Friday, September 2, 2011

The Long Winter of my Discontent


It was a form at the Dentist’s office that did it. One little word, which left me filled with a sense of inadequacy.

“Occupation”

And I had no idea how to answer it.

If that wasn’t difficult enough, even Master H has honed his own interrogation skills, asking me a few nights later, “Mummy, what do you do for a job?” – and, with that original innocuous inquiry still ringing in my ears, I almost cried that I had no answer for him. He knows what Daddy does, he sees his picture in the magazine and understands that is where Daddy goes off to each day and, in his opinion, “makes money to buy petrol”.

But me, I don’t know what he sees.  And I’m starting to lose sight of the image as well.

Both are simple, harmless enough questions to ask, but right now it is the most feared inquiry you could make to me.

Since May, when my husband accepted an awesome work promotion, it became clear for the good of our family I’d leave the company I worked 6 years for and find a job closer to home.  I’d always thought of myself as very employable. I’ve never had trouble getting jobs since I started my first part time job when I was at school.  My skills are good, I have a great CV and a couple of kick ass References.

However, it’s now September and I am no closer to locating this seemingly elusive opportunity.
Job hunting is humbling and humiliating all at once.  The once self-assured opinion you had of yourself eventually starts to erode and your confidence crumbles.  You question constantly “what is wrong with me?” and it becomes very easy to succumb to self-loathing.

With the dawn of each new day, I start out full of confidence and hope, announcing to the universe that that this day will bring something new and exciting to me, that good news is but an email or phone call away. Like a prospector, I search, filtering the possible from the impossible, and dutifully send off my cover letters and CV’s for anything I am qualified for.  But as the hours click over and it creeps closer to day’s end, with still no results to speak off, the merciless eddy of self-doubt swirls and lures me into its unyielding embrace. 

And now that I am putting pressure on myself to make some money writing, my passion for prose has started to wane.  When it was for fun, it wasn’t so hard.  Now the “bean counter” within me is screaming “you need to make money, and this is your only opportunity to do it via something you’d always dreamed off so you had better make this chance count!” And it cripples me, often to a point I find myself paralysed by expectation and perfectionism. The result?  Procrastination. Writers Block. The cyclical thought that I’m kidding myself if I think I might be able to carve a career out of this.  It cuts at me. And more self-loathing soon ensues.

But then when I hear myself whinging about the situation I think “who on earth would want to hire anyone who sounds as miserable as this?”

The universe, which has been a great ally of mine in the past with achieving dreams such as going to see Oprah live in Australia last year, is obviously all ears.

I’m clearly sending the wrong vibes out.  As Lady O orates “you become what you believe” and it’s no wonder I am not succeeding.  Because I believe I’m a resounding failure right now.  And that must also be the message that the Universe is hearing.

In an ideal world (and one in which I owned a money tree) I’d happily keep plodding along, putting myself and my writing out there but I have a sense of urgency about me now.  I need to get back to having goals and purposes that equate to earning money.  I need to stop flailing about in this land of limbo, I need to know the direction in which my life is heading.

Its character building, I get that. The universe is seemingly testing my mettle, or perhaps, optimistically, biding its time on my behalf until the perfect role reveals itself.  I’d sincerely like to think it’s the latter – and that it shows its face soon!

Now that winter, cold, dark, depressing winter, has slunk off for another year, I feel not only warmth returning, but slowly a renewed invigoration is seeping back into my mind.

So, farewell to the long winter of my discontent and a hearty hello to spring.  May you hold many exciting opportunities for me!

6 comments:

Mrs Catch said...

What a great post. There are so many women feeling this way. Thanks for your honesty.

Good luck with the job hunting.

kirri said...

Losing sight of personal identity and image is so common to mummies who have been at home for a while. We start to lose faith, confidence in our abilities and begin to wonder who we are and where our place is.

After 5 years at home, I just started my own business this year and while things are moving along steadily, gaining momentum. and my confidence has returned, I have moments when I feel sad that I did not always value myself as much as I should have when I was 'just' a SAHM. I know, we have to pay bills right but aren't we enough just as we are, right here in this moment?

Sheesh...intense reply for this early in the morning but your post really got me thinking! I guess thats the mark of a great post so thanks!

You'll get your break soon and I agree...sunshine always helps to inspire and motivate. Best of luck!

Seana Smith said...

Hello, I can so relate to you, from long ago when I had my first son and immediately moved overseas. I felt so lost and people kept asking me what my husband does.
Shockers.

Mind you, these days I deliberately fill in 'mother' under occupation. Why not? It's what I spend most of my time doing. If I'm in the mood I put 'mother, author.' The good thing about having a book published is that it feels a big achievement and even years later gives me a sense of identity. However, it's not a way to earn a regular income, or even much of an income.

I'd give you a job tomorrow if I had one going! I hope something comes up soon, so you have got some regular work... but still plenty time to keep pushing with the writing.

Tenille @ Help!Mum said...

I went back to work 8 months after my daughter was born, to a job that I only took because I was sick of a two hour commute to work. I'm flailing in this job, it isn't good for my career and I don't enjoy a lot of the work.

I feel stuck. But the thing that's sticking me, is me. I've lost confidence in myself. I recently missed out on an interview for a job that I know I can do because I just didn't sell myself enough in the application. I missed out on another because I didn't sell myself enough in the interview.

I don't know how to get that confidence back, but I know it's something that I need to work on.

Good luck with your job hunt. I hope you find the right fit for you soon.

Madam Bipolar said...

Occupation - Uber Blogger. That's what you should put down on the form.

MummyK said...

I went through this, and it was bad too. You'll get there. Keep at it, it will happen, and the blogazine is always there for you to send stuff to :)