A paradigm shift from powerless to powerful.
At the start of Memorial Day Weekend, my old boss offered me a job. I was still in bed when I received her text, feeling defeated by my circumstance and depleted by the efforts needed to propel me forward.
For months I had been wishing for a new job. But despite applying for dozens of positions on Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn, nothing was happening. One short text exchanged later, a new rush of hope circulated through my veins. I got up and took a shower, washing away all my doubts and fears. Everything was going to be ok.
Convinced of my new employment, I gleefully stopped applying for other jobs. But one month later, nothing had changed.
Perhaps I would have been more proactive in my job hunt if my once-and-future boss weren’t so convincing: The job is mine. I just have to wait until it is ready. She doesn’t know how long. It shouldn’t be too long. But then again, it’s never taken this long. You know, big companies. Everything takes forever.
As the weeks crept by, I struggled with waiting. The job is mine. Except it isn’t. Not yet. What if it doesn’t work out? What kind of idiot puts all her eggs in one basket?
I berated myself for inaction. The longer I waited, the more I doubted that waiting was the right thing to do. I’d tell myself, “I should be applying for other jobs.” But I didn’t. Because applying for jobs is awful and this job is the one I want. Then, I’d feel guilty and irresponsible for not applying for jobs anyway, you know, just in case.
Firing back at my rational side, I’d protest: I will get this job. All I have to do is wait. Until then, my time will be better spent doing things that make me happy, reading and writing. This internal tug-o-war continued daily for the next two months.
Charlotte: Get your act together. Keep sending your resume out.
Cha Cha: No. I will get this job. I just have to wait.
Charlotte: Waiting is for fools.
Then, a few days ago, on a whim, I started re-reading The Wishing Year. A seemingly random book I found at a second-hand bookshop almost five years ago. On page forty, the words lit up with wisdom on waiting. Suddenly, I was introduced to a new paradigm, in which waiting was redefined from valueless to virtuous, from short-sighted to clear-sighted.
“Waiting: in contemporary cultures, it’s a highly devalued activity We want results and we want them now…But in the spiritual realm, waiting has long held a place of honor…Waiting is both a sign of faith and a deepening of faith, an invitation to and a preparation for the sacred.”
Waiting: in contemporary cultures, it’s a highly devalued activity We want results and we want them now…But in the spiritual realm, waiting has long held a place of honor…Waiting is both a sign of faith and a deepening of faith, an invitation to and a preparation for the sacred.The Wishing Year
Do I have faith? Yes. Because this opportunity feels right. I have faith that writing here is more valuable and sacred than the soulless process of applying for jobs through the impersonal vortex of the internet, practically begging, Pick me! Please, pick me!
I am choosing to wait because I believe in me. I believe in Cha Cha.
(Up until a few weeks ago, I thought that I was “special” because I talk to myself as if I am two different people. Then I read — alright, I listened to — Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. According to Rule 9: Assume the Person You are Talking to Knows Something You Don’t, talking to yourself is, in fact, a great life skill that many need to work at to master. I’ve always known that talking to myself was unusual. I assumed it was because I am weird, that there was something wrong with me for thinking this way. Turns out, I’m a genius. But a genius who is stuck nonetheless. Writing is the only cure for that.)
My previous job ended last week. I hated that job. I worked as a copywriter for selfish, illogical people selling a product that no one needs. They paid me so little that without their paycheck my lifestyle hardly needs to change. Really the biggest change has been a release from resentment.
Still waiting for my new-career ship to come in, I spent last week outside, cleaning my boyfriend’s work van for resale. I listened to music that made me sing along. I scrubbed, vacuumed, washed, and scrubbed some more. I got sweaty. I got dirty. I was active, alive, working to help someone I love do something I think is important. (This is the opposite of working for my former employer.) At the end of each day, I was exhausted. By Friday, my muscles ached, my hands were crippled claws.
Cleaning the van was the perfect waiting-room project. It gave me purpose. Something to do that would not only give me a sense of completion (because I could have written instead, and would have been proud when I published), but also it was, as they say, “of this world.”
I was present with the people and space around me. I connected to the metal of the van, the dirt and rocks of the earth, the water of the hose, and the fire of the San Diego sun in July. My feet tingled with relief when I took off my boots at the end of the day.
I didn’t stop to write or think or ponder. I was doing. Getting it done. And it felt good, like a vacation from being me. I was still Cha Cha, of course. But I was Cha Cha playing a part. I was serving a different, albeit temporary, purpose.
But the van is clean and sold now. So I’m back to my faithful act of waiting.
The job is getting closer. I just received an email from the HR department. They want to schedule my interview this week.
A new life awaits me. A sparkling salary, more than I have ever earned. Health insurance, the good kind. And a next-level position that will promote me from lowly copywriter to Senior Campaign Manager.
Flipping back to The Wishing Year, I reread the paragraph on reinterpreting waiting as a sacred act, necessary to prepare us for what’s coming.
“‘You can’t put new wine in old bottles.’…Wasn’t [Jesus] advocating an active form of waiting, one in which we transform ourselves into a new sort of vessel for that which we hope to receive?”
Now waiting takes on a new meaning. I am actively transforming. So that when the wine arrives, my glass will already be half full.