A nine-week hiatus has come to an end. It wasn’t an easy stretch, however I rarely felt compelled to write. It was a level of overwhelm that I haven’t experienced before.
Usually, when things begin to bog me down and stress me out, I can retreat into my creativity and turn the negative into a positive. But this last time was different.
Surprisingly, the COVID-19 epidemic was not a primary stressor. At least, not directly. I was more affected by the residual effects of the virus. Work changed. We kept less people, roughly 40%, to deal with 70% of the usual sales markers. Do more with less.
I was asked to take a pay cut. No problem, I thought, the entire country is either being furloughed or doing the same. Until other essential workers were being given hazard pay, even for short periods of time. I hated myself for complaining about it, because I knew there were people who had it worse. I could have been laid off. Or worse, sick with the virus. But the principal of it bothered me.
A billion-dollar company shouldn’t be restricting the pay of it’s hourly employees. Period. Anyway…
The usual soul-suck of my job became a full-on whirlpool. It was spiraling out of control, and the virus made it feel like there was no end in sight. No one was hiring. No lifeboat to come pull me out of the water.
Every job I applied to either didn’t call back or, when I called them, never responded. Which leads me to my first major lesson of this year: everything is happening for you, as long as you’re paying attention.
A job I had applied to shortly after going back to Louisville emailed. A job on a lake in the middle of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. It was hot and cold for a bit, but in late May, things got hot, and quickly. I had a phone interview on a Saturday, a video interview that Thursday, and by the next Saturday, I was packing my bags to move across the country.
I can say now, with the obvious benefit of hindsight, that those jobs that never reached out not only missed out, but they were never going to be for me. Because this was the job I really wanted. A chance to start fresh in the state that I wanted to live in, living out in nature and working in the same.
So, as I type this, I’m sitting in my cabin, on the lake, preparing for my weekend. It’s been challenging, and I never expected it to be anything but. However, it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m surrounded by good people, who have interesting things that they do on the side.
One is a woodworker, one does glass blowing, another forges knives, and another makes crystal necklaces. There is so much opportunity to learn here and I plan on taking full advantage. This isn’t my final stop. But it’s a chance for me to find my final stop. Not in my life, but in my career.
It’s the first time I’ve been comfortable with the fact that I’m almost 30 and still don’t know what I’m good at. It’s not that I’m okay with it, but I finally see the path forward. A chance to start from the ground up and commit myself to BEING good at something.
I am a caterpillar. New, young, learning. And I will evolve.
Photo by Bradley Ziffer on Unsplash