As I reflect on the year, I can choose to focus on my unmet expectations and struggles or I can solely share the joys of this year.
I choose to do both.
Life is full of ups and downs. The good times….and the bad times are part of my journey. I truly believe that acknowledging pain isn’t bad. In fact, it’s healthy to acknowledge hurt. We shouldn’t let pain stop us but we certainly shouldn’t ignore it. Ignoring emotional or psychological pain is like ignoring an open wound after a car accident. That wound needs acknowledgement and care in order to heal and function.
The wounds hit by life need the same attention. So I’ll share my biggest “accident”, my unemployment.
My Unemployment: My job situation hit me the hardest. Those who follow me know my relationship with unemployment. In fact, I started this blog underemployed looking for work. I have many blog posts documenting, job search strategies, stress, failed interviews, no call backs. I also share my gratitude and excitement for finally getting a job. Last year, I finally got an offer for a full-time job in Boston.
The problem, I hated it. I loved my students and the teachers were great but I wasn’t feeling the work culture and I still wasn’t doing the work I was passionate about. In the spring of this year, I told my boss that I was considering changing my schedule for the fall in order to free up my evenings to network more. I was teaching both morning and night. My boss wasn’t happy with that and wanted a “full commitment” from me. He decided it was best to let me go.
I was definitely hurt. I felt unappreciated, angry and worried. Yet, I felt relieved, hopeful and faithful. During the latter part of 2016, I’ve been riding this roller-coaster of emotions, professional explorations, encouragement, and discouragement. It has definitely been a ride. But guess what?
I’m grateful for it!
Not working has allowed me the flexibility to explore my purpose, passion and careers. I had the opportunity to go on many informational interviews. I met people doing work they’re passionate about. They were all willing to give me great advice! This time has truly allowed me to rediscover my strengths, passions and skills. My passions are social justice, entrepreneurship, and innovation. And I’ve been blessed to navigate Boston and Cambridge, the bedrocks of innovation, through networking events. I also have found people doing great social justice work increasing diversity in the startup and technology fields.
Not working has also allowed me to build a social network: I joined Meetup groups and actually went to events. I’ve met some AMAZING people! I have a social life. Today, I went ice skating. I’ve attended holiday parties, went dancing and hosted a Ladies Night In! Through this, I’ve met people from so many different fields and built so great professional connections. These experiences have made me more charismatic, gregarious and personable. In addition, it has made interviews easier. Do you know how many times I get the questions, ‘what do you do?’ I got my elevator speech ready.
Not working has allowed me to volunteer. There are of course a lot of altruistic reasons to serve but volunteering has allowed me to continue to build professional connections, keep my skills up to date, gain new skills as well has help me decide what I like to do and what don’t like to do. I volunteered as a grant writer and realized that grant writing isn’t for me. I currently volunteer at a civic innovation center where I help plan events and work on marketing. I LOVE IT! Who would’ve thought that I would like marketing?
Not working has allowed me to become more creative with my job search strategies. I’ve been using Twitter and social media tools like Hootsuite. Tools that some job postings require!
Not working has allowed me time to spend have family over for extended periods as well as visit my grandmother. I spent a week in Florida this month! My dad and brother came to visit me and my flexibility allowed me to tour Boston with them. I have another brother coming in a few weeks!
Not working has allowed me to be grateful for the people in my life that matter. I’m always grateful for family but lately, I’ve been very appreciative of my friends. My friends have been SO supportive, financially and emotionally. When I needed some money for a bill, I had a close friend come through. Immediately, after a mini nervous breakdown, I had another friend listen to my woes of inadequacy and discouragement. I’m also so grateful for my aunt who I consider my friend. She has called me almost everyday and provided comedic relief. All of my loved ones have encouraged me and supported me during my hardest times this year. I love them so much!
Finally, not working has allowed me to watch more documentaries, particularly about health. Despite my exercising 3-4 times a week, I’ve continued to gain weight. My weight gain as well as the time to notice it has me reconsidering my food intake. What am I putting in my body?
Not working is allowing me to heal from the frustration, the hurt and pain of not living out my purpose. Therefore, I am grateful for the unemployment because after healing comes wholeness.
So bring it on 2017, I’m ready. I’m excited! My wounds are healing, my scars are forming and my skin is toughening for whatever you bring both the good and the bad.
As always thank you so much for the follows, the supportive comments and love! See you in the next year!