A Ray of Hope

Somebody has joined my workplace who has the same car as me (same model, same color). Today, he asked me when did I purchase the car. About a year ago I replied. When the conversation got over, I realized that it can’t be one year. I had got the car in June 2015.  It has been two years! And then I looked at the date in the calendar. Why did I say one year?

29th June. How could I just forget this time last year?

A year ago – On 29th June

30th June 2016 was to be my last day at my old job. I did not have another job at hand.  I was a single woman, living alone paying the rent for a 2 bhk apartment, and paying all my expenses trying to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be unemployed. How had I reached such a stage?

By the time my first year at that job had got over, I had got a promotion. Things were looking up. But too many things changed in the next year. I made a series of poor choices and mistakes professionally. It included team change requests, rejecting a good offer from another company, a disastrous appraisal, and a resignation without having another job at hand.

When we face bad situations in life, there are two emotions that we feel (among many others):

  1. The victim feeling.

Why does everything happen to me! Why can’t I ever be happy!

This kind of self-pity makes us feel like we are such a victim of our circumstances. Things always happen to us. We are the chosen ones for misery. And people who do not seem all that great get to live their life just fine.

  1. Regret

We torture ourselves over the things that we could have done differently. I kept blaming myself for every professional decision I had taken in the last year.  I would replay each and every event in my mind. I would imagine myself going back in the past and changing things. The term ‘don’t beat yourself up’ can be quite literal.

I really don’t know which feeling is worse. I had somehow expected that I would end up finding a job in the notice period. But on 29th June, I knew that tomorrow would be my last working day. There was no job. No offer. I would have to pay the rent and other expenses through my savings.  And the worst part was the uncertainty. How long would I be unemployed? Three months? Six months? One year? How will I support myself and pay my bills? My parents were more than happy to support me but I was ashamed to be at this place, at this age.

How would I deal with the stress? What would I do all day? Won’t I go mad? My friends would be working all day. And what will I do meeting friends anyway? Taking a cab, going to expensive restaurants when I am not even earning a penny?

My mother had decided to come and stay with me till I could find a job. I guess everybody was worried about my mental state. That was very nice of her. It made a lot of difference.

While I was searching for jobs, preparing for interviews, people were trying to say the clichéd things that is often said to someone to make them feel better.

Don’t worry. You will find something. It is just a matter of time.

It’s not like you are poor! So don’t overreact! Your parents will support you!

You still have so much to be grateful for! People are fighting cancer! This is not such a big deal!

The last one is very popular. When a person is in physical pain, let’s say someone burns their finger, or cuts it, we don’t tell the bleeding person, ‘Relax, be grateful that your other finger is not cut!’

But emotional pain is very different. Nobody can see it. Nobody can assess the magnitude of it. Only we know what we are feeling. I remember getting up every morning, with a moment of blissful peace until it struck me that I was unemployed. I remember the pain in the stomach.  I remember going out with friends, laughing, relaxing, pretending to forget that there is such a big problem lurking behind. The getting up in the morning part, and the time of going to bed were the most difficult times. I wanted the ‘bad’ feeling to go away magically.

This is what I learnt during that phase:

  1. You need not love your job. As long as you love the things it brings you – bread, butter, pizza, Mojito, dresses, vacation. No matter how unfulfilling it is, no matter how pathetic you are made to feel at every appraisal, no matter how much your boss yells at you,  you are there for a reason and that reason is money.
  1. I remember talking to my friend, who told me about another friend in awe who was earning X amount. You know how much she earns!! No wonder she dresses so well! The amount she mentioned was less than what I was getting at my old job. The girl she was talking about was older than me.

At my old job, I always felt like a loser because everybody else seemed to getting better bonuses and promotions. But that day, I realised how ungrateful I had been.

  1. I had thought I could utilize this time to write a book. Who knows I could become J K Rowling!

But forget about writing a book, I was not able to even write articles or blogs. All I did was search for jobs day and night. (I am not discouraging anyone. There is always a dilemma whether we should pursue our passion, or be practical. But it is usually never that black and white). 

  1. People were saying enjoy this time too. Soon you will get a job, and miss ‘these’ days. Go and travel! Some were more practical to say try ‘budget travelling’. 
  1. I used to try to be positive and hopeful. There were a lot of disappointments, as not every interview turned into an offer. I had some idea of the kind of profile I was looking for. But I also felt desperate and thought I should just take up whatever comes. One person offered me a job at a lower CTC than what I was getting in my old job. That was like reaching a new low altogether. I felt like the biggest failure that day – both professionally and personally.

I was trying my best to still keep it together. I am unemployed. I reminded myself. I cannot afford to get depressed, and certainly cannot afford therapy!

You know how long the employment phase lasted? A month. I started working again on August 1st. So many feelings. So much of self-doubt. So much of regret.

All very temporary. Things turned out just fine.

I like my current job more than any of my previous jobs. I am better suited for this role. I was struggling at the kind of profile I was in, and the gap helped me find something much more apt for my skill-set (or the lack of it). 🙂 I have good friends here also. When I get any calls for a job opportunity now, I say thank you I am not looking for a job change. And I mean it.

Do I think about that phase now and cry? Of course not. But were those few months of uncertainty stressful? Hell yes!

Today, I know that this is where I was meant to be. I would not change anything. Maybe the path that reached me here was a little rocky.

When people were trying to console me at that time, it didn’t help much. But the fact is when something goes against the way we had planned, we get so upset and confused that it is very difficult to accept that anything good can come out of it. We may not immediately appreciate that something better is in store for us because we are busy mourning over the loss. The feelings of regret and uncertainly can be overpowering.

I would like to share some quotes that I had posted on my page during that time, trying my best to keep hope.

 ‘Dear God, I ‘ve tried my best but if today I lose my hope please tell me that your plans are better than my dreams. Amen’

 ‘Sometimes the bad things, that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the most wonderful things that will ever happen to us.’

‘When God takes away something from your hand, don’t think he is punishing you, he is merely emptying your hand for you to receive something better. Have faith.

It all makes sense now.

I would like to end with Shri Amitabh Bachchan’s famous quote:

Man ka ho toh achcha .Na ho toh zyada achcha !! Kyun ki phir wo ishwar ke man ka hota hai, aur ishwar aap ka hamesha achcha chahega !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017, Tanvi Sinha. All rights reserved.

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