Thursday, December 5, 2013

Still Unexpected

I am constantly trying to predict the future.

I am a terrible fortune teller.

Sometimes, my predictions are based in facts, and they still fall short.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it remains unpredictable.  I applied for one job online, unsolicited, that I thought was well out of my league, and they chose to interview me - I was shocked, because I didn't have any connections to the organization, no network to open the door for me, and it was a more senior position, so the facts told me that my odds of getting an interview were slim.  But not only did I get an interview...I got three interviews, before I was gently turned down.

I've had two intensive rounds of interviews for different jobs: one round lasted three interviews, and the other lasted four interviews.  In both cases, I was awarded "runner up" status, and told that I was a fabulous candidate.  In that more-senior-than-I-am position, they awarded the job to someone with ten years more experience than I have in the field; in the other case, they told me that I was a great candidate, that it was an incredibly difficult decision, that they had no negative feedback.

I could not have predicted either outcome.  I'm pleased that I'm making it this far on my own merits, disappointed to not receive job offers, excited to get positive feedback.  I couldn't have predicted any of that.

I also couldn't have predicted what both of those employers DID offer me: connections.  In both cases, they volunteered to connect me with their connections at other organizations for similar jobs.  What?!  Is this normal?  I didn't see it coming in either instance, and the first time I felt like it was absolutely extraordinary that he'd be willing to assist me further even though I wasn't a fit for his job, and the second time I was even more shocked to get a repeat of that offer.

(Both offers came from men, but before you get suspicious: one is a happily partnered gay man, and the other is a happily married man....and one of the people the married man is connecting me with is his wife!  No ulterior motives.)

Today I'm feeling pretty good about my prospects.  I had another interview yesterday, I have two coffee dates lined up to discuss additional prospects, and a couple of new jobs have come up that I intend to apply for.  I'm finding my stride, feeling more confident, getting good responses even though I don't yet have a position.

But I've had weeks go by where I feel like such a failure, such a sham, that it's hard to breathe.

Money is a big issue.  My savings is so small that to call it paltry is a stretch, and I'm guarding it anxiously, terrified that even a small problem could blow up into a big one - I don't have an extra $500 for a car repair or an issue with the house or a medical bill.  I'd be crazy if I WASN'T worried.  It's Christmastime, and I have to figure out how to have an extraordinary holiday with my daughter, while spending next to nothing.

I'm 44 years old, a cancer survivor covered in scars, a divorced single mother, and I'm unemployed.  Yikes.

My friends are all really successful people.  They have interesting, lucrative jobs, or they have jobs that change the world (interesting but less lucrative).  Almost all of them are partnered.  They drive nicer cars than I do, wear nicer clothes, go on fabulous vacations, have nicer houses.  If I compare myself to them, I feel panicky.  What am I doing wrong?! 

So I try to predict the future, to shape it, to control it. If I submit X number of resumes by Y date, I will get a job by Z.  I run the numbers constantly, playing with my budget, squeezing it, trying to make the numbers come out okay.  I'm on unemployment, and I can't tell you how happy I will be to cancel that, to earn my money again, and I try to predict when that will be.

The holidays are fully upon us, so it won't happen now.  Maybe January 1st?  No, probably January 15th at earliest.  Here's what I must do to hit that date...

But the truth is, I'm not in control.  The truth is, I can not predict the future, and that none of my predictions have come true.  The truth is, I'm a terrible fortune teller.

I thought I'd receive a call from the four-rounds-of-interviews job more than a week ago, and that it would be a yes (hurrah!) or a no (oh crap!) and instead it was a "we love you but we won't hire you but how'd you like to talk to X, Y, and Z instead?" - and I certainly didn't predict that.  I found a job that I was really into and I had an in, and so I applied and waited....and didn't hear back.  I found jobs posted online, where I had no connections to the organization, and I was asked for interviews.  Backing up from that, I didn't see my own employment on the horizon until it hit me: I doubled my boss's business in a year, made her successful beyond her dreams, and she laid me off.  I didn't see that coming, not even a bit.  I'm still reeling from it.  Before that? I really believed that if I was a Good Wife who Followed the Rules, I would have a successful marriage.  We know how that ended.  And before that?  I thought I would die from the cancer that attacked me.  And I'm here.

My smart, talented, successful friends keep telling me that I'm on the right track, that they're not even worried about me because they know that I'm going to get this, that I'm going to make this happen, that my story has a happy ending.  They tell me that they're proud of me, that they believe in me, that they'll keep connecting me with people who might help.  They all believe that they can see my future, and predict it.

Their visions for my future are beautiful.  They believe that I'll find employment, that I will be successful, that I will land on my financial feet, that my career will be wonderful.  They also believe that I will find true love, that I will find romantic happiness.  They say these things easily, and I see their truth: they believe what they tell me, they don't have the hesitation that I feel.

I'm still learning how to let go without becoming complacent.  I certainly recognize that there are no fairy godmothers waiting to wave a wand over me, turn my old Subaru into a Mercedes, drop a dream job into my lap, and land me in the arms of my dream man.  I know that to accomplish what I want to do, I have to keep at it: to put in more applications, arrange yet another coffee meeting, reach out to employers, friends of friends, keep building my skills through volunteering and the small consulting job I'm doing.  I know that to be the partner *I* would like to be, I need to keep crafting my life, being true to myself, taking care of my life, so that when the right man comes to me, he will see all of that and be as attracted to me as I am to him (because the right man for me will not be interested in inviting drama, financial insecurity, etc. into his life - he will like me in part because of how together I am).  So, I have to keep doing all of the right things...

...while I realize that I'm not in control, that it will come down to the universe helping me out.  I am clear in my intentions: I do not want A job, I want THE RIGHT job.  I do not want A man, I want THE RIGHT man.  So I will do what I need to do, and I will try to stop predicting the future, and wait for the Universe to send me to the right place, when the Universe is ready.

I am a terrible fortune teller.  I can't predict with certainty what will happen tomorrow, let alone next week or next decade, what twists and turns my life will take.  I'm trying to listen to my gut, care for my heart, keep my head.  I'm trying to do, while also just being.  I do both imperfectly.

But recently, I feel my faith returning.  I am going to be okay. I don't yet know how, but I believe that it's all coming together, and that I'm getting closer.  What's more, I *am* okay.  Happy and healthy, a roof over my head, food in my fridge, a beautiful daughter, lots of support.

The Universe is looking out for me, I think.  Maybe that's what optimism is: maybe it is the belief that there is something bigger than me, looking out for me.  I am an optimist, and I've long thought that it came from within myself, but now I see that it must have been planted in me.

So, I am trying to give up my fortune telling, recognizing that I haven't got a clue how to predict the future.  I'll keep dreaming, wondering, hoping...but I'm going to try to accept what is, remain in the moment, instead of getting too far ahead of myself.

Wish me luck with that, please.  And thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers about my employment.  I'm ready to change the world, and take back control of my own finances at the same time.  I'm ready to be a fabulous employee, and to move to the next stage of my life.



Do you try to predict your future?  Are you successful with that?  How do you remain grounded in the present, while keeping your heart full of dreams?  How do you balance the need to take control of your life through your own actions, with the understanding that there is so much out of your control?

No comments:

Post a Comment