Lessons from the Job Search & the Power of Shamelessness

I feel like starting this post with some sort of cheesy dateline. I was immediately triggered to say something in the style of Brian Fantana, “PANDA WATCH.”

So, this is JOB WATCH.

Lots has been happening all the while nothing has been happening. I’ve managed to get myself involved in a fair amount of therapy-related work through volunteer opportunities, but I haven’t had anything develop into an actual job offer quite yet. Even with that, no real tangible offer of full-time employment appears to be on my horizon. I’ll keep chugging along, though.

On a related note, it seems many people I know loosely through professional and social outlets seem to be thriving in their careers. I received this intel from a friend during a chat conversation today. We discussed the frustration we both felt from watching others, who we have honestly not been very fond of in the past, succeed where we have stumbled. My friend just got a job after a year of painful searching and now I am in her place, as she guides me through my roller coaster.

We began to discuss what qualities these people had that we had failed to cultivate into our professional identities. I had been sitting on this theory for a while as I’ve stretched my wings into the world of employment, so it wasn’t difficult for me to figure it out.

Friend:  __(Person)___ is getting a ___(AWESOME JOB OPPORTUNITY)___ in the ___(field)___ of the __(place of employment)__
Me:  ;wsefihuefwhulkjdsdaiwueyrpoe][q24iuewofiasfdhklaskdjhflkajhdfiuayretpiqerytqoieutoiwe
::bad word deleted for integrity purposes::
You know what it is. I’ve thought about this.
We’re not shameless enough.
Friend:  THAT’S IT
Me:  You have to be shameless to get ahead because people inherently trust others who have little to no self-doubt
I think our humility does not serve us.
Friend:  sigh.

I just cannot even.
Me:  I know.

I’ve talked about shamehere before. Shame prevents us all from reaching our potential. It’s the nasty voice inside of us saying, “No you can’t. You don’t deserve it. You’re not a good person,” and so on.

But I’ve never considered how it works into job security. Shameless gets a bad rep. We think of people who are shameless as people who would really do anything to get to their goals. While I think that is definitely true in the above example, I also recognize and respect the savvy approach these people have had from the very beginning that I have only recently discovered.

You kind of have to fake it till you make it. It’s the same premise in counseling – if you walk into a session and you don’t convey confidence and competence, your client will likely pick up on that and feel that you don’t have those qualities, even if it’s just a bit of nerves.

The same goes in job interviews. You have to convince the people you are speaking to that you are the most amazing candidate for X  job ever. You know how you do that? You believe it.

They say, “Can you do this thing that we want people with experience to do?”

You think, “Well, I’ve never done it, technically. I mean, I’m sure I could, but I don’t want to try and fail. I don’t want them to hate me for lying or fudging the truth.”

So you say something humble and honest like, “I believe I am capable of doing that, however, I don’t have hands-on experience with this process.”

WAMP. WAMP.

I have come to discover that I will only apply to jobs I am certain I can do. So, when I sit in front of that person and they want to know if I can do X task for them and if I have experience with X task, instead of answering with that grain of shame, I answer with something like, “I am confident I can do that task because I have done X task like that before.”

You have to get the job first. Once you get the job, you learn whatever insane thing you are supposed to know how to do. I believe I’m smart enough. If I applied to the job, I will know how to do it. In the meantime, I’ll just dazzle them with the stuff I’m certain I can do.

I’m learning to sell myself. It’s a weird feeling because I’ve shied away from sales for so long because I don’t want to sell people something they don’t want. The second half of the puzzle, which I have just embraced, is that sometimes, people don’t know what they want. It’s my job to convince them it’s me.

So, I’m getting all shameless up in here.

“My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything – even if you have no clue what you’re doing.” — Jessica Alba

The Right Job

I followed my dreams. I could have gone into any field (besides things that require advanced math like aerospace engineering or particle physics). I’m a smart girl. I could have done something like an MBA or an MPH or some other crazy, sexy degree. Instead, I chose this degree.

This degree inspired me to work on being a beautiful human being. This experience led me to meeting some wonderful friends, a great partner, and some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known.

