I think it is fair to say that it’s been a bit of an odd journey. Though, it was also very good for me, cathartic. I had a lot of time to reflect on the past, work through some things that have been lingering in the back of my mind for years and took a lot emotionally, and think about the things I want to be doing with my time.
Considering myself as someone “off the job market” for this period of time was rather strange. It took a very long time to accept that this was happening and that I’d get back to work when I was ready. There were some attempts last year in November, a mere two months after surgery, when I thought I’d had to start looking for a job again. After all, that was the plan before I found out about that little something in my head. I had a couple of interviews and it was exhausting! It took all my energy for several days to prepare for an interview. I had to write everything down and try to remember what I actually achieved and am good at cause I’d forget the next minute or wouldn’t find the right words. It was tiring! It took a nudge from my husband and I decided rightfully so to quit looking for a job and delay it until this year.
Working out what I’m good at and want to do
When I finally was ready beginning of the summer this year, I felt like I had forgotten everything I know and had done in the last 10 years. It was like starting fresh. I did a couple of exercises to help me pin down my talents, skills and competencies thanks to a transactional analysis exercise my mum sent me. The results didn’t show anything that I actually hadn’t known before, but they were certainly a confirmation and assurance. What was hidden away in the depth of my head, I managed to dig out to the surface again.
If anyone is curious to also take some time to reflect on latent talents, here are the exercises:
What did you do often, with pleasure and what did you do well at [10, 15, 20, 30] years old?
Reflect on your abilities and connect it to your current professional situation:
- What had meaning to you?
- What did you manage?
- What was easy for you?
- What did you enjoy doing?
- What have you done often?
- What have you done particularly well?
- For what could you have been praised?
Things that you did/do often is your potential. Things that you enjoy(ed) doing is your talent and things that you did/do well is your competency.
It took me a couple of rounds to get through this in as much detail as possible. But as I said, it does bring clarity and, who knows, could reveal something you didn’t think about before.
Here’s the thing. It is hard “selling” yourself for hours on end, multiple times a week. I know this is what you have to do and people do it all the time. But, oh my, what a shock to the system to suddenly talk about myself, be switched on and perform all the time.
I recommend a lot of down-time in between, where no one talks to you and you don’t have to talk to anyone or answer any questions.
I always dreaded the “so what have you been doing for the past year” question. It’s of course not ideal to have a gap in your CV, but I grew more confident with each interview, that it wasn’t a barrier. Rather, it is normal and can be a bonus. Basically, I was worried for nothing.
Photo credit: Deeson Group Ltd.