So as part of my online transcription job, I had to close-caption the movie Hot Tub Time Machine. Twice (once for cable, once for – something else). So that means I had to watch it four times. Plus once to tweak the timing on the captions, so make that five times. Now, it’s a movie that I wouldn’t pay to watch, in spite of John Cusack’s presence. But since they paid me…
Admittedly, there were a few good lines in it. Asking a girl what color Michael Jackson was, when they were trying to determine what decade they’d landed in, was pretty funny. But one line that gave me pause was when John Cusack’s character is asked by his nephew – doggone it, what does he ask him? Something about his past escapades with his buddies. And Cusack replies, “We were young. We had momentum.”
That is an apt description of any time in our lives when we feel like we can’t lose. Life is good. Job is good. Relationship is good. Nothing can stop you…you have momentum. And I’ve been lucky enough to feel like I’ve had momentum for quite a while. Until today the escalator I was riding on stopped, and I pitched face-first into reality.
Well, okay, so that’s a little melodramatic. But I just finished my first job interview in a zillion years. And it wasn’t even for a job-job. It was to sign up with a temporary agency, thinking I’d take a few assignments to pad my checking account. Not to mention meet people, see the area, and get out of the condo. And, truth be told, feel useful again. I’m quite content working online and hiding at home, but it isn’t quite the same as being useful and productive in the real world. I temped for years, so thought it would be a viable option, working a week here and there, getting my feet wet after years of not being in the workforce. Didn’t have to commit to a “real” job. A little variety. Win-win all around.
I haven’t had to interview for a job in a long time. As far back as I can remember, people have asked me to work for them. I was good at what I chose to do, and people knew it. But time has passed, and now I’m living in a place where nobody knows me. And suddenly I’m having to explain who I am and what I do, and what I can do. And it’s not very comfortable.
As I walked home from the appointment, I tried to identify what I was feeling. And came up with this. I’ve created this funky little craft, this boat, that I call my life. People on the outside look at my funky little boat and think that it looks pretty – or crazy, or strange, or unique, depending on what they think of me. Some admire it, most don’t understand it. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s my funky little boat.
So I confidently sail along, content in my funky little boat – until I’m placed in a situation where I have to explain/justify it. And suddenly I have to view my little boat through another’s eyes. Now this person I interviewed with was nice, friendly, professional, kind. She didn’t look askance on my little boat – or at least didn’t appear to. But it was the exercise of trying to explain it, to see it through her eyes, that brought me up short.
I know I haven’t lost my skills. I know I’m still good at whatever I choose to do. But today, I feel bruised. I’ve let someone else judge my boat, and find it wanting. Why is it that when you’re sad, happy thoughts don’t pour into your head? Instead, every evil spirit hovering around you races to fill your head with doubt and condemnation and derision.
Anyway, I’m rambling. I’ll accept a temp position from them, if they decide I’m worth the risk, and I’ll be great at it. And I’ll deposit a few checks in my bank account. Maybe learn a new computer program. Meet some people. But today, I feel like the emperor in his birthday suit, confidently strutting through life thinking everything is dandy, only to be brought up short when the child points out that his finery is a sham. I’m looking down and seeing the threadbare nature of my duds, and wondering what it’s going to take to feel like I’m decked out in sequins again. What it’s going to take to find my momentum again.
Something will happen tomorrow that will restore my confidence. Stop me over-analyzing and criticizing every nuance of my being. But I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I put myself out there to be judged again.
If you have momentum, cherish it. Protect it. Don’t let anybody steal it from you. It’s a precious gift. As soon as I get mine back, I’ll let you know.