Calling Over Comfort: A Practical Application
It would seem as though I've taken a vow of silence as I've lived through these summer months. My perception of time has been significantly altered, and life has a little bit of a different rhythm these days. Mostly I just haven't been able to figure out how to best tell you my story, how to share my experiences. I've decided it's better that I try and maybe not get it quite right rather than never sharing
I have friends who are moving through parts of what I navigated through just a few short months ago, and suddenly I'm in a position where I can offer wisdom far beyond the expectation of a 22-year-old. And while conversations would be much lighter if I could drum up a quick formula for how you navigate through growing pains of life, I can't do that. I can, however; share what I've learned, how I've been molded, and what emotions were the hardest to work through.
In the beginning of May I gave my employer my two-weeks notice. At the time I didn't even have another offer on the table or anything lined up to pay my bills. Mostly I just had a small savings along with a team of incredible mentors, consolers, and supporters. Even when I closed my computer at 5pm on my last day of work, I didn't have a job lined up. This was THE most significant decision I've made in my life since the time I landed on the idea that I was going to stop playing college softball.
If I would have known that less than a week would go by before I'd be home with the company I'm with now, KeyMedia Solutions, I probably would have slept better and gained less weight. Looking back at the time leading up to my decision to send my resignation letter and the weeks filled of worry, anxiety, and unrest, it all seems so small, almost a formality of starting a new chapter of my career and my life. I know that's not anywhere close to the reality.
For some time I was drowning. I cried. I screamed. I worried. I prayed.
There's a lot to my previous position that made choosing career uncertainty a bit easier than the alternative. But apart from those details, I was at a time where I needed not necessarily more than my then employer could provide me, but things different from what he could. I don't think big decisions come from the perfect formula of calculated risk, pros, cons and any other metric you might be able to arbitrarily quantify. All religions aside, I think there's a desire deep within us to push for more, to want growth, to need change, and when something's right, usually we know. Whether it's the voice inside your head that makes you feel like a crazy person, or the gut wrenching feeling that might just be last night's Chinese, we know.
I worked in a large office suite 95% of the time in isolation from collaboration and colleagues. I spent a lot of time looking for responsibilities to add to my job description in order to fill my time and include some sort of purpose to my time. Communication was a constant struggle, and often my reaches for updates and guidance were pushed aside. I was working for an internet start-up company. Financials were a struggle, and for about 6 weeks I never had a paycheck on time. I never knew that my paycheck would be late until it was already late. I made a habit out of starting the difficult conversations and asking the hard questions.
That's where I was when I decided uncertainty and unemployment were worth whatever else was out there waiting for me to grab. But no matter how many times I prayed for peace and patience, I never really felt peaceful or patient. No matter how many hours I spent trying to connect with more people on LinkedIn or be the first to find a new job posting and apply, I didn't seem to go anywhere.
I talked with so many people, asking questions about how I can make my resume or cover letter better, trying to learn more about who they might be able to connect me with, or learn from them about their own careers. I really just tried to learn and learn and learn. And it felt like I was spinning my tires. I would ask mentors what to do, and they would tell me I'm doing all the right things. I would practice and prepare for interviews to leave them feeling confident and excited to hear back, but never did, or received cold rejection letters only for my mentors to tell me I'm doing things right.
Job posts would come up and I doubted myself. I worried I was seeking something beyond my reach, something I wasn't cut out for. Numerous time I had the opportunity to interview with a company, and I checked all the things my list for the perfect interview. Company research, materials to share, careful consideration of what to wear... my list went on and on. Honestly it felt like a science that I had meticulously crafted a formula for the perfect interview that would hopefully place me somewhere I could be at home.
It never came. I left interviews feeling optimistic and excited that I was finally good enough at something, or someone found worth in me. I continued to feel disappointed, and that grew to frustration. I started wondering what I was wrong with me, that maybe I wasn't good at any of the things I felt passionate about. In all of that, I never once regretted resigning. In fact, my resignation came after a month of casually seeking new opportunities, which lead to approximately two weeks of unrest, distrust, frustration, and defeat leading to the day I submitted my resignation letter.
For my friends who seek answers and anyone else hoping for comfort and assurance, take heart.
Choosing uncertainty over the comfort of a constant paycheck (something I didn't have) isn't a risk that a lot of people are willing to make. My pastor uses the phrase "calling over comfort" often, and I think this is a practical example of that. Sometimes there's a seemingly unexplainable source of ambition and drive to push for something that seems out of reach. I'm convinced that's your calling choosing you
The hardest part wasn't choosing to walk away from familiarity, but instead, it was being willing to be faithfully patient. Waiting is easy, patience is a faith building process. And for that, I'm forever grateful for the love and care I found in my time of unrest.