Can I be frank? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to “be enough.” Or, rather, life has been forcing me to question this phrase. And, as I sit here in this adorable coffee shop, my mind keeps wandering back to this question.
It’s been an interesting summer. Working in the school system means I get summers off, but, because I don’t yet have a salaried/contract position, I have been looking for summer work as well as applying for classroom teaching positions for fall. Now, I don’t mean this to brag, but just to further explain my scenario – I started my first job in high school at 15 and I’ve been working ever since. I was always a diligent student, both in high school and college, and I worked to give both my academic and professional life 100%. (Don’t get me wrong–I’m a huge procrastinator and love spending time with friends, so there were many days that I didn’t start school projects til after midnight because I’d been out with friends. But, regardless of what time of day or night I was working, I always ended up being prepared on time although probably severely deficient in sleep!) I graduated with honors and good recommendations from my professors and my employer. Along the way, it never occurred to me that things in life would not continue to come naturally. My past experiences taught me that if I put in my best effort, I would be rewarded with what I wanted.
I know, I can hear how
spoiled self-entitled I sound.
Welcome, summer 2016 and the giant reality check you’ve given me. It’s been two and a half weeks since school ended and I’ve been job searching. I’ve applied at every place I can think of in this town. From clerical work to waitress positions, I’ve submitted my resume. I recently started looking online for telecommuting jobs like transcribing or proofreading. My success rate so far has been a giant zero.
I’ve also applied to 12 or 13 teaching positions, and every day that I check the employment page, I’m just seeing positions being filled by other applicants. Let me just tell you, the starry-eyed graduate who couldn’t stop smiling as she received her diploma last year did not anticipate this. At all.
Amid the rejections, I started feeling like there was something wrong with me. That I wasn’t…enough. And then, with a start, I wondered how on earth I had gotten to a point where I attached my value, my sense of self-worth, to the opinions of people I’ve never met. Or, perhaps more importantly, who have never met me.
To go even further, why am I attaching my self-worth to the opinions of anyone?
It’s a weird time in my life. Newly graduated, new apartment, new city. It’s very exciting and a little scary and I’m learning that with the thrill of independence comes a fear of failure. Or, the fear of being a failure.
So, this is where I am. I don’t have answers. I still don’t have a job. And I still don’t feel great about this. But, I’m learning to be very intentional about how I assess my value. Or, for starters, at least be aware of the unfair way I’ve been assessing my value. My employment status doesn’t affect my character. It doesn’t speak of who I am.
Anyone else dealing with these kinds of feelings? What do you do to keep your sanity and stay positive?
As I’m typing this, my childhood best friend is on a plane flying in to visit me for a long weekend, so I’m psyched to spend a weekend with her and let go of these worries for a few days!
One last thing–this adorable coffee shop is under the reign of this equally adorable puppy, who fell asleep under the table across from where I’m sitting.