Day 3 – Wednesday: Different journeys?

In the midst of this process, I am often amazed to discover parallels between my journey from a year ago and my journey today. In one of my journals from last year, I wrote: Piece by piece, I find myself pulling together the tattered edges of my life. They have become tattered through neglect and through simply not knowing how – or perhaps being willing? – to go at them in a more effective manner. Shades of the Al Anon journey.

Years ago, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. In 1998, I read Janet Woititz’s book Adult Children of Alcoholics, recommended by a family member who wisely recognized that we were, indeed, raised in an alcoholic home, even though the alcoholic was no longer present in the home (or in our lives for the most part). I was startled to feel like I was reading about myself. One of the things Woititz said was that adult children of alcoholics “guess at what normal is.” How true that is! Lately I’ve begun noticing more and more things that I don’t know how to do. I find myself wondering how others seem to do so many things with ease. I wonder what class I missed while growing up. I wonder what class I can take to catch up. I feel anything but “normal.”

I’m not sure what I meant by “tattered edges” last November. The entry was written just three weeks before I had my hyperactive, unhappy thyroid gland removed. The surgery brought blessed relief to my body and I suspect the transition in my health is what has enabled me to work at deeper levels in other arenas. Being freed from the persistent physical challenge has allowed me to notice more the things going on inside my mind, including the fears to which I turn my attention through this blog-journey. The first two days, I was focused on letting go of stuff I don’t need. This day I reached into other arenas where fear has held me back.

Wednesday was a day of attending to one of the bigger challenges in my present life – learning how to (effectively) search for work. I have a part-time job at a place I love and hope I will be able to stay there. Needless to say, though, having only one part-time job makes life a bit challenging. Thankfully, a friend recently introduced me to a wonderful organization, “JVS” (Jewish Vocational Services) in San Francisco (http://jvs.org). This organization provides a fantastic array of workshops and training to prepare people for finding work and it’s available to whomever needs the help and support, regardless of faith affiliation. There were two JVS activities on my calendar this day.

In the morning, I went into the City to attend a cover letter and thank-you note writing workshop. All through the workshop I thought about a recent application I had submitted. I had learned that I was not being considered for the job, though my resume “impressed” the hiring committee. After attending this workshop, I could see several things I would have done differently in my cover letter that might have given me a better shot at an interview. This part of my day was more helpful than intimidating. The scary part came later – the “networking event.”

I’ve never been to a networking event and the mere idea of going someplace for the express purpose of “networking” intimidates me enormously. I barely know how to socialize with a group of friends. For whatever reason, when I’m with more than one or two people – even friends – I quickly turn into a wallflower and disappear at the first opportunity. Being intentionally with twenty or so people to “network” felt most intimidating. But I’ve made a commitment to “job searching” and learning how to do it. The truth is, I know these events are also teaching me skills that will serve me well in the work I want to do.

After a hesitant start, I found myself rather comfortably visiting with a few different people at various times during the 90 minutes I was there. I had no expectations of finding a job connection at this, so I had let go concerns about how I presented myself and practiced just being me. I was nervous at first, but I’m glad I went. I didn’t stay long, but I learned enough to know I can do this – and to realize that I’ll get better with practice.

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