So guess who still doesn’t have a job?… Surprise it’s me. However, I have had some improvement since last week. I went on an interview this week and have another two next week. I haven’t had an interview in a long time and I haven’t had a first date in probably the same amount of time, but I find it funny how similar first dates and interviews are. There’s the at home panic to get ready and look just right so the other person is impressed, including the right outfit, hair and makeup. Then you practice conversation in your head of all the right things to say once your in there and all the things to definitely not say. Finally, there is the time when you actually have to sit down and face the other person. In the case of my interview this week he was a young, attractive man, so it felt alarmingly similar to a date. You sit down and hope that they keep the conversation going because at this point if the conversation relied on you there will not be a second date/interview. And I know that I’m not crazy on this. I have talked to enough girlfriends to know that this first date panic happens to a majority of women out there. In my case in particular I think that for a date and interview my problem comes from being selfish. That may sound weird, but I’ll explain. Someone brilliant once told me that the most selfish thing that you can do in any given moment is worry about yourself. They didn’t mean worrying about serious problems that actually need our attention. They meant that when we are so consumed with worrying about ourselves, what we’re saying, if we look okay, if we look fat in the dress we’re wearing, that we’re not being in the moment with the other person or even engaged in whats happening. Paying attention to all the little things that could be wrong with us or the flaws that the other may or may not notice is inherently selfish. I know I do this all the time even still and especially on dates or interviews. I get worried about saying the right thing that sometimes I don’t even hear the question.
I’m reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth right now and it’s so good everyone should really read it. In the book Geneen talks about “The Voice” which is essentially what I’ve been talking about with the selfishness thing. The Voice is the inner critic (often modeled after prominent authority figures in our life) that tells us that we don’t look okay, or we’re fat, or what we just said was stupid and no way will you get a call back. And in my case, The Voice says all these things to me and then it keeps getting reaffirmed when I don’t get a call back or a second date. Another key thing that I have learned from Geneen is that when we grow up and are taught that people are valued not for who they are but for their accomplishments then you will learn to value what you do more than who you are. Then when you do not meet the criteria for accomplishments, The Voice steps in and tells you how worthless you are and you’re not good enough. This has honestly been a struggle for me, especially going through a time where I feel like I don’t have an answer to societies number one question of “what do you do?” Because for the last 17 years of my life my answer has been “I am a student.” Easy. And now my answer is either “I just graduated” or “I’m currently looking for employment” or how I really feel that “I’m unemployed.” None of those feel like good enough answers. However, I’m learning that I need to cut myself a break. I have worked hard for 5 years to get my degree and now I get a vacation and I’m not even enjoying it. I can do anything or be anything I want right now and that should be liberating, not horrifying. And while the answer to the “what do you do question?” may not seem good enough for some people, I am still enough. I’m realizing that my journey is just beginning and that’s the most exciting place in the world to be.