I made the decision to start looking for another job. Told my boss last week and yesterday I told my coworkers.
I’ve been here for just about 9 years, and while I love it here and I am deeply appreciated, I’ve reached a point where I want to find a job that means something to ME. Being surrounded every day by people who are incredibly passionate about their research and the work they do here has made me finally want something like that for myself – particularly as people come in and then move on after completing their PhDs or finding positions elsewhere in their field once they complete their post-docs. As well, in my case, there are such limitations to working in academia that I feel like there are simply no options left for me here if I want to do more with my life.
While this is scary – moving out of a position where I have felt safe to be myself, appreciated, and secure as much as working in a grant-funded position can be – I am also excited. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel the pressure to take the first thing that might tumble my way.
It feels incredibly good to have time to actually look for a job where I believe I can genuinely succeed and have a place to fit in and grow.
I know, without a shred of doubt, what I am capable of. I am exceptional at what I do and because of how damn smart I am I know I can pick up anything I might need to learn. So I know that if I apply for a job it’s because I’ve thought about what they’re looking for and I believe, wholeheartedly, that I would excel. I also know, after having been working for so long in a position where I can be myself, that I would never choose to work for a company that didn’t allow for (and encouraged, preferably!) individuality. So I’ve done my research in every company I apply for and I believe that I would thrive there.
I have to fight the anxiety that is nibbling at me, though.
My anxiety has me asking all the wrong questions. What if nowhere I apply for sees how great I am? What if everyone only glances over my resume and tosses it away because I don’t have the right buzzwords. The right job titles. The right level of education. What if no one wants me?
The fear is intense. No matter how much I believe in myself and that I know all I need is a chance, the fear is there. There is nothing I can do about it, either. I just have to hold on, and believe that right job is out there for me somewhere. Maybe the “perfect” job doesn’t exist, but I do believe there are many places that would be right. I just need the chance to find them.
My anxiety also rises up regarding my mental health. What if a potential employer goes looking me up on Google and finds this blog? It’s out there. It’s public. And I haven’t held back. And mental health is still something a great deal of people still stay sharply away from.
But at least here I have something to say. If a future employer does come to my blog and they find this particular post, I have something to say.
When it comes to my mental health I am going to stand here proudly. And I am going to say, “do you see what I am capable of doing? Do you see how strong I am? Can you see that I am a person who has been through a lot and has THRIVED?” I want them to see that I’m absolutely a person they would want to hire.
I believe in myself. Despite how it sounds, I do. I have to fight my anxiety and trust in that belief. But it’s also hard as fuck. So when the anxiety does get me, I ask people to reassure me. Remind me that I am awesome. Because I need that sometimes.
And as of exactly right now, I’ve just been turned down by one position.
So even though I know ALL THE REASONS I do not actually suck, I still kind of need to be reminded right now that I don’t.
I need to be reminded that I’m awesome.