It’s me again! I’m writing in on yet another rainy day in Chicago. Whoever told me that there were “seasons” in Chicago was lying to me. There is only too cold and too hot. And in between those extremes is this month where the temperature seems okay on its face, but it’s undermined by the constant rainfall and bone-chilling wind that I never seem to dress right for.
Don’t move to Illinois. Move to California.
I have some personal news: I got a new job! I start tomorrow and am very excited and nervous.
You may have heard me allude to being unemployed on this blog. I’ve been not-working since February. I left my previous company to give myself the space to find a role that was a better fit, and I think I’ve finally found it.
This is a relief, because after a month in, I ran out of things to do. I have been reading books, taking long walks, going to author events, the like. My family’s visited a couple times, and I’ve been back to Orlando as well. But I also miss doing things, you know?
It’s interesting how closely work becomes tied to your self-worth. In conversations at happy hours, on Uber rides, with movers and building managers and neighbors, eventually the question of “What do you do?” comes up, and I have internally braced myself each time. It’s hard not to answer that question defensively or feel like you’re on the back foot of any situation. I didn’t realize how much security I felt from having a job until I didn’t have one.
Sometimes I skipped going to events entirely out of fear that the question would come up (and it always does). I thought, what if they think I’m a flake, someone who couldn’t hack it in a real job? Maybe her parents pay her rent and support her, because who else would callously quit their job with no backup plan?
I am happy to count myself back in the professional world, but I will still continue to examine these feelings that my stint of unemployment has blown the dust off. I know that I am not my job and that my self-worth goes beyond how I feel and perform at work, but it is difficult to remember when you don’t have anything else going on.
I made this post’s featured photo one of me at an Ad Club event. I spent most of college doing these kinds of professional development events and thinking about where I’d end up after graduation. I was very green then. I was convinced that work would be my life’s ultimate passion and that it would give me endless fulfillment. So after I came out of my first job finding out that maybe this wasn’t the case, I realized how important it was to find value and passion in all areas of life.
This is my segue into saying that hobbies are important! I have benefited immensely from writing regularly and pursuing interests outside of my industry. It feels invigorating to work on something that is completely mine. It feels reassuring to know that if something were to happen to this next job or any subsequent one, I will still have dreams and wants that exist outside of a 9-to-5.
This has gone longer than I originally intended, so in the most natural transition yet, here are things online that I’ve been enjoying lately:
- The “Rule Of Four” That Keeps Me Focused, Productive, & Fulfilled: The Financial Diet’s Chelsea Fagan on diversifying what makes you happy
- ‘Ope!’: The All-Purpose Expression of Midwestern Politeness: “Ope” became part of my lexicon at some point in the past couple years, and I’m not sure what to make of it
- 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings: “Ask ‘Will this scale?’ no matter what it is”
- The End of Male Approval in Comedy: How Tina Fey and Rachel Bloom are “changing the way female comics engage with male gatekeepers”
- Taking a tour of Chicago with Eve Ewing: Love her recommendations on what to do in Chicago. You can also find more things to do in her Twitter thread