A few months ago, I received the best advice I could give to someone who is struggling: SAY NO. What does that mean? It means when something doesn’t feel right or when the outcome won’t lead to caring for yourself, turn it down.
About a month ago when I was edging in on a year since graduation with no “real” job, I was miraculously asked to interview by a local non-profit that works with young girls. Having always been a very vocal proponent of women’s empowerment (side note: I told my mom I was going to be a “women’s lawyer” when I was 9), the position seemed like it would be a perfect fit. Additionally, everyone I told of the interview seemed to know someone who worked there who they then called to recommend me.
So, I go in to interview, have a wonderful conversation with the managing coordinator. About halfway through the interview I realize, “Shit. I don’t want this job.”
It was a perfectly fine job: an opportunity to work in an afterschool program teaching nine young girls about women’s history and protecting their bodies.
Sounds fulfilling, right?
Thing is… I don’t like kids. That’s a blasphemous thing for me to say since I nannied my way through college.
(A caveat to J/K/L who I know are reading this: your girls are my family and I love you and them dearly.)
But as I sat in that chair thinking about lesson plans and resolving squabbles, I was already tired. To me, the position felt like I’d be a glorified nanny with worse pay.
At that point I didn’t excuse myself and walk out. I finished the interview eagerly and went home. The reason I didn’t email the org to withdraw my application immediately was that this was my first interview in months in a field even remotely related to the non-profit work I wanted to do. Also, so many people had called the org saying, “Watch for Hannah’s resume!” I didn’t want to look like an idiot for turning down this seemingly awesome position in a job drought.
Then, I remembered Susannah Breslin’s advice I had just read: Turn down work.
She challenged her reader to pay attention to that instinct to flee from certain jobs. Do it. Run. It’s not the right fit. The tiredness that came over me sitting in that interview was telling and I’m so proud of myself for paying attention.
Oppositely, as I sat in front of my two new co-workers interviewing for the job I’ve been hired for, we were all excitedly jumping in with ways to grow the organization. I came home imagining all the things I’d love to get started on. I started reading up on subjects I knew would help me in my position once I finally got to work.
That’s how you know something works. It kickstarts your brain and gets you motivated.
If I haven’t convinced you to pay attention to your passions yet, watch this amazing video.
If I had taken the previous job “to build my resume” for a job I really wanted, I wouldn’t be doing what I love now.
Pay attention to what you love. There’s a reason you love it. Share your talents. Share your joy.