Tag Archives: Cancer and Employment

All the Right Reasons

I poured my guts out a few months ago about an experience of applying for a full time job, the first real full time 9-5, salaried with benefits kind of job since being turned inside out by breast cancer and all that came with it. Recently the Young Survival Coalition shared my story as a guest blogger, and they asked if I wanted to revise the content at all. I didn’t because what followed in the few weeks after I shared my heartache at not getting that job deserved its very own story.

I hate that cliché of “Everything happens for a reason.” You just can’t live by that creed when you have been diagnosed with cancer because what follows is some horrible head game of trying to understand what you did to deserve this. “Shit happens,” or “Bad things happen to good people,” seemed more apropos at the time.

My current motto is a line I heard from Abraham, (the channeled information shared by Esther Hicks) that goes, “You can never do the right thing for the wrong reasons. It is not possible.” Let’s break that down a bit. What I thought was the “right thing” was getting that job. My reasons had to do with job security and financial stability. That and thinking that to be effective I needed to align myself with a larger organization and mission.

So I felt this deep sting of rejection, the embarrassment of flubbing through a crappy second interview. Then in the week that followed, something shifted for me. You can’t fake this kind of learning by throwing on a pair of rose colored glasses. You have to dig around in the murkiness of your hurt and pain for a bit before something new emerges. What surfaced was a realization that my reasons for wanting this job were all wrong.

You are likely thinking that job security, benefits and financial stability are important. They do have importance, but in retrospect, I see these as largely one dimensional, serving to enhance the financial view of my life. Acting from this place of fear, I was unknowingly trying to override the alignment with my life purpose, the growth of my unique gifts and the contributions I seek to share while I have breath to breathe. I was afraid to trust and I was temporarily blinded by fear, so much so that I lost faith in my natural resourcefulness and the bounty that already exists in my life.

I would have had to give up too many important elements in my life to have taken on this full time job. Even early in the application process, I tried to squelch that tiny screaming voice in the back of my mind. I knew getting that job would mean a big departure from my availability and focus as a life coach. I remembered that promise I made to myself when I finished my training with CTI, knowing full well how important and vital this work is in the world, that even if cancer were to resurface, that I want to be doing this work until the day I die.

There are also the handful of other meaningful side jobs that help keep me afloat, those too I would have had to let go of. These clients are people whose work I deeply respect and who rely on me. In service to my personal mission, I only take on freelance work that serves two purposes, 1.) Jobs that offer me new learning and skills; and 2.) Jobs that offer healing, inspiration and enlightenment to this planet.

There were personal reasons that dawned on me too, realizing that I wouldn’t be there to get my son off the bus, and I’d only get to see him for those 2 tired and cranky hours right before bed. He is only 6, and I know I won’t be able to get these precious early years back. Besides, after school child care is not very easy to find when you have a son with special needs. I wouldn’t be available to help my mother in law who is sadly advancing in early onset Alzheimer’s. Come to think of it, between their doctor appointments and mine, there probably aren’t enough sick days and vacation days afforded by an employer, even a generous one.

When you are facing a difficult decision, seeking to make a change in your life, ask yourself which values you are honoring and which will you be squashing in the pursuit of this new dream. I hold a high value on freedom and flexibility, both afforded to me as a self-employed person. I value family and motherhood. I value independence and self-reliance. I value the fact that I can carve out an hour or two to write when the muse strikes me.

Here is something else so surprising and fantastic that emerged from this momentary fall on my face…

After I gave myself a few days to really feel all the icky sticky feelings that came up with not getting this job, I turned things around in a big way by using the very skills and tools that I offer to my coaching clients. We’re talking serious gratitude practices, and cleaning up my limiting beliefs and the emotional shockwaves that I was feeling by using EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique). This allowed me to open up some breathing room in my nervous system, and I could start to feel my creative resourcefulness returning.

