To say that things have been challenging as of late is an understatement. I’ve spent the last couple of months slowly easing back into my previous life while at the same time having trepidation of what that life is going to hold for me. I’ve used IT Recruiters in the past to help me find work, but using them recently has left me feeling incredibly underwhelmed. I’m already tired of them telling me what I need to say and asking me to “tweak” my resume because they don’t think it will produce an interview. This is despite the fact that I’ve never had issues with my resume generating interest in the past.
Going to interviews only produces a sinking feeling in my stomach as I walk into the building and feel like an animal being corralled into its future pen. Even with work environments that are located in trendy downtown buildings, I can still tell within 5 minutes of being there whether I will have anything in common with the people that I work with. I feel like such an outsider most of the time, knowing that my interests and stories from abroad only produce blank stares and questioning looks. “You mean, you don’t go home to work on a project or watch TV?”. How could I possibly convey to these people that I enjoy living my life creatively and trying to experience as many things that this life has to offer and *that* in no way affects my ability to be engaged and successful at work. Nor does it cloud my ability to produce quality work. And then when the rejection comes, it tears through me, reminding me that I don’t fit in. Some days, I wake up with renewed energy and defiance resolving to use that energy to move forward and forge my own path. And other days, well, I just wake up tired.
So I’ve been a bit melancholy lately while struggling to get moving. In. Any. Direction. I’ve started to look at volunteer opportunities. A friend from Swing Dancing put me in contact with the Latino Economic Development Center. It would give me a chance help people in the Spanish community learn English or computers while allowing me work on my already poor Spanish.
And then, out of the blue the other day, another thought struck me. Maybe I should check out CoCo. CoCo is a Co-working and collaborative space for independent workers. You must be a member to use the space. At first glance, it may remind someone of going to a trendy coffee shop sans the cute barista working behind the counter. But CoCo provides many networking opportunities for individuals seeking to connect with people in other industries. The first day I arrived for my tour, I met a young woman striking out on her own. We provided each other encouragement, understanding exactly where the other person was at in their career. Returning the next week, I talked in length with the Community Manager about whether it would be worth my time to become a member. I was almost holding back tears as she validated almost everything I was feeling at the time. It’s moments like that when you feel like you might be onto something special. Maybe you’ve found your tribe. The feeling that you’re not alone and struggle is a common trait among us all. My first Networking Happy Hour went well, where I was introduced to Matt, a member that has created hist own start-up, and Paul, an independent recruiter. Matt was a fellow traveler like myself. Talking with both men at length, I had the feeling that both gentlemen understood my frustrations and challenges. It’s too soon to tell if CoCo will be part of my growth or not. But I have hope.
My days are up and down a lot as of late. Some nights I can’t sleep. There have been a couple mornings I’ll wake up around 4am, unable to get back to sleep. I’ll go for a 5 mile run, just to calm myself down. But then there’s also that feeling of never going back. That in all my adventures and risks, a seed has been planted. And while that seed has barely grown into a one-inch stalk with two leaves, there is indeed growth, however small it may be at this point.
I know that I need to keep trying things and putting myself out there. The rejection is difficult sometimes, but I know I’ll find something….. or hopefully create something of my own.