As I shared earlier this month, I am currently applying for jobs again.
It is during this period that I need to be particularly wary of keeping my idealism in check.
Don't get me wrong, part of me loves my dreamy idealism. I'm pretty sure he contributes to my imagination, creativity and being able to truly involve myself in a book or a movie, to immerse myself completely, to feel like I'm there, to wear the shoes of one of the characters. I'm thinking about the time I dreamt I was at Hogwarts, or the hours I spent engulfed in Prison Break's captivating Season 1, when really I should've been revising for my final exams.
When it comes to writing stories, I welcome him with open arms.
But there are other times when this dreamy idealism does not serve me so well at all. It needs to be managed.
Otherwise, for starters, I probably wouldn't physically apply to any jobs otherwise. You see, I've become very used to the idea of being my own boss over the course of recent years; envisioning a time when I can be completely independent, self-sufficient, and don't have to rely on any employer. Where I don't have to be told what to do, have no manager to be accountable too, no sh*tty office politics, no travel to and from an office, wasting 2-3 hours each day on London trains. #NotCool
I can then also lament about how much I just want to be a writer, making money from my writing, and being at that point in my life right *now*.
Before I even know it, I've told myself that I really don't want a job or, even more than that, that there is no job on earth that I could possibly enjoy. That I can *only* be fulfilled when it's just independent me, making my own money.
Looking at both the 'employee' and the 'independent' scenarios, I'm actually idealising both (and idolising one). I'm making broad assumptions which just aren't true. Things just aren't as black-and-white as I picture them in my head. The reality is different to my imagination.
Therefore, a dose of healthy realism is really, *really* good for me. And also a dose of letting go of the past.
You see, I was working in a job that I found increasingly mundane, exhausting and unfulfilling. Sales. And, I coped. Not only did I cope, but I also had an 'Employee of the Year' award one year, for my hard work. And, you know, it wasn't by any means *all* bad.
I had routine in my life, and I colleagues who were largely pleasant, even if not completely my cup-of-tea. (We're a fussy breed when it comes to friendships, us INFPs & INFJs), and I got to connect each day 1-to-1 with a variety of different people. I got to leave the office and attend meetings, not being chained to my desk all day.
This time around, 4 years late, I now know more about myself and the sorts of roles that are more, well, *me*. I'm looking for content & community-management roles, two things I really enjoy doing. "But, working for someone else means that _____" - it's so easy to find the faults in everything. To feed myself this narrative that every job sucks. This is a dangerous, and false, narrative to keep reinforcing.
It's just that I've gotten so used to the idea of doing 'my own thing', of the fact that this is the way that I want to go and this is absolutely what is meant for me, that I am denying myself the wonderful opportunities and advantages of working for someone. As if being an employee is a lesser thing.
I've fallen for my own false narrative. The truth is, what I'm imagining in my head, as is often the case for a mega-idealist, isn't how things generally turn out to be in reality.
Right now, I'm in a place of uncertainty and limbo. I'm looking to start working for someone again, in a role I've not done before as an employee. (Though, I've been writing content for over 4 years now, and increasingly been involved with communities in that time, often as an active member who has slowly just 'figured out' how this whole community thing works. So there's the adjustment to a new way of being, and imposter syndrome and self-doubt and all that other sh*tty stuff to deal with right now, too.
I need to remind myself that I *survived* in a job I pretty much fell into, recruitment sales. Stepping into a role that I feel is more me, that I'll inherently enjoy more, will only mean that I am pretty much guaranteed to have a better experience as an employee this time around.
Not perfect, what is? Us idealists have these unrealistic expectations of perfect which let us done because our realities don't live up to these ideals. Or, I'm speaking for myself anyhow.
Getting a job for me really isn't that bad. It'll provide me routine, an income, support & social interaction, a variety of work I find engaging. All ticks there.
Yes, I'll need to make sure that I manage my energy, and still make time for my writing and other areas of my life that I'd like to lean into, and that nourish me.
But, long story short, I will be absolutely fine.
I am choosing to trust the universe and the fact that whichever job I end up in, will be exactly what I am meant to be doing at this moment in my life.
I am consciously keep my idealism in check throughout this process, as I know there is no perfect, 100% correct job out there. But the thing is, whereas 100%and perfect doesn't exist and so I was tripping myself up before I was even getting started, I know that 80-90% and 'good enough' *is* absolutely possible.
And, you know what?
That's realistic. And, actually, it's perfectly alright for me, thank you very much :)
I feel like I'm trapped in somebody else's master plan.
Go to school, get a job, get a mortgage.
All I'm really doing is dying.
- Avicii (Tim Bergling), I Could Be the One