I realized something yesterday. It was during a job interview process and the subsequent rejection that I realized something about myself. I’m not very hungry. What I mean by this is, I’m fairly content with the life and journey God has me living.
When my career was threatened a few years ago. I shrugged. That isn’t to say I wasn’t stressed and that it wasn’t a horrible situation – but I knew who I was, where I was going, and where my values lay. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family, my calling, or my convictions in order to satisfy someone who didn’t agree with me – no matter how powerful he was. It just wasn’t worth it. Next thing I knew, I was unemployed.
Last year, when I received a promotion, I wasn’t anxious about learning the job. I knew it was a steep learning curve, and I was pacing myself. But again, it came down to sacrificing family and values – two things I won’t do. So, I didn’t. Next thing I knew, I was demoted and back on the line.
“This doesn’t make me a bad person, a failure, or a loser…”
Yesterday, as I sat in a room with 17 other candidates, taking a very difficult test, I was not stressed. Now this doesn’t mean I didn’t really want the job – it just means that there was no reason to be stressed. I’ve never gotten test anxiety. I either know the information, or I don’t. If I don’t know it, stress will only diminish my capacity to figure it out. If I do know it, stress won’t help me recall it. So, I took the test – but apparently I didn’t do well enough to move to the next round of interviews.
“Gary, be yourself. I have something for you. Don’t worry. Don’t stress.“
This doesn’t make me a bad person, a failure, or a loser. It just means that there were some who were either better prepared or more hungry than me – or both. That is great for them, but is really no reflection on me. Except that I realized that I’m not that hungry.
There are many jobs that I could do. There are many that I would excel in. There are many careers and professions I would love to do – some I am qualified for, and others would take years to obtain the necessary qualifications. There are many jobs that I could easily do, but I don’t posses the required certifications or credentials. It’s all good. Really!
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:30
Last month I lost a job offer because of things posted on this blog. Interestingly, it wasn’t an accident those posts were left available to the public. In fact, it was something I prayed about – a lot. I was impressed to leave those posts up. I believe those posts offer insights into my leadership and make me a more valuable member of a team. But, because of those posts, I was passed over. That was hard, but I believe it is best.
In retrospect, I believe that it was good I was passed over. I would have had to make too many compromises to fill that role. And while I and my family would really like the lifestyle that comes with that position, it is becoming clear that there were probably too many strings attached. Probably, if I were more hungry, I would be more motivated to adapt. But I hear God saying, “Gary, be yourself. I have something for you. Don’t worry. Don’t stress.”
It isn’t always easy to relax. It isn’t always easy to let go. But I’m learning. And besides, when it comes from God, how can I refuse?
Our society promotes a fearful, hungry approach to life. We are like lab rats, scurrying about, trying to win the race. And if the truth were known, I don’t really want to be in the rat race. I’d just as soon live off the grid and live a content life of poverty. I’m just not that hungry. I want to be more like the content Golden Retriever, and less like the hyper little Chihuahua. Both are good dogs, they just have different strengths and skill sets.
This doesn’t mean I’m lazy. To the contrary, I remain a hard-working, meticulous employee. I just refuse to stress over it, or cower below those who do stress. I have learned to be more of a tortoise, and less of a hare. I’m not a quitter, and I believe I bring a lot to the conversation. It’s about fit. I just need to find an organization that values contentment over fear.
I realize that I am willing to do whatever it takes to find a good fit – even if that means waiting. I take the words of Jesus seriously – you know the ones, from Matthew 6, where He sounds like a Zen Buddhist, or a veteran 12-Stepper. Jesus tells us to take one day at a time, and to not worry about tomorrow.
This is where I am. Content. But this doesn’t make me a bad candidate, in fact, it might make me a more valuable asset. Either way, it’s who I am.
“I am willing to do whatever it takes to find a good fit – even if that means waiting.”