I’m getting the chance to put my strategies for beating the Dead Zone into action. I’ve been shortlisted for an interview! This should be a cause of celebration, and indeed it is. Then today I made a fatal error. I let myself compare my career path with other people’s. 

Someone’s engagement popped up on newsfeed, and someone else’s younger sister popped up on LinkedIn with an amazing job title and career prospects. Do you know this person? Do you want to connect? 

I would: I would like to connect to another life where I am ‘successful’ and some version of ‘normal’ (the pattern my cousins and old University friends are following, perhaps) and not celebrating a single interview for a fixed term job (not a permanent contract) because I haven’t had an interview in a while. Perhaps some part of me wishes that I, like all three of my younger cousins, could have met my husband at University and graduated, got married and settled in a flat and a good, steady job. But that is not how life works. Especially not when you’ve made the life choices I have. 

Here’s a good reminder of why comparisons are unhelpful, and that the struggle is real for everyone:

The article That tweet refers to actually inspired me. Rejections are normal. They shouldn’t determine your reactions. You can’t control a lot of things in life; how others treat you, or what happens to you, or if someone happens to be better than you when you go for a job. You can’t control what you go through, but you can control how you respond to it. Hiding behind ‘but it’s this thing’s fault I’m this way’ doesn’t do you any long term favours. I know that firsthand. So when I caught myself thinking, why isn’t my life like that? I knew I had to do something about it. So I decided to fall back on my active waiting strategy and enjoy my life the way it is – it’s the only one I have, anyway! 

Until I get the time/date confirmed, I can’t book anything. So I’m doing the preliminary research and checking out B&Bs, and contacting HR to see if I can get travel expenses paid (whole or part) as it’s pretty expensive to get there. 

I’ve also asked my social media network about things to do while I’m there, and I’m planning to stay overnight. I now have a list of 10 things to see, do or look for, and while I won’t be able to do them all I can aim to fit in a few things around the interview. 

My philosophy with that is, if I’m not adequately prepared for the Big Event by the day before, it’s game over anyway. Therefore, since I will be ready and prepared, I can just relax the day before, then do something fun afterwards too. 
Thinking I might not be good enough to get it isn’t going to serve me at all. It’s ok if I don’t: there are other things. I hope I’ve got more going on in my life than staking my identity on a job interview. That said, someone has to get it, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be me. 😉

There was a Twitter conversation today about self-doubt + jealousy + academic egos, and I want to tread a healthy middle ground. 

Now I’m just going through my work To Do list for this month and adjusting it to include interview preparation stuff. I’m making plans for my rare evenings off involving fancy dress parties and jazz clubs. I’m rearranging dinner dates (oh yes!) to spend time with my goddaughters, because if I do get this job I will miss them so much. 

There’s no reason why serious things need to be scary or stressful. Even in Unarranged Overdraft Land, living the ECR life of uncertainty, putting too much pressure on yourself isn’t going to help. This is the first interview I’ve had since last year, so I feel like I’m a bit out of practice. That’s ok. I know how they go. It’s not my first one ever. I desperately need a full time position with a decent salary, and I don’t say that lightly or in jest. I desperately need an actual job. That’s ok. I will get one. If not this one, something else. In the meantime, worrying isn’t going to solve anything, or guarantee anything. My faith helps: it’s part of why I am able to let go of worry. 

My resulting philosophy is that I may as well look forward to it as something enriching, regardless of whether I get the job or not.
Here’s to expectant waiting, positive attitudes and to not selling ourselves short. 

Re: interview, I’ll keep you posted…