Not too long ago, a guileless younger Me thought she could avoid the “young and struggling” phase by working abroad. Having invested 4 years into my new career, steady income with which to make student loan payments AND live comfortably, then returning home to invest in my CELTA, I thought my international experience, zeal for learning language, and work ethic would give me extra brownie points.
Now, it’s clear that my skills read as dime-a-dozen on a resume, even if I have employers and colleagues who would be willing to vouch for me and say otherwise. At first, I felt the indignation of someone wrongly passed over: “Hey, wait! It can’t be possible that anyone can have a resume similar to mine! I want to be unique! I want to stand out! Hire me!!” Well, I can now say with confidence that a healthy dose of rejection does wonders for the delusional ego. I know that I can’t sit on my heels and let my experience talk for me.
And while it may be psychologically soothing to think back and reflect on my more self-sufficient days, those days I miss terribly, it shouldn’t be a habit. The game changes every day, and there’s no time to sit back and rehash old times and old memories ad nauseum. Reflection for the sake of growth is one thing. Reflection for the sake of reliving the past, in order to avoid the unpleasant task of accepting the new reality, is another affair entirely.
The difficulty I’ve had in finding a job related to teaching—and the ensuing embarrassment and frustration—has been integral in becoming a more savvy, well-rounded woman. By no means do I claim to have completed this phase. But for the first time, I’m able to relax in my perfectionism. I’m willing to work hard, no matter WHAT job I am able to get, with the knowledge that it’s going to work out. In 4 month’s time I’ll be in France on a student visa, studying my ass off to achieve facility in French (fluency being the long-term goal, but I’m trying for a less lofty goal in the meantime), living with my boyfriend in a region where I’ve never felt more peaceful.
I’ve come to accept the fact that my English-teaching career is pretty much at a standstill. I’ve realized that I’m meant for a career with more oomph, for lack of a better word. I don’t yet have the resources or requisite experience to pursue a DELTA, nor the necessary conviction to select a focus for a Master’s degree. All I have the money for, and the motivation to pursue, is studying French and indulging in my passion for cooking.
I’ve also realized that maybe now isn’t the time to obsess over career development, and that I have more pressing need for personal development.