It is easy to get lost and forget who we are and what makes us happy. It wasn’t always that way. When we were born, we knew deep in our marrow exactly who we were and we lived it because, thank GOD, we didn’t have a choice. Not very many days and months into our sweet new lives others’ words began to shape us. People are unaware of the power of words like those that shaped my early life…”tomboy”, “stubborn”, “skinny”, and “willful” were a few.
I was reminded of that “willful” word as we walked my son’s twins up the hills of his trendy San Francisco neighborhood. From the time I walked into the birthing room just a year ago and peered into that bassinet, I recognized in one of them something so familiar. She was ready to get out of there! Nature has cooperated and now, she is off and running. Her “willfulness” is who she is, and with love and support from her family, she will learn to treasure it.
Words are incredibly powerful and shape our our sense of self, but they cannot ever fundamentally change who we are. The more critical those words, the longer it may take us to shake them or redefine them to bring ourselves back to what we know in our hearts and souls to be true.
When you are faced with life transitions and asking yourself what you want and need in a relationship, love, career, artistic expression or in asking where you want to live, you must listen for the moments when you feel the joy and happiness that were part of you from birth. You need to pay attention when you are filled with that certainty again that makes you want to dance with joy. You’ll know it when you feel it, but only if you take the time, open your eyes and your heart and leave your smart phone behind!
Have you ever seen a psychology experiment with a mouse in a maze? It is really painful to watch. That poor little creature, excited by the smell of food runs into walls, backs up and does it again and again, until finally, bruised and battered he reaches his goal. That is exactly what looking for a job feels like for most of us.
Most often, the only way to apply is through an online application never touched by humans. “Genius” software scans them in milliseconds looking for “keywords”. Of course, what they find are scores of applicants who know how to create resumes and cover letters that say zero about who they are because everyone is filling every nook and cranny with those keywords. Try reading one of those resumes one day and see if you can feel anything at all.
When I was new to the Bay area a few years ago, my friends from “away”, bless their hearts, were all saying the same thing. “Donna, just call ___________, or go by there and ask to talk with someone.” Believe it or not, you used to be able to do that, but not today. Human Resources Departments are behind lock and key most of the time. They would tell you it is to protect confidentiality and information, but the real reason is because people who have been trying to submit online applications to no avail, and the unemployed who have sunk into deep depression finally come looking to see if there ARE any human beings there and sometimes, they bring baseball bats.
So, what can you do to humanize the job searching process? First of all, remember that the best way to find a job is to have one. When you are in the job market, it is often a good idea to accept a position that might be less than you are seeking. If it is in the same job arena, it is more likely that you will hear about job openings, know about upcoming changes in that industry resulting in additional jobs, or talk with coworkers who are leaving the area or the workforce.
Personal networking offers the breadcrumbs to most job hires. It is truly “who you know” or at the very least getting to know people in your job arena that will land it for you. Most importantly, just being with other people is necessary and healthy for job seekers. In addition to possible leads, it helps you stay more positive and hopeful while you search. Get out into the world, even if it is just to your favorite coffee shop or Meet Up group.
Your cover letter is the most crucial piece to your search. Even if you want to up your odds by using keywords, be sure the letter is clear, the grammar correct, and that it contains a bit of your heart. In the end, it does matter to most employers that you have both a heart and a brain, so tell them in a heartfelt way why you want to be part of their organization or company. If you have passion about the work, and here’s hoping you do, be sure they know all about it.
It is almost 8pm and the phone guy is still here. At least I know it wasn’t some hair-brained thing I did and he won’t just flip a switch and say, “You just had this hooked up wrong. That will be 99.00 please.”
It is amazing how completely cut off we are when our phones and emails aren’t accessible. As much as we can know we are dependent on them, only when there is no communication with the outside world does it come home, this addiction to connection.
Yesterday I was out on a sailboat with a man I loved. We anchored in a harbor overnight at Treasure Island and underneath San Francisco’s amazing new Bay Bridge. Herons, pelicans and this amazing light-filled work-of-art bridge of ours was right overhead. You would think that nobody in their right mind would want to be connected to anything except that moment. In between pelicans splashing I would go below to check my phone and turn on Pandora for a “little bit of night music”. I still needed the connection, wondering what might happen if I truly dropped out.
Today when I returned to dry land, all my internet and phone “towers” were blinking as if they were teasing me. Red lights flashed, green ones sped up and down the front glowing, disappearing and clearly having a techno-seizure. I knew it didn’t look good. The worst part was that calling India would be my only recourse. Surely enough, after India, I was routed back stateside and tonight, my knight in shining armor arrived with his tool belt and his bright orange telephone company shirt and gave me back my longed-for connection.
While I was helpless and alone, I took care of non-techno things that had been screaming for my attention while I was too busy connecting. My Brita is now free of deadly mold, summer clothes are put away awaiting California’s summer warmth, and my fridge is “Mom-worthy”. Not bad for a disconnected soul, but I am here to say that I am glad to have it all back so that every time I wonder about something, I can Google it and KNOW!