“Storms make trees take deeper roots”

Hey hey, I’m back with another few paragraphs to get you all in gear for this week!  I normally try to stay fairly upbeat on here, especially on Monday since the whole idea is to share a little something to keep our motivation up after the weekend, but this week might be a bit deeper than we’re used to. 

As I’m sure you’ve figured out by past posts (or, those of you who I talk to daily, my venting sessions) I’ve just finished my master’s degree and am beginning the job hunt.  Yes, after an eternity nearly two decades of education and graded essays, I’m looking for that stepping stone into my career.  I have my dream role in mind, as I’m sure we all do, but I also know of quite a few industries and roles that I would be happy in.  It’s important, I think, to keep the ideal job in mind but be open to a little compromise, especially when entering a difficult job market.  With all that considered, I had prepared myself to come up against a few obstacles—maybe there weren’t many roles that exactly fit my skillset and I’d have to convince prospective employers that my knowledge and skills are applicable to the industry I’m applying for.  Perhaps an organisation is looking for somebody with my education level but a tad more experience in professional roles; no worries, I thought, even though my first job was a summer one you can’t get much more high-stakes than your entire job being to protect lives and ensure your patrons are having fun all at once.

I even knew that, applying for UK-based roles at least until my student visa expires, would be a challenge.  There’s a seemingly infinite amount of rules, regulations, and documents surrounding a Tier 2 (general work) visa sponsorship: what positions are eligible, how switching from an existing visa differs from applicants outside the UK, whether a job title eliminates a role’s eligibility…you get my drift.  And although I’m not a lawyer (sorry, mom and dad) I have read the Tier 2 Policy Guidance, Register of Tier 2 and Tier 5 Sponsors, and Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers so often that I can quote which sections and paragraphs pertain to my situation.  I thought that by arming myself with this knowledge, I would be better prepared for the inevitable disappointment when I earned an interview only to be told that, despite the organisation’s interest, they couldn’t sponsor me for that role.  My first interview has come and gone and, in some ways, knowing everything I do about immigration and visa restrictions has helped me.  I’m disappointed that I can’t take on a position with an organisation I love, but I understand their hands are tied.  What this knowledge doesn’t help with quite so much is the emotional toll.  Intellectually I know I will be alright; I’ve always been a determined person (I believe the word my preschool teacher used was precocious) and I have an incredible support network.  It’s one thing to know all of this in my mind, but to know it in my heart?  That’s tough.

We all have moments—they might last a day, a week, or a year—where we think “how could this be where I ended up?” or “this is the worst [insert time measurement] ever, it’ll never get better.”  I’ve had quite a few moments of feeling helpless, anxious, and just plain sad.  It’s terrifying to think that in a few months I might have to leave the life I’ve built for myself in Scotland, even if it’s only for a little while.  That said, I’m immensely lucky to have family, friends, and an amazingly supportive boyfriend to help me weather this emotional storm.  I know that eventually this will pass and, a few years down the road, I’ll be able to see how this experience has shaped me.  For now, though, I have times where I feel blinded by the storm.

If you’ve been going through a rough patch, or even a particularly awful day or week in some aspect of your life, you might be feeling similarly.  I wanted to remind you—and myself!—that every storm ends eventually: the fiercest tempests, strongest squalls, heaviest downpours, eventually give way to clear skies and rays of sun.  And the trees that weather these storms are the ones that grow the strongest roots.  They are the trees that not only survived, but thrived, in difficult conditions and have been made all the better for it.  So be a little bit of an earth-hugger and find that strong tree inside you (yes I actually wrote that and it sounds silly but who cares, life’s too short to be serious all the time).

I’ll end my non-traditional, indirectly motivational post with this: the easy times are great, but they aren’t the moments that shape who we are.  Take a minute to reflect upon who you are, who you want to be, and what you stand for, especially in the middle of difficulty.  Who knows, you might just get back to your roots and grow even stronger.  Feel free to share what you’ve struggled with, and grown from, in the past—or something you’re dealing with now!  Also if you know of any Tier 2 sponsors who need a marketing and stakeholder management guru send them my way.

xx

*title quote: Dolly Parton

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