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Gratitude and Patience

Posted by Lane on June 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM

by Elspeth Grafton


I was having a bad day - a really, REALLY bad day when I made that last blog entry. I’m human. It happens to all of us. What’s different today? Have I won the lottery? Found a job, found the man of my dreams, bought a new car, righted the wrongs of the world? No. But today I feel better – good in fact. I might feel differently tomorrow, but I’m holding onto this feeling today.



I know in my heart of hearts that things will work out. How do I know this? Because everyday (despite my crumbling last week) I do something to move forward. The move might be strides or it might be inches, but I move forward nonetheless. I would hope this strategy would work for anyone, regardless of what stressors they have to deal with.


You see, I may not be working, but my day isn’t consumed with sleep-ins, daytime television or relaxing by the pool with a book. Job banks get searched, websites for companies I actually wouldn’t mind working for have their recruitment pages perused and email alerts for job postings get looked into. Some days this is outrageously successful (strides). Some mornings it’s depressingly not (inches). But I’ve made an effort. I’m turning things around.


There was a point a few months ago where I would sit down at my favorite coffee shop to write but could only stare at the page, feeling tremendous guilt that I wasn’t job searching at that precise moment. It crippled my creative life. You can’t job search 8 hours a day. Not only would you burn out pretty damn quickly in my opinion, but it could be demoralizing if nothing came of the job search immediately. At least that’s what my demons would say to me in my head. You can make sure you do something every day. It doesn’t even have to be sending out resumes. It can be connecting with one person in your work network. (You know what? You don’t even have to talk about work!) It keeps you connected. Send out one email, any small thing, but it should move you forward.


I’ve had days over the last 6 months of unemployment where I have spent so much time thinking outside the box – figuring out different tacks to take, options and avenues that I just didn’t have it in me to turn on my computer. I tried not to let that stress me out further. I just gave myself credit for what I did do.


When things get really bad, I write a gratitude list. I do this every New Year regardless, but right now, it reminds me that despite the woes, my life is good, and full, and I have remarkable people that I can and do turn to. Not only does it make a good reminder, but it also puts me on the page, one of the places outside a film set where I’m happiest. And finding my happy place is extremely important right now. Honestly, I’m in my 6th month of unemployment. It’s not fun. It’s not like one big, long vacation. It’s stressful. I have to find ways to be kinder to myself – especially now. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with discouragement and fear of the unknown. And don’t get me wrong, I get discouraged and I have huge fear. My unknown is very, very unknown. I was there last week. I’m not there today.


I try to take time each day to get out of the house, recharge, and remind myself that although I don’t have my one passion for script supervision in my life right now, I do have others. One passion I have that I make sure I utilize daily is writing. I write fiction and I recently completed the outline for my second script (I sound really creative here, but honestly, both scripts are just outlined. Not completed. Not sold.) Having been out of work for so long from a job that usually presents so many challenges on an hourly basis, I have to continue to keep challenging myself creatively. I have to keep myself engaged – mind, body and soul. Writing, yoga, job search. Writing, yoga, job search. Wash, rinse, repeat. Daily. Find what works for you. There’s so much stress involved with the job hunt it’s very important to keep your other passions engaged in your life.


Sure, after 6 months without work, I’m broke. But I would rather gnaw off my arm than give up yoga. I would rather eat Ichiban noodles for the remainder than give up my yoga membership. That does more for my mental state of mind than anything else. I choose to keep in my life that which gives me strength. My coffee place is the same. Sometimes I come here and don’t order, but most of the time I utilize my loyalty points accrued when working. When those run out (and they will), I won’t begrudge myself the $3 for the Americano. I will only have one, however. The cable, however, will be turned off at the end of the month if work hasn’t come my way. It is now starting to become a luxury. My choice. I’m prioritizing my spending, and yoga trumps TV any day of the week.


A couple of weeks ago, I found myself stuck in a negative cycle. (Another one, you’re saying to yourself – YES. They come and go – sometimes I have more trouble working through them than others.) As someone who believes in the power of positive thinking this is a dangerous spiral to get caught in. It happens to the best of us though, and it took a friend calling me on it for me to snap clear. I realized I’d been saying and thinking, ‘I can’t find work’ instead of ‘I haven’t found the right job fit yet’. See the difference? Don’t think it matters? It does. Over and over I’ve witnessed the universe providing what is asked for (Side note: BE SPECIFIC! And asking for $1,286 to appear in your bank account does NOT count!) If you keep putting it out there that you can’t do something you never will. I have to say that within 10 minutes of me apologizing to the universe and switching my way of thinking back into the positive, my email chirped at me from an industry friend with an interesting job lead. Did I want the job, HELLYEAH. Did I get the job? No. But I asked the universe and was rewarded with hope I didn’t have 15 minutes before. Yes, I consider the job prospect as a reward. I do.


I’m still working on the ‘who am I without the job I love’. I have a feeling this is a struggle a lot of women face – only replace ‘job I love’ with ‘man I love’ or ‘children I want’ etc. I’d like to say everyday I figure out something new, but that’s not the case. Everyday I’m reminded of something about myself, and I give myself credit for it. Whether it is how well I weathered a disappointment, or finding a new avenue to pursue, I congratulate myself, and tuck it away to pull out when I have bad days or weeks like the last one.



Writing these blogs has allowed me to gratefully receive something I hadn’t known I needed – and that is validation and witness. I needed to voice the shit (even sugar-coated) and feel as though I'd been heard. I needed even just one person to witness the struggle I was having as to who I now was without a job that I felt had defined me. And most of all, I needed to read it all myself, through my own written voice, and give myself credit for the strength this whole process has required.


I’m going through it, I’m getting past it, I’ll survive it, and I’ll be better for it.

Categories: Working Girl

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