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...