink.

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