It's been about a month since I've last updated, and really the only thing I've been working on is the job search. Like writing a book, it feels like a process of strenuous stillness—yes, I am constantly putting in effort and making progress, but no, there is no meaningful status change as of yet.
As my friends ask me about how it's going, or what the process has been like, I've settled on this basic explanation:
Seriously, though: I've had dozens of informational calls with recruiters/friends/colleagues, applied to 9 jobs, survived a cumulative 7.5 hours of interviews, and turned in take home assignment. Most of these conversations and interviews has been more pleasant than expected, but predictably exhausting in the aggregate. There are moments that make me feel confident and competent, and others where I am not sure I've ever learned or worked on anything at all in my whole life.
But surprisingly, my overall mood has been relatively positive and stable through all of this, which is maybe the result of a few ground rules I set for myself:
1) Work on only one or two things a day - this is a process that is largely out of my control, so putting in more work is unlikely to yield more results. I have tried to give myself permission to spend the rest of my time in my garden, going to the gym, working on whimsical side projects, absorbing media, or tackling small house projects instead.
2) Take the next step - I can spend a truly remarkable amount of time talking myself into or out of things, so I'm taking my own keys away. I am applying to anything that looks reasonably promising, and pushing forward with the process as far as I can. No room for wiggling out or overthinking it.
3) One problem at a time - a job search simultaneously forces me to confront everything I've ever done (or failed/chosen not to do!) while presenting a blank canvas for the future. This is more overwhelming than empowering for me, so I've tried to set some guard rails around the possibilities. I am in this state of transition because I decided to get a job, so that's my priority for now—not redefining my career, not rearchitecting my life. That can be the next problem to tackle.
4) Prioritize gentleness - thanks, Mary H.K. Choi.
Read in the last month:
- Donella Meadows - Thinking in Systems
- Nnedi Okorafor - Binti
- Jeff Vandermeer - Acceptance
- Marge Piercy - In the Men's Room(s): a particularly apt poem for this moment of ugly truth spills
Playing: Fire Emblem: The Three Houses (Black Eagles)