In many of the world’s greatest fairy tales and fables there is something that will bring the hapless hero or heroine all their heart desires. For Jack it was magic beans, for Ali Baba it was “Open Sesame”. Arthur needed Excalibur and Snow White slept for a kiss. Is it any surprise then that after 11 months of effort, I’m ready for the elixir that will bring me my heart’s desire: meaningful employment? (Note: that's professional desire. George, you know you're still #1 on my list.)
I can’t be alone here. For anyone who’s been looking and doing as prescribed by state-mandated agencies, career coaches, and professional associations there comes a point when you MUST doubt yourself. Not to do so would be unnatural, right? And would make me want to punch you. Or punch anyone who says, “What about something at CostCo, just for the holidays?”, because there is no place MORE. MEANINGFUL. then CostCo at the holidays.
You begin to look outside yourself at all those others. Those people who have jobs and even more importantly, careers. What do they have that you don’t? This then is the beginning of magical thinking. They have something, some intangible thing that if you could only hear it, see it, touch it, you would get their magic. In that sense it is me because although, on the surface, I’m doing everything I’m supposed to I’m missing the one thing everyone else has or knows about. The magic potion.
Needless to say, this is not a great state to be in. It means that the already increasing miasma of desperation that cloaks my being is enhanced by neediness that YOU have the answer. That if I listen to you more closely, if I simply ask you the right question, you’ll say the words that will drop the veil from my eyes and I’ll awake to find myself chicly dressed in a comfortable office not too far from my home working part-time, well paid with benefits. Oh wait that would be a fairy tale in today’s world.
Mixed metaphors and fables aside this feeling is real. Not so pervasive as to be paralyzing but it bashes around my brain from time to time. If I were smarter I would know what to do, I could find the magic formula, I would have the magic words. Basically, that the fault lies within me, which would mean I had control over my situation and could fix it.