Back in September of 2009, the company for which I worked suddenly closed down and I found myself unemployed like a huge chunk of the population at the time. For the next six months, I clawed my way through crowds of people to fill out applications in a way that would get me noticed. I emailed, faxed and hand delivered one resume’ after another. I endured the temp agency process only to be told I was too highly skilled and practically unhireable because of that. I prayed. A lot. And, ended up with only three interviews during that time. On one of the interviews, the interviewer told me that I was “perfect for the job – an exact fit for their description – and we’re going in a different direction now.”
It was a frustrating time and the longer it dragged on, the more freaked out I became. I eventually ended up in bankruptcy and with less money to my name than I’ve ever had since I turned sixteen and started working. That whole experience taught me that I can live on a lot less than I originally thought, that I need a lot less than I originally thought and I am able to make do with a lot less than I originally thought.
That experience is also what inspired me to go back to college and steer my career in an entirely different direction than it was previously heading. For most of my adult life, I was an executive assistant of some sort or another. It wasn’t my favorite, but I was damn good at it. And I could do it with my eyes closed. But it didn’t light me up so I see the entire process of losing a job, struggling to find another job and then choosing into school as a huge blessing.
Now, I am 1 1/2 semesters from graduation and I’m beginning to feel the crunch of fear. I woke on the edge of a dream that I had somehow landed in the middle of a company, totally unprepared for the job interview that I didn’t realize I was supposed to have. I thought I was just sitting in their waiting room, reading and biding time while I waited for my daughter to get out of school. Then, the owner of this huge company came into the waiting room and signaled for me to follow him – I didn’t know he was the big boss, though, until we filed into the conference room. I remember watching people walk past me in ties and suit jackets, dresses and heels and nylons. I remember my brain thinking, I am soooooo grateful that my life is designed so that I don’t have to wear dresses and nylons every day – or EVER if I don’t want to.
They positioned me in the center seat at the conference table and the young girl next to me, who had taken me under her wing, slid me a packet titled “For the Interviewee.” I slid it back to her, shaking my head, saying I didn’t need it. She leaned over and whispered, “You’ll need this, Angie. It has all the answers for the questions he’ll ask.”
The realization started dawning and the nausea of fear filled my belly and climbed up my throat as I looked around at all the unfamiliar faces. Sweat sprung out in uncomfortable places. My mouth grew dry. The conference table fit 24 people – every seat was filled – and more people were filing in every moment. I felt panic mounting as I wondered why all those people were in the room and my mind vacillated between excitement – thinking I had already gone through all the interviews and this was the final “introduction to the company” interview – and absolute sheer terror because I didn’t recognize a single face and, if I had interviewed before then someone should be familiar – yes?
I struggled to wakefulness when I sensed a presence standing beside the bed to find my youngest nephew eye-to-eye with me where I lay atop the high mattress that requires me to scale the bed frame to go to sleep. He was smiling big and I felt relief to know that I wasn’t in a conference room, facing the interrogation that I was certain was to come.
Thing is, although the dream was exaggerated, I am aware that my fear about what is next is growing bigger by the day. As I approach my graduation date – a day that should signify celebration and rejoicing for accomplishing a monumental task – I feel intense fear instead of joy.
I love being a graphic artist, healer and author and I have huge fears that it won’t be enough. Ugh… the ole “I ain’t enough” is surfacing again. Blah! As soon as I begin to think about the pending necessity of doing something with my degree, I freak out. I want to stay in school for the rest of my life. Somebody, please, pay me to be a student. Forever.
Perhaps it is time to get back in the swing of things – earning a continual, consistent income that is significant enough to cover shelter, food, necessities and maybe even a few extras. And, I’ll admit it… there are moments when I feel excited about that future, but those moments are rare. I wish I could bottle those moments for a boost in confidence during the bulk of my life when fear is reigning.