While so many of us are playing the waiting game, walking the thin line between hanging on tight and exploring that worst case scenario, others are business as usual, making the trade, bringing home the bacon. And closer to home, even as our phone sits silent, some among us are even bagging the job and settling in to a new chapter in perhaps a new place, with - finally - a sense of direction.
It's a life lesson. The hard conversations we have with our children when they whine: "but JIMMY has the hyper-multi-band-egon-thruster cell phone..." What do you say? "Is your name JIMMY????"
But it's a lesson we thought we learned ourselves, a long time ago. How funny that here we are, still wrestling with the very same (I guess, as it turns out, human) instinct. Why do good things happen to everyone but me?
I remember walking up 7th Avenue with an old friend who couldn't find a man. I remember saying to her (smugly, I fear) that finding Mr Right is one part luck and the rest a matter of being open and having learned just the right amount about yourself to be ready to share, bla bla blah. Later on, there were many an evening at our house or someone else's, talking over the hard times befalling a distant acquaintance, saying what so many have now said to us: "We all have to deal with it, no one's exempt, it's just a matter of time". Glancing side to side, we'd each retreat to our dark internal closets to count our blessings, noting with a hint of guilt that we were dodging a bullet.
We do all have to deal with it. No one is exempt. Bad things happen to good people. Successful people fail. The book by the same perfect title, "When Smart People Fail" by Linda Gottlieb and Carole Hyatt outlines the process and the road to recovery in brutal detail, delivering the reader, redemptively to the inevitable and only path forward: With our wits about us, be hopeful.
And successful people become more successful in the process. "Failure can teach you compassion and humility. It offers you a new sense of power and a different way to connect with the universe – if you let it", Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen writes in her article "The Positive Power of Failure". She quotes Linda Gottlieb in her article: "Failure is a cleaning of the house. It's an opportunity to reorient your career, to inspect it, to relabel it. You learn to keep all your options in play, be light on your feet. Surviving failure makes you bold… Failure liberates you and gives you the courage to risk in a big enough way to guarantee big success."
But we must see failure for what it is, and be open to its power. We have to practice to really receive its gift.
Perhaps the most profound aspect of the New Now is how we come together, how loose acquaintances, friends of friends, willing enablers, come together to form networks for success. In this way, I've communicated regularly with Nadia, a friend and running partner from our days in Amsterdam, about our fears and our hopes in this dark place. We've traded contacts and connections, and gotten our husbands in touch to build a support network of their own. A few weeks ago, I heard from Nadia that they had landed a great job, had even had the good fortune of choice. After 8 months in the New Now they're moving on. Despite my envy, my intense desire to be where Nadia is, her "head spinning with the details", I am deeply relieved for her, and for us, that there is a light, it does end, here is living proof.
Read Nadia's elation in this paragraph. As the network finds roots, so will we.
Charlotte, after reading your email, both Lorne and I want you and John to know that we are incredibly supportive and understand your situation very well. It is a very difficult time to find a job but John has fantastic credentials, experience and personality and will find a great job!!! Just be patient and keep positive. There is a really low point that comes at 6 months but you have to push it into the far away corner and keep going!!! Because something good will happen. What worked for us was throwing a party in our kitchen every Friday. People would bring food and wine and we laughed and cried and danced and it was great or a real great distraction! I know it sounds wacky but we will have wonderful memories. Lorne had many low points, in the last 6 months he interviewed with 9 companies and some interviews consisted 5-6 interviews per one job, including all the telephone and in-person interviews. The two offers actually came from the places he started talking to in February and March and this is how long it took but as you said, it can also take just one phone call...