I did a strange thing today. I emailed an application for a job that wasn’t being advertised.
Probably not one of the stupidest things I have done.
Rejection was inevitable – but in that moment of the negative reply, I was motivated. Initially, I was actually shocked when the reply appeared in my inbox. He’d actually replied. To a job application. For a job that doesn’t exist.
I guess now would be as good a time as any to explain. But in my head, the explanation is so involved and complicated. For reading purposes, and possible time constraints that you as the reader may have, I’ll do my best to limit this post to a few minutes of your time.
The situation is something like this : I find myself in a rather difficult place financially. This is mostly because I am a single mom, who does not receive maintenance for either of my children (there are lengthy explanations for this, and the law doesn’t help – but that’s a whole different matter entirely).
The mostly part is significant – being responsible for two other humans can be taxing in many ways – emotionally, physically, and financially. There is a small part though that has contributed to the financial difficulties – which, depending how you look at it – may not be so small.
*side note : May I just add that my mother has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and is unfortunately becoming more fragile at an alarming rate – the disease is progressing quickly, her body is struggling, but her mind is still very much alive. While she is still able to only just sustain herself financially – the physical and emotional responsibilities will rest on my shoulders in a month’s time, as she will be moving in here due to the inability of being able to cope on her own any longer.*
Back to that small part that is also an influence on my finances.
In high school, I was always considered highly intelligent – in fact, I was popular with the cool crowd. But only because I usually had the homework that needed to be copied. I wouldn’t say I was an ugly duckling, but I wasn’t ever going to be accepted by the cool kids. In an effort to gain that acceptance, despite knowing differently anyway, (and wanting to prove myself with a small act of rebellion against parental authority), I attended a festival – and wound up in a vehicle that was involved in an accident. I was rather badly injured. Recovery was a costly process time-wise, and meant that I had to wait and sit substitute exams in order to complete my schooling. I am not sure what happened, but the year I should have started studying, I then found myself instead at the start of a pregnancy. My son was born nine months later.
All the best intentions of studying further were consumed by relationship and the responsibilities that come with that, as well as a growing infant who needed me too. Finances also didn’t really allow for further education. The worst part? I was actually okay with that. I was ‘happy’, to a point, with my life the way it was. Before I knew it, time passed me by.
I sit here, at age 37, unable to find work that will support my children and I, because I have no certificates or diplomas behind me. Work credentials no longer matter, work experience and the ability to get the job done, have become a thing of the past in my town. If you don’t have the piece of paper, you don’t get the job. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if you have the piece of paper, but can’t do the job. Sense? This makes none.
The desire to study now is not just about the above. It goes a little deeper than that. It’s the fact that I really want to learn. In my family, you haven’t achieved if you don’t have the pieces of paper. Oh, to have acknowledgement and be popular with the people who are supposed to love you, no matter what. It’s a desire I fear will never be met. It’s not just about them though. It’s about me. It’s about wanting the knowledge that I am not just a ‘pretty face’ who let her brain go to waste. There’s a definite sense of personal fulfilment in all of this.
Right. So that was a bit of background. If you skipped over half of it, I wouldn’t blame you.
Back to the beginning. I am known (even at the local supermarket) as a motivating and encouraging person who smiles all the while, even when my heart is breaking. I have learnt, courtesy of wrong choices and some extremely terrible consequences, how to move forward. I have learnt which battles are worth fighting; which things can be changed and more importantly to make peace with the things that can’t. To accept, to not judge, to be kind. And to always wear a smile, because you’re never fully dressed without one.
As a human being, I have my off days, and I fail. But in a nutshell, the above is pretty much who I am. And for the off days, there’s always chocolate.
I run a small reading club for children, which happens on a Friday afternoon. But I have found that, while it is popular with the children (who ask all the time why we can’t do it every day), the club has not grown – and as a single income source, it’s not sustaining us. I need to find some form of mornings only work, to add to this income, in order for us to survive.
Where I live, these positions are extremely difficult to come by. And considering that my town has the highest unemployment rate in my country, I am sure you will understand when I say that my chances don’t look good. I remain hopeful though – I often joke that I am a Prisoner of Hope in every area of my life. I just don’t seem capable of giving up.
So, this morning, I did it. I was searching the available job ads, as I do every morning as part of my second cup of coffee routine. And I saw it. It wasn’t a job advertisement. But it advertised a company that focuses on wellness coaching. My three dream jobs, in no particular order, are as follows :
To become a writer; to become a motivational speaker; to work for an events company. The advert got me to thinking…and since I am a firm believer in ‘you’ll never know until you try’, I tried.
I sent him an email, outlining who I was. I then explained that I was emailing him to enquire as to any available positions within the company in a ‘mornings only’ or contract role.
His rejection came an hour later. It was a simple email – and since his job is ‘mental coaching’, the encouraging statement at the end might just have been related to the fact that he’s really good at what he does.
He said : “You sound like a person who sees things as they are. Good. Please keep on searching. Someone will notice you.”
Part of his job, or not, his rejection of employment (in all fairness, he has moved towns and does not require an employee in my area) helped tremendously. You see, I had stepped out of the box for a moment. I took myself out of my comfort zone, and asked for something that I knew was not available anyway. As far as personal growth goes – forget giant leaps for mankind. It was a giant leap for my mind – the abilities that I have and so often neglect to see when I am overwhelmed by so many other things, like the lack of a certificate or diploma.
I have been motivated to not hide behind applications for jobs advertised alone, but to take the leap of faith and try other avenues too. Because you never know, if you don’t try.