The Principle of Patience
A Personal Story (Part 2)
The Second Test in Patience
My first couple of months away from the work environment were like a breath of fresh air. I felt like I belonged to myself again. I spent time around people who made me feel uplifted, I was able to do as I pleased. While I had been dreading the possibility of missing out on regular income, I had had the foresight to build up a safety net.
And boy, did I take advantage of that safety net. I spent my time traveling to a dozen different states, enjoying the new sights and experiences. I made new friends. I spent time with my family. I traveled to Europe. I went to Asia. I ate so much delicious food. It was as close to perfection as it could have been.
And then my safety net ran out.
I was aware, of course, that my little net of savings would not last forever. However, I did not foresee the grinding halt that quietly sneaks up on you, only to hit you with a solid dose of reality. (Again, I plead naivety). It was time to place all my focus on one solid, crucial goal: to find a job.
I feel obligated to say that I have no regrets about how I chose to spend my first few months of my unemployment. It brought me back to me, and what is most important in my life.I was able to pursue my indulgences to my heart’s content- whether in the form of travel, time with loved-ones, or investing in my hobbies. It was, and still is, one of the brightest spots of my life.
I can say all of this now, confident in the reflection of all that happened in those past years. At the time, however, I cannot say I felt quite the same.
The reality of having no money is terrifying. Anyone who has experienced this would likely agree. I am extremely fortunate that, when the time came to shift my focus, I had a place to turn to while I began my hunt for the right fit. While my husband (boyfriend at the time) would go to work,I would stay home and research. And apply. Research, and apply….and repeat.
Day in, and day out.
Impatience Seeking “Perfect”
Employees Want Fulfillment; Not “Just Another Job”
After the unpleasant work experience from my previous job, I decidedly hit a mental “refresh” button. I no longer wanted to work positions that made me feel small. No longer did I want to feel under-valued, nor have that sense of dread in my stomach when I woke up on Monday morning. The expression my father turned to in times of doubt in his own career was this: if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. This now became my sole aspiration as I searched for my next position.
While I was unhappy with my overall experience at this previous company, I like to look at the situation as optimistically as I can: it taught me what I did want moving forward. (And what I didn’t). I wanted my work to matter. I wanted to be fulfilled from the time and effort I invested into my work. This next step would not be “just another job.” I was ready for something more.
I refused to settle for less. If the job listings I found were not up to my standard, I felt my day had been a waste. I was caught in a net of negativity, arrogant in thinking nothing was good enough, but still wounded and fearful that settling for less would only lead to more heartache from my job.
To say that “I applied to a lot of positions,” would be an understatement. If I blinked, I would see the “Indeed” search page burned into the inside of my eyelids. I dreamt of job interviews. My phone began to autocorrect the word “click” to “LinkedIn.” I had dozens of tabs open on google with various positions to apply to on the following day.
My days alone started to build up. My husband would go to work before I was even awake, leaving me to my negative thoughts and disheartened job hunting. Doing nothing for too long made me restless (and still does). The lack of productivity and self-sufficiency was grating against my personality. I was angry. I had no structure to my daily routine. My hunt for employment was starting to edge on desperation. Impatience was a thorn in my side and a rock in my heart.
Contradictory advice from others had included “don’t give up, the perfect job is out there” or “you’re being too picky. Choose from what’s in front of you.” Truth is, I started to feel defeated. I was being too picky.
So, I swung to the opposite extreme. I started applying for positions I didn’t really want. It felt like I had no other choice. I had no patience to keep trying, and just wanted to feel accepted somewhere.
Riddled with doubt, I figured it must be something wrong with me- not enough experience, not enough education, not enough not enough not enough. Yet, how was I to gain any more experience if no one was willing to give me a shot? How was I supposed to pay for more education, without any source of income? The vicious cycle had thoroughly taken over.
It had been three months. I needed a win. I accepted an offer to a job I had no interest in. Not to mention, the first 90 days of this position was for an unpaid internship. In a way, it was a relief to let go of my ideal desires. Yes, I had settled, I wasn’t even going to be getting paid. But it was something, right?
That was the first step in snapping out of the cycle of negativity.
Build a Better Cycle
Hope and Recognition Goes a Long Way
I was to start my new job the following Monday. I took the next few days off to decompress. It was during one of those days that I was hit with the second snap; the lack of patience that forced my hand, that had clouded all perception of my life to focus on the one thing I couldn’t achieve-I had lost all sense of gratitude for everything else. Everything I had accomplished, the beauty I was surrounded by, but couldn’t see.
