Woke up around 8:30 this morning, turned on the ol' 'puter and started catching up on some blogs. My friend, Tickle the Pear, had posted a piece about her Saturday activities. I'm reading along and I find myself befuddled. She's describing everything in the present tense and it's not even 9:00 a.m. yet. I'm thinking, "how did she do all of this today and write about it before nine a.m.?"
Finding myself in a state of confusion (and realizing I'm not quite as awake as I'd like to be), I start to wonder what day of the week it is. Then I realize, it's Sunday. Not Saturday. That was yesterday.
I've gotta get a job.
Speaking of getting a job, I finally met with a career counselor last week. I have a bunch of homework and a follow up meeting this coming Friday. I'm trying to be humble in all of this, in the sense that a lot of what she told our introductory group about how to craft resumes, what to say/not say in a job interview, how to network, etc., is stuff I'm already doing or am known to be good at.
That aside, I'm trying to approach this with an open mind for what I can learn and how I can succeed at securing a job that stimulates me intellectually, allows me to contribute to making a difference in my little corner of the world, and provides me with the means to continue living the simple, but comfortable, life to which I've become accustomed.
Speaking of success, I know I cut an impressive figure when I interview and new employers are always excited to have me "join their team," but then I end up falling down and disappointing them miserably with my performance. I'm not entirely sure what happens between Point A and Point Z. What I do know is, the confident, think-outside-the-box, forward-looking, leader and producer I brought to this town five years ago is not the woman I see in the mirror now. Now, I'm a navel-gazing, doubting, hold-my-hand-and-lead-my-every-thought-and-action, ineffective lemming.
I'm not exaggerating. I'm being serious. (And I'd appreciate it if everyone reading this would take me seriously for a moment.)
Somehow, I have to overcome that. I want to blame it on the culture that is pervasive in workplaces these days where we fail to mentor and we expect the sun, moon, and stars from people from day one. But I'm tired of that excuse.
I want to blame it on the fact that I've worked for really insecure, political people who can't handle it when the people around them outshine and outperform or push the envelope. But that's an equally tired excuse.
I discussed this with friends at a brunch yesterday and what we concluded is this: there are managers and there are workers. In today's work set-up, managers aren't managers anymore. They're expected to be managers and workers and you can't do both. The result is, people-managing and -grooming suffers. And yet, that seems like a cop out, too.
I'm beginning to believe it's entirely possible that I'm not as smart as I've believed all these years. Rather, what I am is charismatic and articulate, but not savvy and intelligent. (Before you protest that, think about it for a while. I have. What I lack is intellect and erudition, but I've managed to cover it up with intelligence, articulation, and charisma. Protest all you like--and I love you for your passionate attempts to dissuade me otherwise--but that's the cool, steely reality.)
But getting back to the first sentence in an earlier paragraph: I have to overcome that. I have to find that "thing" I do best that allows me to thrive and be the employee/leader I was five years ago. I miss her and, frankly, I hate the employee/lemming I am today. I'm tired of feeling weak and timid. I'm tired of appearing sharp but then being dull.
Unfortunately, I've worked myself to a place of income where I need to make what I was making as an ineffectual lemming if I expect to meet my adult financial obligations--a mortgage, a car payment, utilities, insurance, some modest financial investment, pay off of my exorbitant student loans, etc. and maybe a vacation or two every few years. The jobs I'm contemplating and know I would be successful at don't pay the kind of salary I'm looking for. Not by half.
And that raises another question. How do people in the D.C. Metro area make less than $40,000/year and live on that? Even if I was making what I was making when I left San Francisco--which was more than $40K--there's no way I can manage on that. (And I know what you're thinking. I don't have to, because I have my other half. But when evaluating finances and monetary growth and security, I try to look at it from a singular standpoint as a baseline.)
All that to say, I need to get a job.
But before I can be any good to anyone, I need to get around and over and on top of this foreboding sense of doom that is wrapped up in feelings of utter inadequacy, stupidity, and outright inability to perform to expectation.
Ain't no job can work that out of me, but me.