Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Job Searching

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. T. S. Eliot

I came across this quote recently and it really struck a chord... I am approaching the end of graduate school and the beginning of what comes next. It's difficult not getting caught up in the paradox of endings and beginnings, but I have begun to address the question--what next? Certainly paying off the loans for school will become necessary in a matter of months, so a job is inevitable. But I want more than that, I want a career that connects me with my edge, one that challenges me, is rewarding, fulfilling, a career where I can make an impact, where I am necessary. Typing these qualities into the job search criteria turns up little and so I am taking a different approach. I have to know myself and find what sparks these things in me so that I can cultivate them within my career. And even as I write this I am acutely aware that the search is less about a job, but about my place in this big bad world. My fear is less about finding the perfect job and more about being accepted, having something to offer and being responsible for where I take my life. It is about engaging my life!
I have taken up the daily practice of running--something I have long enjoyed because it gets me out of my head and into my body. The running, both challenges and successes, becomes a metaphor for what feels unconquerable in my life. If I can run the half mile up hill I can cold call a couple of recruiters. If I can run an extra two miles in 29 degree weather I can stop being afraid of fitting in and start getting in! If I can achieve what feels impossible than there is nothing that I can't do. For anyone struggling with what to do next, find a practice where you can challenge yourself, be successful, and get out of your head. I have a friend who rides her horse, another who does yoga, another who surfs and another who meditates. Figure out what works for you.
What is it about not knowing that is both terrifying and invigorating--like teetering on the edge of uncertainty and opportunity? Today, I feel ready, energized, excited about this beginning and ending. Today anything is possible and all I want to do is survey what could be...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

First Post

My intention with this blog is to have a place where we can dialogue around issues that students in transition face--leadership, change, decision making, cultivating a compelling life and career, getting involved, really anything that emerges.

For days now, I have had the image of a young woman standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon stuck in my head. She has climbed beyond the viewpoint and is standing with her arms outstretched, her toes teetering on the edge. I have been thinking about what a beautiful metaphor it is--so often in life we stay where we are safe and comfortable, where the signs designate our place. Rarely do we risk stepping out. I certainly don't want to advocate jumping fences and risking one's life, but metaphorically, how often do we walk to the edge? What is stopping us? Uncertainty, doubt, fear, ignorance... I think about people my age and how we struggle to make sense of life, work, spirit...it seems like so many stay behind the fence and never see all that is possible for them.

What is keeping us from digging into our passions to pull from them the work that we do? How do we live intentionally? I remember struggling after college to understand myself and what I wanted to do; I felt so alone, but now I see others at that stage struggling as well. I was trying to overcome a sense of entitlement and ease that is so pervasive in our culture, while attempting to develop a sense of leadership. I remember feeling so powerless and helpless when it came to impacting change in our world. I didn't know where to start! It wasn't until I began to engage my own sense of personal leadership that my life started to spark! Personal leadership comes from understanding our values, strengths, style and creating goals that are aligned with all of these. It is what gives us confidence to do what we feel most passionately about! It is what draws us over the fence, toes on the edge of our life, arms outstretched to take in all that is possible for ourselves!

How will you step out onto the edge?