I accepted a job offer last week with the University of Arizona as a contract analyst. I will be reviewing and negotiating agreements on behalf of the University, and I am so excited about it. I’m writing this post to tell the story of how it came about, because it might be helpful to others who are struggling with what decisions about their career, relationships–really anything.
The job market isn’t great for new law graduates right now. Everybody knows that. And people love to complain about it. And I fell into that fearful place for awhile where I would frantically apply for random jobs, knowing in my heart that they weren’t going to work out. Even more important, I never stopped to ask myself: did I even want these jobs? There was no time to ask this question, I just had to apply, apply, apply! (I imagine many of my classmates can relate)
Here’s the thing: anxiety and fear do not help people make good decisions. There is no situation in this world that won’t improve for you if you relax.
So I chilled out. I decided I would focus on bar exam study and quit scrambling around applying to these jobs I didn’t really want. Then, within a day or two of making this decision, I received a Facebook message from my friend and classmate Greg. Greg and I had talked about our career goals, and I told him I really wanted to learn to be a great negotiator. I told him about my fear that women weren’t as skilled at business negotiation as men because we have so much doubt in our own capabilities. Many of us (absolutely myself included) have “impostor syndrome”, where, regardless of how accomplished we may be, we are waiting for the day when everybody figures out the truth–that we’re not as smart or put-together as we appear to be.
Fortunately, Greg didn’t buy it. He insisted women could be just as good as men at negotiation. He told me about an event at a horse ranch where MBA students were going to work with the horses to learn about negotiation, and every part of me knew I had to attend. (I won’t tell the entire story… my friends are probably tired of hearing about the horse-whispering, but I am just obsessed with it.)
Flash forward a few months and the Facebook message from Greg told me about this job with the UA. I read the job description and immediately felt a deep inner calm. I thought, “This is it.” Then, as usual, my obnoxious internal voice started arguing with me (we all have it … it’s like a crazy baboon screaming pointless, judgmental stuff at you). She screamed, “Uhmm this is not a law firm position?!? Hello! What will people think?” But I knew, in my heart, this position was perfect. I got a good feeling throughout my entire body about it, and that feeling only got stronger after the interview. Everything felt right.
And it worked out.
My point is that you can use this internal guidance system to make all decisions in your life. Your body sends you signals constantly, and if you pay attention to them rather than letting the crazy internal baboon dictate your choices, things work out. They just do. This is coming from a person who has spent the majority of her life making decisions based on logic and reason and trying to be really clever… and ending up really unhappy. The internal compass can be used for relationships (maybe that guy sounds really perfect on paper and fits your internal checklist of desired qualities, but when you’re in his presence, you don’t actually really like him) and careers, and even fitness (if you hate that gym… don’t go to that gym!). I absolutely believe in having huge goals, but can you be willing to admit that you cannot control every single detail that leads to that outcome? I’m pretty darn certain I’m going to end up living in California, but every effort I made to get out there this year just didn’t feel right. If you have to desperately struggle for something, chances are it’s not meant to happen right now, and that is okay. Maybe something better is coming :)
The world is changing rapidly. It’s like this huge tsumani wave that is crushing a lot of the big institutions that we thought were so stable. You can fight against the wave and risk drowning, or get on a surfboard and ride the wave. I am letting go and riding the wave!