Dust Settles, But Not Me

Nothing in my life has been safe from my “good enough” paintbrush: health, work, relationships. I’ve settled far too many times to count. If a life do-over were in the cards, continuously accepting good enough would be fine. But I’m in my 40s, and I gotta learn this “you deserve more than you are settling for” lesson. STAT. Tick. Tick.

I hope to get some inspiration and aspiration from this blog title. I’ve started my search for full-time employment. I’m beyond grateful for the freedom of making my schedule and spending extra time with the kids. This whole sabbatical, pre-COVID substitute teaching, and irregular freelance writing work haven’t been kind to my bank account or credit card balances.

When you consider that most of my writing assignments were on the smaller side, the $6000 I’ve made from writing is pretty dope, though. I’m so thankful to the clients that have offered me writing work. Prior to my break, I never thought that I could make money by writing.

However, It’s time for me to take back my financial freedom. In retrospect, I should have made sure every credit card was paid down first and gotten things in much better financial order. A sabbatical turned freelance writing gig was never part of a long-term plan, though. In March, I hoped to find a job, but then COVID changed everything. Yeah, I know. For me and three-quarters of the world.

Who knows how my job search will pan out. At the moment, I have two employment prospects. How better to jinx them and my future employment opportunities than writing about them in a blog post. That’s how I roll.

Job #1 is a well-paying government contract job with a short-commute. I think I’m super close to getting a job offer. This job ticks off many things on my job wish list. But the real downside is the on-premises nature of it. In this COVID world, I don’t know if I can be okay with spending 40+ hours a week in a building with over 20 people. I interviewed at this organization in 2018, but I pulled out when I accepted the job that ultimately led to my sabbatical. To some degree, it feels pre-determined that I would work here now or in the future.

Let’s meet Job #2: Deep sigh. The long-shot. It’s still in the early stages, but this is the kind of job that I dreamed of before I took my sabbatical. Plus, I spent the first three months of my sabbatical (unpaid) doing Tech Marketing things like creating content, embracing community, and attending conferences. Suppose I had to have a well-paying full-time job (and I do), Tech Marketing ticks off all of those boxes. As an aside, part of me would love to teach, but that dream needs deferral.

When the super kind recruiter reached out to me about the Tech Marketing job, my first thoughts were of the “Why the fuck would they hire me?!” variety. Only when I thought back to something that I loved about a former company that regularly hired inexperienced people for some roles could I begin to question my feelings of unworthiness.

This company blessed me with the opportunity to mentor a few of the inexperienced Junior Sys Admins they hired. Lack of experience quickly becomes a non-issue when you are intellectually curious, hard-working, and have a can-do attitude. These guys ticked off all of those boxes, and they were fucking rockstars in no-time. The company seemed like the real winner, and these guys absolutely deserved the opportunity they were given.

So, why not me? Why don’t I deserve to have a company take a chance on me? Though, part of me hopes that someone will give me a litany of reasons for why I’m unqualifed to work in tech marketing. Maybe their unkind words would fuel me with anger and a desire to prove someone wrong. Truthfully, I probably would use their feedback to confirm some of the not-so-kind narratives that I battle inside my head.

The real tragedy in life is that we are blind to our greatness and potential, James Victore, artist and author of “Feck Perfuction” has stated. If you are like me, it might be a stretch to believe that you have all of this greatness within you. It’s much easier to summon a long list of people for which this might apply, though. But, why not me? Why not you? Abraham Maslow actually created a psychological theory for this and it’s called the Jonah Complex at part of it is “underachieve and to settle for way less than is available to us.”

The manifestation of shame and bullshit narratives play a role in keeping you and I small and apt to settle. When we start to question our stories, only then might we finally become someone who doesn’t settle.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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