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

1 comment:

  1. The months following this post did not fail to continually offer challenge and keep me on the roller coaster of emotion originally launched by my initial unemployment. I continued my unemployment into October. I took a management position for a popular retail chain. I thought this might be a novel position that would challenge me personally and professionally. In accepting this position, I turned down another offer at a prestigious institution of higher education. I took a risk - calculated I thought!

    It turns out that the risk was not met with reward. I was extremely unhappy and yearned for the familiarity of student affairs. I continued my job search in order to lift my spirits, use my degree and pick myself up and get it together. Then the unthinkable happened...

    On the morning of November 24th, 2011, my Dad suddenly passed away. He was my Dad, my sounding board, my #1 fan and very best friend. This loss rocked me to my core. I left work and returned home for nearly two weeks to arrange the necessary details. When I returned I was exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. I took the wise and nearly final words of my father and made a decision. I QUIT! Again! Our last conversation was a dialogue back and forth about life being too short to be unhappy. I had discovered new depths to unhappiness. Some I could control and some I could not. I took another risk and made my decision.

    I have not, for one second, regretted the decision to leave management at the retail company. I had time to grieve and time to reinvest in myself and my future. Serendipitously I was offered at my past institution where I so badly wanted to return. I was able to make another difficult choice to select the job that best fit my skills and hopes for the future. I am no happy to say that I am Student Affairs. I am on a journey back to happiness in the memory and honor of my Dad. I imagine his early departure from this world allowed me to have a no-nonsense Sicilian/Irish, heavenly guardian who will protect me on the rest of this crazy roller coaster ride!