This degree did not promise to make me wealthy. It did not promise to provide me security. Heck, this degree didn’t even guarantee employment. Some degrees are better at those provisions, but none of them make any promises about the future.

That’s not a degree’s responsibility. It’s my responsibility.

You know what else is my responsibility?

Continuing to grow as a human being. Continuing to work on things that will create a person I am continually proud to be.

So, I’m working on patience. I’m working on confidence. I’m working on faith.

I won’t lie to you all. I won’t sit here and say something like, “It’s a breeze! Jobs are a plenty! I’m turning down offers faster than I turn down pumpkin spice lattes!”

OK, so now you know I’m lying. I don’t turn down pumpkin spice lattes and I don’t turn down job offers. I wish I did both, sometimes.

I started my part-time job and I stopped my part-time job. There’s a few reasons I’m not working in this position anymore, one finger pointing at me and one at my former employer, so it all evens out anyway.

Turns out that because I follow my passions, almost to a fault, it’s hard to hide when I’m apathetic. It’s difficult to muster up the smile and say, “Sure, I’d love to do this job!” when really, I want to do so much more than this job.

I’ve got big ideas, big aspirations, and a lot of impatience. I want to set the world on fire, but I’m having a hard time sticking around to watch that kindle burn, nourishing the flame, beckoning it into something that is that all-encompassing spark I feel about what I studied and how I want to see it thrive in my world.

So, I’m going to start being intentional. I’m going to take the jobs that are right for me. The ones that will feed my soul and my well-being. I won’t be a picky jerk, but I won’t waste anyone’s time, either. I have a lot to contribute and I need to remember that.

It hasn’t been the best of times and it hasn’t been the worst of times. It’s just been a time, looking for that job that will set me on the precipice of my life. Give me the right tools and I’ll hopefully get everyone to feel as passionate about mental health as I do. Just you wait.

Inspiration

Right before the move, I was writing and publishing blog posts like an animal. Well, an animal if the animal could type. Some sort of deranged monkey (or depending on your beliefs system, just a deranged evolved human), perhaps, could write as much as I was writing. I’d wake up early, make myself my breakfast and a coffee and I’d get crackin’. I had a long list in my phone of post ideas that would spontaneously come to me out of the clear blue sky, just “BAM!” and then genius (or my version of it) would be born. Fingers would type keys and I’d have a post finished in no time.

These days, the sky is not as giving as it once was with post ideas.

I don’t want to be the type of blogger who writes just to write, because I don’t want to subject anyone to the mindless ramblings of my life about my cat, my boyfriend, and my search for work. So, I just don’t write five days a week, and that’s OK. I’m cool with that.

Although, no I’m not! Where did my drive and creativity go? Where did all my musings on mental health and the mind vanish off to? It’s not like my brain has stopped working… I’m still thinking – a lot, actually. So what gives?

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Well, while I was using the ol’ noggin of mine to think (as I often do), I began pondering about this conundrum and I think I have deduced what is ailing me on the creativity front. It’s not that my mind isn’t working, it’s that I’m not working.

I’m not one of those people (do they exist?) who conjure creativity simply from just existing. Sure, I am a creative being. I like to create very often, but my methods of creation are varied. I like cooking, painting, reading, writing, dancing, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, I often need a muse or a source of inspiration. Sure, I can dance like no one is watching, but usually I require a song to get the moves flowing. Same with this blog, I need inspiration.

I was working when I went on that tear of writing (I was also not distracted by Jesse‘s glorious presence as is known to happen on occasion, especially after 8 months of separation). My clients, my interactions with my co-workers, and the general environment of mental health practice kept the creative juices flowing quite liberally. So now, while I’m not sitting around idle, I am sitting around not counseling. That’s what this blog is about, the mind.

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So the good news is that I got a job counseling! I’ll be working part-time (it’s better than nothing!) and hopefully stretching my skills and nourishing my creative side a bit more. I will also be hoping to find something more stable (and lucrative) as the months go on, but this is a start.

So, yeah. I’m looking forward to being inspired again.

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