Last week I received back an invitation to fill out an administrative questionnaire from the place I applied for a job at. I was immediately excited, because I am extremely confident in my ability to express myself in writing.
The questionnaire had your basic questions.
Organization skills (it asked me to go into detail!).
Why am I interested in the institute?
How do I handle mistakes?
How have I influenced someone with whom I have no authority over?
What do I do during slow times?
Describe my ideal next role.
Why am I looking to leave my current position?
And the question that led me to a lot of thought:
What are your long-term career development goals?
It’s a question I’ve never truly thought about before. A job was always just a job. It hadn’t been until the place I’m at now where I really started to feel differently about that. And it hadn’t been until the last few years that I started to feel an urge for something more.
So I sat back and thought about that question. It brought me back to thinking about that concept of VALUES. What matters to me? Why am I leaving a job I love? What do I want in my future?
Why did I start this blog? I feel so much anxiety about future employers finding my blog, and yet I have it out here for a reason. Why?
Everything else felt easy to answer. Everything else left me feeling confident. But for this question? My answers here left me feeling PROUD.
What ARE my long-term career goals?
1. I would like to secure a position with the potential for promotion within a company I enjoy and respect.
2. I would potentially like experience exploring fields such as public relations, advertising, or other communications and community-focused career paths.
3. I would like to inspire a culture of change wherein certain still stigmatized disabilities (such as anxiety) can be openly discussed and seen as a show of strength and of thriving.
I can’t believe I said that. While applying for a job.
Every blog or mental health advice I’ve seen has said STRAIGHT UP that a person should never disclose mental health disorders during the hiring process while applying for a new job. That it would be detrimental.
But, why did I start this blog? To break the stigma about talking openly about mental health.
How can I stay true to the person I am trying to be if I don’t try to do just that?
My current job taught me how good it can be when I can be open about my mental health. It’s not hard for me to see that it’s a huge part in why I have been here as long as I have, why I have succeeded here as much as I have, and why I have stayed as happy here as I’ve been.
(It’s those other two career goals that I can’t achieve if I stay here, though, which is why I am leaving.)
Anyway. Knowing that? Why would I want to work somewhere in the future where I’d have to go back in time to when I’d suffer in the workplace because of my mental health?
Discussing this stuff is hard. Being open about it is terrifying.
But I believe, with everything I am, that my experiences with my various mental health disorders have helped me get to where I am now.
I’m strong. And I’m thriving.
I want to inspire others to believe that they don’t have to hide. My mental health isn’t WHO I am. But it’s a part of me. I don’t want to have to hide it. I don’t want anyone else to feel like they have to hide it, either.
Today I got invited for a conversation with the person behind hiring at this company. I have a good feeling. I wouldn’t have applied otherwise.
Wish me luck for the next steps!