It was the spring of 2014, and I was desperate to find a job. Specifically, a job in my previous career of software development. In 2006, based on an a-ha moment, I had returned to school, and in 2008 began my new career as a psychotherapist. But that’s another story.
Since then, much had occurred both internally and externally (more stories), and now I was largely without work and living on the proceeds from the sale of my house – yes, yet another story. I was beginning to feel panicky about what I would do when that money ran out. But I didn’t want to get a job. I even consulted a psychic who told me that if I did not get a job I would be bankrupt by the end of the year.
So, letting fear run me as it had so many times in the past, I embarked on the process of finding a software development job. I figured I could make a lot more money going back to my previous career than I could working in community mental health. And since I didn’t really want to do either of these jobs, why not choose the one where I’d be paid well?
Can’t get hired to save my life
Little did I know that in a high-tech city like Seattle, an absence of six years from the field in which I had worked for more than 25 meant that most potential employers viewed me as having no value. This brought back to me all the times I had felt judged and found lacking while working in software. This was one of the reasons that I had sworn I would never go back. But fear told me I needed a job.
I was discouraged and scared. Then I got a phone call from a consulting firm who was interested, even though I had been away from the field for a while. We scheduled an interview for the following day. And that night I came down with food poisoning.
If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you’ll know that it was physically impossible for me to attend the interview the next day. If I had been paying attention, I would have realized this was a sign that this consultant position was not right for me. But since fear was running the show, I rescheduled the interview for a few days later.
My experience with this firm was not a good one. They sent me on interviews with two different clients who did not select me. Both times the feedback I received from the consulting firm was critical and harsh. After the second interview it was made clear by them that I was not a fit for their company. It felt horrible, and again brought back unhappy memories of previous jobs.
If I had been paying attention, I would have realized that I didn’t want to work in this type of judgmental environment, and therefore did not want either of these positions anyway. But instead fear told me that I would never get a job and maybe I didn’t even deserve one.
Not even by a clerical temp agency
By the summer I became so desperate that I signed up with a temp agency to do clerical work. I had good computer and people skills, so it should have been a slam-dunk, right? Wrong. The person who interviewed me was fired shortly afterwards and I never received a single call for a job. More signs that I really wasn’t supposed to get a job.
I was running out of money and didn’t know what I was going to do. If I couldn’t even get a low-paying clerical position, what would happen to me? Then a miracle occurred, and in the fall I received enough money, pretty much out of the blue, to keep going for another year. Ha-ha psychic who told me I’d be bankrupt! But that’s another story.
Fast forward to the summer of 2015. I had completely given up on looking for a job. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind for nearly a year. I knew at some level that the miraculous money I had received would be running out soon, but I hadn’t really thought that much about it.
Noticing the signs
Then I got a call from the temp agency. Yes, the same one that I had signed up with almost exactly a year earlier. They had several positions they wanted to speak with me about. I had been clear with myself and with them that I only wanted to work part time, and I wasn’t willing to commute more than 30 minutes. I had become accustomed to being self-employed and making my own schedule over the past several years.
The first job was a customer service rep at a local raw pet food company. It was part time and paid $15 / hour. The location was only 15 minutes from my home. That sounded pretty good. The next job was a project manager for a construction company. My last 10 years in software had been managing projects and I was even certified by the Project Management Institute, which is a pretty big deal. So, even though I wasn’t familiar with the construction industry, I had the right skill set.
The woman from the temp agency was really excited about the PM position. I imagine they didn’t get too many people with experience as project managers, and it would be a coup to offer up a candidate with my background.
Even though the job did not fit my criteria – it was not part time, and the commute was longer than the first job – her enthusiasm, along with the fact that it paid double what the first position paid, started me getting excited, too.
The more we talked about the PM job, I noticed a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I associate with anxiety. I give myself credit for noticing, but still I chose to ignore it. I told her to go ahead and submit me for both jobs, while secretly feeling very unsure about the PM job.
And a miracle occurs
After the phone call ended, I went to my computer and logged in to Facebook. As I was reading items in the news feed, I noticed an ad in the right sidebar for raw pet food. When I saw the same ad a second time, I said to myself, “that’s funny, we were just talking about raw pet food.” When the ad came up for a third time, I figuratively slapped my forehead – these ads were a sign that I was meant to pursue only the customer service position at the raw pet food company.
Since I had ignored the anxious feeling I got about the PM job, the Universe found another way to get my attention. I called the woman from the agency and told her I didn’t want to be submitted for the PM position after all.
I got the customer service job at the pet food company, and it ultimately (and fairly quickly) led to my re-entry into the software world. Who would’ve thought? I had been trying in various ways to accomplish that for more than a year with no success. The circuitous path to that goal is one I could never have imagined or planned for myself.
It was a lesson in learning to trust the Universe, while paying attention to signs and allowing life to unfold as it is meant to.
There are many ways in which the delay of a year in getting a job was of benefit to me. But, as they say, that’s another story.