The Oxford English dictionary defines journey as:
‘an act of travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart’.
Over the past 12 months I have been on a journey on an emotional rollercoaster. This time last year I was employed at an executive level in a job I enjoyed and was good at. I had a fantastic salary and what I thought was great job security. For reasons that I cannot discuss, mostly as they are too painful, I took a severance package.
To say the last 12 months has been hard on my mental health is an understatement. I felt like my whole identity had been taken from me. If I wasn’t the boss, if I couldn’t support my family, if I didn’t have a job what was my use?
Then Covid-19 happened, the world changed and now I was in the same boat as many thousands of people. No job, no way of earning money and no end in sight. Well-meaning family and friends tried to ease my pain by telling me ‘it is ok as there are lots of people feeling the same.’ But is it ok for me, just because there are people feeling the same or worse? How does their plight make me feel better? Yes, I agree there are many people who struggle more than me, they worry about how they will feed their children, pay the bills etc. I wasn’t in that situation, far from it, but it still hurt. Psychologists who have studied this ‘Other people have it far worse’ advice say that this only makes the situation worse. I was ashamed about my situation and now had added guilt to my feelings. People had it worse, what right did I have to feel the way I did?
I busied myself home schooling my two boys, I enjoyed it and it gave me purpose but it wasn’t the same. I am searching for a new job and have had a few interviews. My feedback has included ‘you answered the questions correctly but with no confidence’ ‘you came across as too vulnerable’ ‘you gave little eye contact and didn’t command the room’. I can agree with most of their comments but how do you get a job when you have little confidence in your abilities due to a major life setback?
I can see light at the end of the tunnel and am still applying for jobs. I have support from people around me and I’m going to keep knocking on the door until an opportunity opens for me. If a journey is an act of traveling from one place to another then I have been on one hell of a journey. Each day is another peak or trough on the rollercoaster but I don’t want to get off.