Today is Friday. The most important day in the life of a working adult, where we finally get to take a step back & relax, start daydreaming of what exciting plans can we do over the weekend.
Well, this would be relatable, if you only had a job! Yes, isn’t having a job the “most important” part of life in general. Otherwise, you are nobody. This was the story I grew up listening to, coming from Mumbai, the financial capital of India. When I moved to Melbourne in 2019, taking a leap of faith & supporting my partner in his dream, my worst fears came true — “How do I survive without having a job?” , “ Oh, I need to get a job as soon as possible, because only then my life has a meaning”
As I went around in circles, in this pond of worry, these unhelpful thoughts were my best friends. Day after day, I began to be comfortable with my own misery. Be in the city of Blame — cursing Melbourne, and all the recruiters, SEEK emails, who kept on rejecting me every morning when I opened the email. My partner, friends & family were all trying to pull me out of this sinking pit. I am forever grateful to all of them, who have stayed by my side, no matter what.
The job-seeking landscape" There is more to life than having a job”, Life tried to tell me, in its own mysterious ways. I slowly started to wander around this land of uncertainty, and over a few months, I realized I needed to be more open to any conversation. Just get to know more people and their stories. So I did it all.
Attended random workshops, seminars, conferences on Eventbrite
Gathered courage & motivation to speak to just 1 person a day, even made friends
Survived Melbourne winter with really good coffee
Got re-hired in a consultant capacity with my ex-workplace in Mumbai (and I owe it to the team there who have been my supportive allies)
Volunteered at a local school, a teen support group, hobby workshop events ( got lucky to meet like-minded people here)
Joined online gatherings from Mumbai connected to my interests
Gave over 15 job interviews in 6 months ( and got annoyed at hearing — you lack local experience!)
( Obviously, I didn’t stop sending resumes, it was like a part of my daily essential routine — wake up, cook meals and send resumes, no matter where it went)
In my interactions with Melbournians and their culture, I realized my “work identity” was so dominant and time-consuming, that I myself was not open to exploring, other parts of me. Creativity became my anchor. I used it to create all sorts of DIY crafts, cuisines, thought college, journalling, zine-making. ( Any material that was available at home, and for free)
Self-compassion, kindness, forgiveness — they all seem like philosophical words which we read in thoughtful quotes. And here, life was giving me the opportunity to practice them, every single day and I resisted. It is hard & tiring. Self-doubt visited me every day. I was ready to accept any job position & compromise. Everyone around me, whom I spoke to asked me to be patient ( easy for them to say!) Music came to my rescue, and of course, visits to the Indian grocery store were a walk down the memory lane.
The key is to keep doing what you like to do. Because one day you would get that interview where they call back and say, yes we would be happy to have you in our team. This almost feels like a dream or an illusion, given that we have unwelcomed guest, Corona, who refuses to leave.
Amidst this chaos, that day has come for me. Securing a second part-time job in the middle of the global health crisis, to me, feels like a miracle. My mind is still in disbelief. I have had a 4-day work, this week after almost a year. 2019 will always be the year of companionship for me.
This is my story. And I am curious to know yours. Feel free to connect with me. Take that leap of faith & start having more conversations. It is worth it.