Your Work Counts
This one is for all you unemployed and underemployed people out there. Even all the homemakers and stay-at-home moms. I know what it feels like. Sending out countless applications that get sucked into the cyber space black hole. Shamelessly asking friends to find work for you. Feeling of helplessness and worthlessness taking over our sane selves. Yes, I’ve been there.
On the flip side I’ve also been vain enough to gloss over plenty of jobs because I thought they were beneath me! Luckily, I had a choice. Working was an option. My husband put food on the table and paid the bills. So I could afford to be picky and choosy.
When no one would hire me for jobs that fit my profile because I didn’t have enough experience or had taken a long break to raise my kids, I got frustrated. I started applying for jobs that only needed a high school diploma and not a Masters degree. Guess what? I couldn’t get hired even there, because people thought I was overqualified! The frustration mounted and when I couldn’t even get an hourly or part time job I started believing that I was beneath it all. Something was wrong with me.
It dawned on me that I did not have an impressive resume or the experience required. People mistook my resume to be me. I could have cooked up a very eloquent resume but it just wasn’t my style. So finally I got to a place in my life where I knew someone and I approached them with my resume. It paid off and I got the job. I’m back on the workforce after a long hiatus. I wasn’t hungry, in debt, homeless or desperate. I was well cared for and I could have continued being a stay-at-home mom that volunteered like crazy! But I had to prove to myself that I wasn’t broken. That I could find employment.
I have potential. I can add value to any place that I work for.
It’s funny but this ‘I-am-not-good-enough’ lie continued to shadow my life. The fear of getting fired overwhelmed me. It isn’t just me, every woman or man who goes back to work after a really long time has these baseless fears. But with time and a lot of overworking and trying to impress (God knows who!) we get over it. The question we need to ask is – Is it worth it? Most of our assumptions are not true any way. It’s just a bunch of lies that we keep feeding ourselves. We believe it to be true and let our towering selves be diminished. Finding a job, finding a spouse, getting whatever you want on your wish list ain’t going to heal that wound. Chances are it will still nag you and in extreme cases will make you lose all that you worked so hard to achieve.
When I realized I was going to sabotage my own happiness I quit worrying. I replaced my worry with a sense of pride in the work I did. Wish I had figured that out years ago when I was home doing the most important job I ever did – raising my kids. It’s not easy and many women wallow in self-pity (like I did) thinking the work they do doesn’t count. It does count.
No two families are the same nor are their circumstances. So how about we change how we look at work. All work is sacred, paid/unpaid. A job well done is a reward in itself.
By Damayanti Chandrasekhar