This is my life. Sitting on a park bench, wondering what comes next.
It’s been a week.
I still don’t feel any closer to knowing. (Knowing what? …That’s my point.)
What do you do when you strip away every element of your life and you’re left with just you, alone with your thoughts? Who do you become, without your relationships, your job, your home, everything you’ve always used to define yourself?
It’s funny, when I first decided to move to Australia, I was certain I was going to land another communications job. The fact I would do anything else, well, that would just be irresponsible, wouldn’t it? I mean, I was already taking a risk, picking up my life for a year and moving half way around the world.
So I did what I always do. I planned. I researched. I prioritized. I set up meetings. It all felt like the “right” thing to do. I was so sure of myself.
But then a week passed.
I began to doubt my best laid plans. Did I really want to jump right into another communications job? Was I really ready? Did I honestly think I could hack it here when I burned out so quickly back home? Wouldn’t it be better to take some time to figure out what I really wanted? I convinced myself I should still go to the meetings I’d set up with recruiters, “just to see,” but I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that had come over me.
I woke up Monday morning, slipped into a dress and heels, and headed to the train, coffee mug and laptop in hand. I remember thinking on the way to my first appointment, “This is the closest I’ve come to feeling like myself since I arrived here. I feel good. Yes, this is the right thing for me; I can do this.” And walking home, I felt even more energized by the conversation I’d just had about the possibilities ahead of me. Yes, it was a complete 180 from the dread I’d felt the day before.
My good mood stayed with me all day, and I slept soundly that night. Tuesday was another matter. My first meeting was at 11 a.m., more than enough time to get myself sorted in the morning, but I was still rushed. As I took the elevator down, I took a good hard look at myself in the mirror. My hair was just a little bit messy, and my makeup looked like I hadn’t spent any time on it, mostly because I hadn’t. I was already clammy from the heat, and I was breathless and flustered by the time I reached the recruiting office.
How do they do it, these Sydney girls? They all look so composed and calm, even in the humidity and heat. And if I can barely make it to an 11 a.m. meeting, how on earth can I possibly go back to a corporate job? Mornings are hard for me, even when I have something to look forward to, and I wasn’t sure another office job was high on my list at the moment.
My next appointments didn’t go much better. I’d managed to compose myself, but I still felt a bit off, not quite polished enough. The recruiters were alright, but I heard a different story from each of them. One told me with my skills and experience she couldn’t wait to pick up the phone and starting having conversations with her clients. Another told me I didn’t have a hope in hell against the Australian citizens and permanent residents. One told me my salary expectations were too low; another too high. I didn’t know what to believe. Who was feeding me a line, and who was just trying to manage my expectations? Where was the truth in all of this?
More importantly, did any of it matter?