Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What would we do without those special people in our lives?

Guest post written by Cathy Passananti

What would we do without those special people in our life that believe in us when we don’t know how to believe in ourselves anymore? Thank goodness for my working friends, they continue sending me words of encouragement during these interesting weeks, going on months, of my unemployed life.

I arrived at that pivotal moment I imagine all live in housing professionals reach eventually – was it time to move out? I determined that 2 years of RA life, 2 years of graduate life, and 4 years of full time live in life was all I could handle. Yes – it was time to move out! There had been break -ins, floods, fires, countless alarms, early morning wake up calls, public urination outside the office, puke, and blood. It was time to join the “real world”. You know – the glorious world with rent payments, electric bills, and shoveling your own snow (not calling work control out to do it). So I made up my mind, I signed my intent to not return and began the job search. At first I carefully selected amazing jobs in my perfect locations and poured over the details of each cover letter. Then the rejections started flowing in and my last day was fast approaching.

Now, as I write this blog, it is 27 days and 105 job applications after my last day of employment – still no job and very few prospects! Now folks, I am intelligent and I did expect the recession to make this job search difficult. I expected my time off to be an opportunity (yes I’m saying unemployment can be an opportunity) to soul search, to step away from working and take time to think about me and what I wanted with my next step in life. I did not expect that day after day lost in thought would cause me to become victim to self-sabotaging thoughts about my obvious lack of experience that must be causing me to land zero interviews for jobs I am qualified to work. I did not expect my soul searching to lead to heightened confusion about my future. I did not expect to have to search for confidence. I have always been a confident woman. I am skilled and qualified for nearly every job I applied for. It’s a recession…I had to keep reminding myself.

Don’t worry…I did not sleep my days away and cry over my laptop every waking moment. I did some great thinking, I spent time with family and friends, and I had moments of clarity. Those moments often came after conversations with my strong female friends, family, and colleagues. Those women (and a couple notable male folk) reminded me that good things come to those who wait. My most recent supervisor told me that it is possible to have it all; I just might not be able to have it all at one time. A friend and colleague told me that since my whole life (quite literally) was up in the air, I might as well take this as an opportunity to feel free and empowered to take a risky step I might not have taken months prior. Late night facebook chats remind me that colleagues and friends have confidence in me and are always thinking of how to bring me back in to the job world. And a fortuitous meeting of an old colleague reminded me that there are people and places outside the bubble in which I’ve been living the past 4 years. Those people and places are exciting and it’s never too late to take a risk and step out of your comfort zone and keep striving for opportunities that will challenge you.

I anticipate more days ahead in which I will find myself in a slump – in need of a pick me up. I know that I have strong colleagues in my life going through the same struggles. I know that those people are in my life for a reason. We are not here by accident. Each of us has a purpose on the planet, in the field, in the lives of one another. I find peace in knowing that when I can’t find the strength to believe in myself, I have someone right next to me who will believe in me and remind me that we only get stronger by surviving times like these. We can’t do it alone nor should we want to do it alone. Thank you to all the special people I am blessed to have in my life every day!

Feel free to contact Cathy on twitter @CPassananti