The Difference A Year Makes

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Throughout my life, I have continuously heard the saying that “the grass is not always greener on the other side.” And as I’ve gotten older, I have had to learn this the hard way too many times than not.

A year ago this week, I was about to begin a new career with new opportunities, making more money than I ever had in my life and taking on a role that I hoped would be a great move for me as a writer, a communicator and a public relations person.

I was leaving a job that I believed would probably have never gone anywhere financially and career-wise, even though it was hard to leave what was the most incredible team dynamic that I had ever had the privilege to work with throughout my professional life. It was truly one of a kind.

But within only weeks of starting it, I realized it may have not been the best decision at all. This job ultimately turned my life upside down after being deemed “not good enough” for the role.

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Now, looking back on the whole ordeal, while everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, I know that I am much better off for having to walk away from that position, quietly into the night. Because from that experience, some may find it hard to believe but I was able to find my voice, stretch my wings and re-evaluate my career choices and ask myself – what kind of job did really I want now since I was given a blank slate. So I tried my hardest to leave my options open as far as the positions I applied for, the jobs I discussed with recruiters and the people I networked with every place I could, i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, previous employers and former college and high school classmates.

The last three months of 2013 and the first two months of 2014 were spent furiously searching for a new job. But when I finally left that job for good, it was two weeks before Christmas and as I was driving home that day, I realized what kind of inadvertent blessing I had been given at this moment. For the first time since both my boys were born, I would have an uninterrupted ‘vacation” with them minus the time I would go on job interviews. So here I was getting this chance to spend time with my kids at one of the best times of the years – the holidays.

I had become so wrapped up in my own self-pity and job searching that I had gone on auto pilot when it came to the holidays. And that day driving home, the weight of all the worry and stress was lifted for a split second as I realized that it was Christmas and I was going to get to spend it with my husband, my boys and my family.

But for a mother of a then four-year-old and two-year-old not noticing Christmas shouldn’t really be an option because life moves too fast and before I know it my little boys won’t be little anymore. While still working at the job, I smiled when necessary, made arrangements for the boys to see Santa, bought presents here or there, but never really contemplated that it was actually Christmas. Because how could this joyous time of year continue when I’m miserably and begrudgingly out there looking for a new job?

But now seven months later, I look back on that time and hope that I have chosen to learn from my mistakes and insecurities, strengthen the faults I noticed along the way and just grow from everything that happened.

When I started my current job, all I could do was wait for the ax to fall because this one event in my professional career had changed my way of thinking about jobs, employers, bosses and performance. Perfection was the only option and there was no room for failure, mistake or even marginal error.

But leave it to my husband to one day sit me down as I cried about doing horribly at my new job. He looked at me lovingly and simply said, “Babe, they are not all going to be like that one. You have to let that go and just be yourself.”

The difference a year makes… new job, career change, new coworkers, new standards, new bosses, etc… But this job gives more of the vibe that it could eventually be a comfortable fit and give me a place to hang my hat for good. This is a good thing because I don’t know about everyone else, but I hate job searching, job interviews, resumes, cover letters, schmoozing for jobs and everything else that comes with finding a new job, especially when you don’t have a job.

Twelve months ago, I saw my life very different from where it is today. But I’m okay with that because the dust has long settled, the stress and worry has finally started to subside and the idea of being able to actually breathe again sounds promising.

Nothing is certain in life. That’s what I learned from this entire ordeal. People are not always as they initially appear. Positions should never be taken for granted. And life truly does move in mysterious ways in order to help us grow and keep moving forward.

brene brown

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