Did I not just spend the summer exploring around the world? Wasn’t I depending on the support and reliability of my husband? What about my parents, my brother, and their never ending encouragement? How about the fact that staying home alone all day gave me the chance to work out every morning, refine my work skills through research and study, and even spend some free time enjoying my interests?
And just like that, I was back. Like a massive breath being released, the answer seemed to clear; keep going. I would take on this internship and knock it out of the park. In the meantime, I would continue to search and apply for jobs, finding a realistic balance between what was available and what I desired.
Patience was my friend, and together we’d achieve my goal. Trust and confidence in myself to see it through, were finally reinstated.
A very short way into my internship, I came across a job listing that made me smile. It made me think, maybe, just maybe this was the opportunity I’ve been waiting for all along. I applied for the position, and in the same afternoon, had my interview. After a few days, I was offered the job, and I accepted.
The internship was extremely understanding when I had to bow out early to fulfill my new role. My new job was a dream; not only was it remote, but the company followed the same personal and professional ethics I had been looking for, and my responsibilities are fun- it didn’t feel like work. I was ecstatic, and never let a day pass without showing gratitude.
Skipping forward in time a bit, I experienced a third trial in patience; though it was handled with much more finesse. COVID-19 was now a reality starting to strike the U.S. The world was on the verge of being at a standstill, stuck in a state of limbo. As a result, my part-time position was cut back to very part-time. Without forgetting to appreciate the fact that I was able to stay employed, I decided to supplement my missing income by finding another part-time position.
The frustrating cycle of searching, researching, and applying, returned. While I now felt familiar with this process, and had overcome some of the mental hurdles that come along with it – I was faced with new challenges brought to light from the pandemic.
It was during this time, I was able to connect with a position I had been floundering after for a year. Remember my negative job experience from the beginning of this story? At my time there, I was able to make a connection to someone who worked with an incredible coaching program. This person, this coaching, was a light in a dark place. Sound familiar by any chance? She reached out to me and said these three most beautiful words: “We are hiring.”
Sink or Swim
My New Beginning
I applied for the open position at Power Selling Pros (that’s right!) and made it through a 3 tiered interview process. By the end of the third interview, I felt amazing. This was it. I knew I could do this job well. I was excited, I wanted this job so badly, and it fit perfectly alongside my other part time position. When I saw an email in my inbox from the company, my heart was fluttering. I opened the email- to see that due to COVID-19, the company was not bringing on any new employees.
There was a tenuous moment here, of teetering on the edge of a cliff; if I lost my balance, disappointment lay beneath me. But I had done that before, hadn’t I? I had to take a step back from the edge, figuratively speaking, and look at the big picture. The world is going through an unprecedented event.
I understood that this was not a denial to my dream, but simply a delay. Life sometimes has a mind of its own, and I told myself that right now the waters are unsteady. I could either sink, or go with the flow. I moved away from that edge, and I chose to swim.
The year of 2020 wasn’t an easy one. I honor the fact that many have struggled. I myself have had many gray days, but not without finding a balance of appreciation and learning a valuable lesson in patience. The negative things in life are temporary; patience is like a continued breath that allows for fresh air to wash away the difficulties and wait for the better things to fill in the gaps.
It was sometime after the first wave of the virus was lifted, that I was contacted by Power Selling Pros, inquiring if I was still interested in the position, and willing to go through the interview process once again. The answer, was, of course, yes.
My patience paid off. Like any human, I have ups and downs and I am a work in progress. I have learned that resurfacing only brings greater strength, and these key virtues have uplifted me not only in my career, but in the person I am, and will become. It took over a year, and I now have work that is a dream come true. I wouldn’t change any part of my journey to be where I am now.
As this segment of my story comes to its end, I offer this encouragement to others whose relationship with patience feels battered: be kind to yourself. Lend yourself some appreciation, and extend that gratitude outwards to the people in your life- and beyond! Patience is the calm within the turmoil. Allow for the calm to reemerge as you follow your own path. Doing so will uplift where you currently stand and build a better cycle for yourself, your future employees, and the overall success you attract by simply having the right attitude.
Thank you for listening to my story.
Anya Charles, Power Coach and Writer at Power Selling Pros