I thought I had a plan
I’d thought, while I was travelling, I had a foolproof plan, and when I came back I would simply implement it. But on the train to Leeds for a job interview I was outrageously not qualified for, with a landslide of my own doubt about whether I actually wanted the job, or indeed ANY job, the plan was in shreds.
I’d thought it was a genius idea to become a part-time Healthcare Assistant. Get on the ground experience of the NHS I could use when I became a Healthcare Designer. I couldn’t wait to get started, I googled possible jobs in my friend’s bedroom in South Korea unable to put my phone down, too excited to sleep.
But when it actually came to trying to apply, I couldn’t do it. I found a suitable position and I started writing my application, but it felt like I was selling such a heavily pruned set of skills, it wasn’t ‘me’ anymore. I wasn’t particularly qualified for the job itself, and to even apply to the job I had to side step the vast swathes of skills I actually do have. And somehow, I left the cafe and never applied.
I cried out in joy when I found out about the Healthcare Design Masters course. This was IT! And yet a few weeks after accepting my offer, I pulled out…£10,000? It’s not going to get me where I want to be.
Admitting I didn’t have a clue
On a windy, reasonably warm day in March walking down the canal…I admitted to myself I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know what would bring me joy. I didn’t think I had all the answers anymore. My grand plans were in tatters. I didn’t get what I wanted, but far more serious than that, I started to question if I wanted it. I had a job offer on the table that should have been ideal. Not my number one dream job, but a good solid place to start. And I was terrified. I strongly didn’t want the job. It made me feel trapped.
Throughout that whole day, I fantasised about running away from this life. Living in a tent, possibly nomadically camping on the hills or on a friends land. Doing yoga outside every day. Being connected with the seasons. Having the time to do ceramics. Something about it felt really right. I was overloaded. I was on the threshold. I went through the motions of the day and was amazing I didn’t collapse. I told my housemates I had some decisions to make. I hoped it would be clearer in the morning. I cried openly and piteously in bed.
Taking the job
The first thing I thought was ‘take the job’ but I didn’t know what it could mean. I’d basically refused the only job offer I had. I started to consider life without taking the job…Time had been marching by, and I’d have to start the process of leaving my nice house if I didn’t find a job within the next week or so. I couldn’t justify the rent. Sure, I could live in a tent. I could move back in with my parents, but what the fuck else would I do then?
I called my parents, they said I’d be crazy not to take the job.
I rushed upstairs and accepted the job. I felt relief. Taking the job was much less scary than charting the unknown darkness of my own uncertainty and forging a new life from scratch. I wasn’t ready to live without the certainty of a career yet. The job would be a wind barrier to protect all the young shoots of yogic and Mother Earth centered endeavour which I knew were ultimately so much more important.
Taking the job freed me in that moment. But it was also a promise, to myself, that I will get everything set up so that when a year swings by and the spring shoots are shooting up, my spring shoots, with a full year of growth behind them, will not be stunted by a propagator they have outgrown. They will feel the wind on their bodies and, still gently sheltered by my savings, they will learn to stand on their own two feet.
Two conclusions of the job search
The real one? I don’t want a job. Any 9-5 will not allow me to devote myself to discovering my true power, listening and responding to the depths within. Office jobs were created by patriarchal capitalism and nothing within them will solve the problems we face today. They encourage imbalance and are perhaps the primary source of distraction and disconnection in the world. Sticking people in a large climate-controlled room in front of large screens is inhuman. It rips us away from our birthright, our connection with the natural world. The only way to survive is to put a tranquilliser dart through the pain and numb ourself to the experience. My prayer for myself was: may I survive.
The nice a tidy and the one everyone is expecting me to have? Two years isn’t much experience. This is a great job to get some really solid experience at an established company so you’ll be able to get exactly the type of job you want next time. You were just aiming too high too soon. A year is the minimum you need to really learn something in a job, stick it out and in less than a year you can be applying for jobs with a stronger “social good” focus and get your dream job. Today new job, tomorrow the world.
Maybe both of them have truth in them. One has more power. Maybe I’ll be strong enough to say yes to the dark unknown next time.