Monday, May 19, 2014

Interviews, Driving Stick & Doing Stuff that Scares Me

Yesterday a friend said to me, "You've worked harder at finding a job than almost anyone I know."

It was one of those really validating moments. I also really needed to hear it -- because I'm a month into my 5-month Google contract, and since interview processes around here can take close to 2 months, it's about time for me to start putting some feelers out to make my push to stay long-term.

When I realized last week that I could be headed into more rounds of interviews, my chest got a little tight. I don't love interviews. I mean, I love the hope they represent, and I was always grateful to have them during the last year amid all the many many (MANYMANYMANYMANY) job applications I submitted, but the actual interview experience makes me feel a little anxious. And sweaty. (Swanxious? No? I'll go now.)

Sometimes I wish interview processes could consist more of "let's hang out for a few days and actually work together, then you'll see that you like me and I'm good at what I do! I promise!" rather than "TELL ME WHY YOU'RE GREAT AND BE READY TO THINK FAST AND SOLVE HARD PROBLEMS IN 30 MINUTES READY GO ALSO DON'T MOVE YOUR ARMS TOO MUCH OR THEY'LL NOTICE YOU'RE SWEATING WHY DID I WEAR A SILK SHIRT ANYWAY DO I SWEAT MORE THAN OTHER PEOPLE I THINK I MIGHT." .....something like that.

Anyway, but that comment from my friend Bryce (thanks, if you're reading this!) gave me a little boost in confidence. All those job apps. All the interviews. All the late nights neurotically stalking job boards at 2am....I did all of that. For a long time, I gritted my teeth, day in and day out, and I did that. And it's gotten me to a really good place, even if it took a year and a lot of rejections along the way. And now it's like the top of the (ginormous) mountain is in sight and my legs are jelly and I'm just like "Do I have this in me?" but I've gotten a small taste of victory at my current vantage point and I'm ready to seal the deal. My jelly legs have a little juice left in 'em, but even if they don't, there's always army crawling up the last part of the trail.

I'm now 10 days into driving manual in my new car. Trying my very best.

What's amazing is that, 10 days ago, I was terrified of the whole mystique of learning to drive stick. And the first couple times I tried it wasn't easy at all. It was awkward, and made me not want to do it anymore. But since I signed the papers and owned the car......I kind of forced myself into just doing it. haha.

I bought the car on a Thursday night and decided to drive it to work on Friday morning. And you know what? I stalled a few times. And you know what else? The world kept turning and life went on. And that continued for a couple days. And after some feedback and more practice with a couple friends......suddenly, I could do it. My gear transitions are still a little struggly (is that a word? It is now) sometimes, but I don't stall anymore. And that was a huge step after just a few days.

More importantly, I'm not afraid of it anymore. And that's an even bigger step.

I could have kept driving my old car, because I currently own both, and put off the stick thing....and after 10 days, I would have still been afraid of driving June Cooper. But I jumped in with both feet and made myself just do it, so I'm not afraid anymore.

Basically I'm tying the two halves of this blog post together, the parts about my car and then the parts about stepping back into the ring for another match with job world, by saying that......I don't have to be afraid of these things anymore. Because sometimes all it takes is just diving in, taking a few knocks in the head (or stalls at intersections), and then one day you realize....I can do this. Something I couldn't do a few days or weeks or months ago, or something that I thought would never pan out.......I can do it, and it is panning out. And I can keep doing it, and things will keep panning out.

Sometimes I guess it just takes a few of those knocks in the head to realize the hits aren't as scary as you make them out to be.

Sometimes I think the fear is worse than the actual thing itself, really. And if there's one thing I've gotten good at in the last year, it's that whole "brave" thing. I can do brave. I'm good at brave. I'm ready for more brave.

Time for a relevant Rocky photo because ROCKKYYY:


Katie said...

Um, do you remember me driving you to the temple RIGHT after I'd first learned to drive stick? I was a nervous wreck! Haha. But somehow it works itself out and eventually you don't even think about it anymore.

Unknown said...

you inspire me. I really do think you are one of the bravest and strongest people I know. I've been chanting "wait for your mini cooper" in my head for days now. thank you for being katilda.

FWIL Sentimental Blog Content said...

Isn't anything worth having in life from a big risk? Seriously, I was scared of school, scared of marriage, scared of a job change- and my life is so much better for doing everything that scared me half to death!

Chantel said...

Swanxious. HAHAHA! You're funny. Enjoy reading about you and your life. Have lots of posts to catch up on (clearly), and I just feel like you are a good friend and employee. For what it's worth, I'd hire you. (If I had a company to hire from :) )

Abigail said...

Hey Katie, I still read your blog, just so you know. And I love it :).

I just read this post and thought you might appreciate this quote that my friend recently shared on her FB page:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.... You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt