Aside from the odd job here and there, I’ve basically been unemployed for nearly two years. In fact, I haven’t had a full-time job since I was laid off in 2008. To say it has been a “struggle” would be a gross understatement.
Mind you, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom over the past few years, but I spent a lot of time questioning life choices while making futile attempts at convincing hiring managers to choose me over the next desperately seeking Susan.
So when a friend of mine propositioned me about a solid job opening, I was compelled to consider applying for the position. The job was completely unrelated to anything I had my professional sights set on, but I figured the responsible thing to do was apply for the job and accept my lot because maybe God’s will for my life included taking this sharp right turn in a new direction.
In the middle of the interview I was carrying on a fantastic inner monologue. I kept asking myself, “Do you really want this job? Why do you keep selling yourself so hard to get the position? Stop trying to make yourself look good! This is not the time to be competitive!” and so on and so forth.
Even during the interview I knew this wasn’t where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do, but I continued to tell myself, “Suck it up and be an adult. You’ve prayed a long time for a job, so take it if it’s offered to you.” Ten minutes after I left the interview the job was offered to me. I accepted it and cried every day for at least a solid week.
To be fair, I had a lot of good reasons to accept the job. The work environment and co-workers are fantastic, the idea of doing my part to help people get the care they needed sounded amazing (and it was), and praying with the staff at the start of the workday was incredible. So for those reasons, I knew I didn’t make a bad decision but I certainly didn’t make a right one either.
However, it didn’t take long for me to reach the breaking point; shortly after taking the job I gave my two weeks notice.
This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make because: 1.) I don’t like to quit, 2.) I don’t want to be viewed as a quitter, and 3.) I was well aware that I’d be letting down a few people in the process especially since I unintentionally gave the false impression that I was happy to be employed.
Long story already long, here’s what I learned from this experience. First of all, go with your gut. From the get go, I felt a heavy burden of hesitation but went through with my decision because I thought taking this job was the responsible thing to do. Turns out, it would have been more responsible to trust my instincts and pass on the job instead of dragging myself (and others) into the consequences of my wrong choices.
Secondly, don’t allow outside pressure or hype to rule your decisions. I got so caught up in the excitement of the situation that I didn’t give myself the proper time I needed to make a good choice. I let the positive influence of others – and the fact that I didn’t want to turn away their welcomed assistance – push me into something I didn’t really want to do.
I’m a natural people-pleaser, and unfortunately my inclinations to please the people led to making things quite unpleasant for all parties involved. Sometimes not having other’s best interests in mind before your own is what is truly best for everybody.
Lastly, be brave. Whether you’re making decisions about a job, the possibility of a relationship, or other potentially life-altering choices, have the guts to make the RIGHT choice. It takes just as much courage to say no as it does to say yes – even if what is offered to you is of great value.
So there you go, kids, another page ripped from my book of difficult life lessons. Everything you do may not be right, but if you learn from it, eventually it’ll all be okay.