The most amazing thing happened next. Without having to do any outward push, seeds that I had planted months before suddenly bloomed in my life. Clients were coming out of the woodwork. More freelance work started flowing my way, all amazing projects and people that I’m delighted to work with. One client offered me a generous raise out of the blue! This beautiful new blueprint is emerging. I’m coming to see that by doing the right thing for the RIGHT reasons, by staying true to my dreams and my life purpose, by living and acting in alignment with all of my values, the financial stability can be a natural side effect. I’m excited to see where this new learning takes me!

If you ever want to explore how coaching can make a difference in your life, send me a message and I’d be happy to join you in self-discovery.  We are made for so much more that we often believe or allow!

MelissaEppardCoaching.com

 

Gratitude Mandala

Advertisements

Trying and Crying, an Igloo made of Tears: Employment after Cancer

I pounded my fists into the snow, packing down the bucket, an obsessive attempt at completing the igloo Julian had started. Being only 6, he gave up about two bricks into the process before returning to his sled.

Sliding the icy cylinder into place, soaking in the silence of winter, I let the first fiery tears eek out the corners of my eyes. Then, I couldn’t hold back, I found myself suddenly full on sobbing into the snow remembering what a stupid ass I had made of myself in that job interview. The sting of embarrassment was so deep that I silently prayed they would forget all about it and just do me the favor of never calling me back.

It was my first real interview for a full time job since the breast cancer diagnosis in 2014. As fate would have it, I had a stomach bug just 2 days before the interview, so when I arrived, there were tinges of fuzziness that certainly didn’t allow me to put my best self forward. The interviewees sat around me in a semi-circle reading from a list of questions, and all I could hear were pens scratching paper, my consciousness lifting about 3 feet above my head, right there in the corner, trying to find a way out. A hot flash came on, I wanted to tear at my clothing, crack the door, open a window. Does this flush look like embarrassment? Someone asked another question and that name I was searching for evaded me, the chemo brain had just punched that piece of memory out of reach.

Was all of this, even the opportunity, just a sympathetic gesture for the cancer survivor? Am I still viable as a contributing member of society? My heart and hands yearn to be busy, to contribute, to share my passion and my ideas. I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t all that bad, but really truly that wasn’t my best self in the room that day.

Is it not enough that I sloughed through 5 months of treatment, that my breasts and ovaries were cut away from me, that there will be no more babies? I told my husband that I am tired of fighting, this fighting for my life and fighting for survival. He said then just stop fighting and start loving, start allowing. There is so much at stake though, so much risk. When we are talking about the nuts and bolts of survival, like the big small stuff of paying bills on time, keeping the vehicles in operating condition, making sure we have health insurance, that our kid is happy and well, it mounts to a pile of responsibility. That is on the table right now, not to even get into the looking over my shoulder at the ever uncertain future.

I remember the saying, “All is well, all is well, all manner of things shall be well,” and I’m really not so sure. I don’t see a lot of OK-ness reflected in the 24 hour news cycle, nothing seems OK at home or abroad. I look for it online on my social media feed but it’s too unsettling there. Where does this elusive feeling of OKness reside and how can I cloak myself in it?

Here is the best that I can muster, sitting here in the sun, the clickety clack of my fingers on the keys. I will not go hungry tonight. My adorable son will come home from school and snuggle up to me and touch my face. My husband will come home from work tired and hungry and we will enjoy each other’s company. This time was not guaranteed to me when that cancer diagnosis came to topple me down. My rock solid sister-girlfriends are a phone call away. Spring is coming soon. All is well, all is well, all manner of things…

Thinking of that interview, I choose to free myself from the shame of my stumble and fall. I had the strength and courage just to even put myself out there and try. Nothing is owed to me, not even my survival.

Underneath this melting snow, there is life, an endless cycle of renewal. It is easy to forget what is possible when all you see is dirty snow and mashed up yellow grass and mud, how from dirty, mucky places such beautiful, enriching and vibrant things grow.

All is well, all is well, all manner of things shall be well.

 

igloo