If I’d Known You Were Paying Attention, I Would Have Put a Little More Effort into It
First thing today (after the usual morning rituals, of course), I called to check the status on a job application I had put in on Monday. The job was very nearly the same thing I do now, but benefiting alcoholics & drug addicts. Totally awesome! I’ve got the needed skills & experience because I’ve been doing the same type of thing for three years now. Plus, I am absolutely passionate about drug addicts! Always have been! Used to be because I had that thing in me which said I needed to fix the “bad boy” and the other thing which said I needed to live on the edge. Now, it’s because I’ve been there and it sucks and I want to do everything I can to prevent others from having to experience what I did and to show those stuck in the depths of despair that there is a way out.
I figure this job is right up my alley! Thing is, the position requires a Bachelor’s degree and preferably a Master’s. And between addiction, depression, marriage, kids, and financial constraints, I’ve barely managed to rack up enough credits for an Associate’s degree. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, though, right? So I beef up my resume and cover letter to showcase how I know how to do everything that the position requires and that I’m passionate about the subject matter. I cross my fingers & send it off to the organization’s HR person. And I wait.
Now, let’s back up here to a little over two years ago. My husband and I were going through a very rough spot (Seriously folks, when they say no relationships in the first year of sobriety, LISTEN! We’ve made it work, but it has NOT been easy!). I had been effectively sponsorless for about a year at this time, after I had to stop working with my previous sponsor for very valid reasons (but that’s for another time). I mean, I had a new “dashboard Jesus,” but we just weren’t clicking. I went to a woman with many years in the program who I admire greatly and asked if I could talk to her about what was going on in my love life. She had very publicly walked through some very similar events in her last relationship and I wanted to know how she dealt with it. She didn’t tell me what to do about him. She didn’t play Dr. Phil. She told me to sit my ass down and work steps. So I did. Immediately, I saw things differently! (Amazing how them step things work, ain’t it?) And I had a new sponsor.
I went back to her to discuss my findings and she started probing around into other areas of my life. Aside from sobriety, which always comes first, there are three big things in my life: my relationship with my husband, dealing with my kids’ father, and my job. At the time of this rough spot, I was really stressing over all three of these areas and especially my job. It didn’t make sense for me to hate my job, though, because it was totally awesome! I got paid a ton of money (for me), got to travel, and didn’t really have to do a whole lot. But the dynamics of the office really stressed me out. My sponsor pointed out that I wasn’t the happy person she used to know & asked why I was still working there if I was so unhappy. Management was going to change soon, so all I had to do was get through until my boss retired & things would be peachy. I just had to suck it up for a bit and it would all work out. She gave that little nod that folks do when they think you’re full of bullshit, but know they’re not going to change your mind.
So now, it’s been over a year since my boss retired and I’m still miserable. On paper, there is absolutely no reason to hate this job. But every day, I die a little inside as absolutely none of my skills are being put to use. I just feel like a placeholder for a place that doesn’t need to be held. And I am worth so much more than that! And that’s really the crux of the whole thing: this job makes me feel completely worthless. Yes, there are things I can do to be proactive and make things better for myself, but it all just feels like fighting a losing battle that I don’t want to win. Finally, it just got too overwhelming and something had to give.
I stopped staring at the brick wall and began looking for solutions. I didn’t want to go back to my old job. Though it was far more fulfilling that what I was doing now, it’s not something I actively want to do. Going back would, yes, I admit it, it would feel like failure. More than that, though, it would be just running away from where I am now and I am TIRED of running away! No, from now on, I’m only running TOWARD things! So where do I want to go? Where is my heart calling me? I scanned through the want-ads and anything I actively want to do, I’m not qualified for and while the qualifications I have would get me a fine job, it’s just that – a J.O.B. And there’s nothing wrong with a J.O.B., but it’s not something to run towards. No, I had to finally suck it up and admit defeat. I had spent too long gaming the system, trying to find a way to live the life I wanted without getting a degree. Heck, Steve Jobs didn’t have a degree & look what he did! Yeah, well you’re not exactly Steve Jobs, woman. The simple fact is that I honestly do NOT know as much as I think I do. It’s time. Yeah, it’ll take a while, but it’ll take even longer if I never start.
I applied at a couple of local state schools. The thought kept creeping in, “But what am I going to do with this degree?” Just shut up & take it one step at a time! You know the area you want to study, so study it. Somewhere between here and the 2-5 years it’s going to take you to finish your Bachelor’s, you’ll probably come up with something. (Yes, I have to give myself pep talks. Often.) I was resolved. This was my course of action. So I started looking up scholarships & grant opportunities. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do my damnedest to get it knocked out as quick as possible & that means full time school, not full time work. My pocketbook is screaming in fear and I’m not looking forward to the drastic lifestyle change this may mean for me & my little family, but I’m set on my decision.
And then I see this job listing. And it’s a step closer to where I want to be, but not, all at the same time. I’ll still be doing the same kind of work I’m doing now, yes, potentially in a better environment, but potentially not. The opportunity is exciting, but it’s still just another stopgap. I polish off the old resume & make it shine. I tell myself yes, this is where I want to be and I hit send on the email. Then all week I sit in dread that I may actually get this job. Yes, I can still take courses bit by bit (and I can actually afford them), but this job is just going to slow me down from reaching my goal.
So I called this morning to check the status and no, they’re not even going to consider me because I don’t have the degree the position requires. Whew!
So much of my life I’ve spent feeling like I’m nothing; that I don’t matter. So what if I’m not living up to my potential, not doing what I want to do. Who am I? All the while, though, you’ve been there watching me. Okay, maybe not you, specifically, but the people who love me and want the best for me. My sponsor’s words echo in my ears, “You’re just not the happy person you used to be.” I’m not the invisible nothing I always felt I was. Here, this woman I admired so greatly, yet didn’t know very personally had seen the change in me and was mourning it. What have my kids been seeing? My husband? My God?
I follow Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog Momastery and she asked for fellow bloggers to share their “messy, beautiful” lives. I thought, “Yeah, my story is pretty messy, beautiful,” so I posted my submission. It was just a short, little bit that I didn’t put a lot of thought into. And that day, my stats BLEW UP! I’ve gotten so many hits, likes, new subscribers from that one little post. And then I got featured on “Freshly Pressed.” And my stats BLEW UP again! I’ve got folks rolling through here like a freight train! And I’m thinking, “Man, if I had known I’d get this much traffic, I’d have put a little more effort into it!”
And that’s the truth of it. Y’all are watching. I am not alone in this life. I owe it to myself and the rest of the world to put my best effort out there and not settle for the things which slowly suck away my soul.
Thank you all for helping me to see this. ❤