When I was 22, I had fallen in love with a boy who lived in Newfoundland. I’ll call him K. We had met the year before on my school’s reading week when I’d driven half way across the country through snow storms for the sake of an adventure. Upon meeting him, K. had blown me away. He was interested in photography and art, had his own dark room in a closet at his house. He tasted like freedom.
Since I lived in Montreal and he was over 2000 kilometres away we wrote letters. It was the most romantic thing that had ever happened to me. And then, I decided to go tree planting at the same company as him and we started dating.
Still long distance, the plan was for me to move to Newfoundland with him for the summer and then he would move to Montreal with me in the fall.
And so to prepare for my summer trip, I started applying for jobs. For months and months I scoured job boards, submitted applications, did interviews over the phone and even one in person when I was in town for a visit. I found nothing but in May 2009 moved there anyways.
When I arrived, I hit the pavement going to every restaurant and gift shop to hand out cover letters and resumes. I was terrified and didn’t like it. I drank coffee to give me the courage to ask to speak to the manager again and again. Nobody called. I was depressed and didn’t know how much more of this I could take.
So I decided to take a day off. There was an organic farm just outside of town that I had learned about during my job search. I had already applied for a position there and was turned down but they had said I could come out to volunteer. I took them up on the offer and promised to be there at 9 am the next morning.
I biked out and spent the morning transplanting lettuce. At noon the farmer invited me in for lunch. I was touched by her generosity.
Over the meal she explained that the young woman they had originally hired for the summer was no longer available and so they had a position open. She was impressed that I had arrived early to volunteer and offered me the job.
After months and months of toiling, I landed a job by taking a break. I was shocked. I had been taught that good things come from hard work and that taking care of myself wasn’t going to do much good for my financial situation.
And I think this is a mistake a lot of us make. In a 2014 study by CareerXroads, they found that only 15% of jobs are filled through job boards. But most job seekers spend most of their time and energy toiling away there.
Finding the job of your dreams doesn’t have to be a soul sucking experience. It is about finding out what makes you feel alive and adds value to the world. And that process can be fun.
I am excited to announce a Pathway to Your Purpose course that will launch this summer. The program will lead you through four modules to:
– Clarify the kind of life you long for
– Find out what’s blocking you from living that life
– Look at what makes you feel alive and adds value to the lives of others
– And take the steps to move towards the career and life of your dreams
And it includes everything you need from meditations on your heart’s desires to cover letter templates.
To finish the story, I got the job but K and I didn’t survive the distance. He had been away from his home in BC for 4 years for university and decided that he needed to go home. We had already been long distance for a year at that time and I was still in school and so we didn’t know when we’d have the chance to be together. We broke up and I was devastated.
Now, many years later, my heart has healed and I still think of him fondly. He inspired me in many ways, showed me that love was possible and that art has a place in the centre of our lives. We still occasionally connect on the phone or over email but I haven’t seen him since that summer in Newfoundland.
I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend and are making space for things that make you feel alive.
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