My contract with Raytheon ended in December and since then I have been interviewing for what I called “the job of my dreams.” On Friday, the board let me know they chose a different candidate. February 12, 2016 will forever be the day didn’t get my dream job.
I cried when I got the news, because there was a lot of emotion wrapped up in the process and hope wrapped up in the outcome. I wanted the job for several reasons:
There are a couple of good reasons in there, like working with people I love on a cause I adore. But there are mostly not-so-good reasons. I knew that, but I still called it the job of my dreams.
The truth is, my first reaction to the job was, no. When my mentor called to recommended I apply I said…nooooooo…in a falling-down-a-well-backwards-with-flailing-arms kind of way. Like I didn’t want to be falling, but was resigned to the fact that that was what was happening.
I said no because at the very moment my mentor called, I was sitting at the dining room table with my mom planning a new future for myself. A future I had just recently realized as my actual dream job.
For me, realizing my dream is a big deal. I’m not one of those people who has always known what I wanted to do. By contrast, my husband has always known what he wants, and he does exactly what he set out to do. I am jealous of people like my husband. In 6th grade I dressed up as the first woman president of the United States for career day, not because I wanted to be president but because I have lofty expectations for myself and at age 11 president seemed like the highest goal possible. Since I don’t feel I have yet met my own expectations and am horribly jealous of others who know what they want to do, I live with a deep sense of frustration and shame around my own career. Yeah. It’s fun stuff.
I can honestly say that I have both enthusiastically loved and vehemently hated every job I ever had. I am good at whatever I do and at the core all my work revolves around communication. I am a communicator, and I love it. But at the end of every job (and every job had a very definite, and sometimes quite harsh, end) I walk away with a lot of lessons learned and the knowledge that, no, that’s not exactly it.
Last year, while I was doing something that wasn’t exactly it, I had an epiphany about what it is. After listening to The Secret on Audibles a total of four times as I drove to and from El Segundo daily, I figured out two things.
1) I always get exactly what I ask for.
I wanted to go to a private college multiple time zones away from my parents, so did.
I wanted to be paid as an environmental activist out of college, so was.
I wanted out of that job and go to graduate school, so did.
I wanted a sustainability fellowship, so I got it.
I wanted to leave LA, so left.
I wanted to move back to LA, so moved.
I wanted to work in Santa Monica on sustainability stuff, so did.
I wanted to do environmental consulting, so did.
I wanted a job with good health benefits, so got one.
I wanted to create new programs, so did.
I wanted to be a communications manager, so was.
I wanted to leave the non-profit world, so did.
I realized that my career was not random. I asked the Universe for each of the things I wanted and the Universe delivered, always at the right time. My mom has long told me, “you’re lucky” and I know everything works out for me. I just didn’t realize that the universe was delivering exactly what I asked for.
2) I never ask the Universe for what I REALLY want
In large part because I didn’t know what I really wanted. However, I had a new sense of responsibility with the realization that whatever I say I want will manifest.
With this understanding of my tremendous power to create, I thought very carefully about what makes me most fulfilled. I became truly honest about what makes my soul happy. I clarified what type of work would meet my lofty expectations and clear away the frustration and shame. I needed to think big. Be bold. Dig deep.
I want to get paid to speak.
There is was. Sitting right there. An epiphany 41-years in the making. I want to get paid a whole lot of money to speak to very large groups of people. That’s what I want.
I started to tell people what I wanted, because I was ecstatic about the realization. Don’t you have to be famous to get paid to speak, one person asked? You’ve never actually done that, another cautioned. What will you talk about, several inquired. I don’t know, I replied with confidence. I don’t need to know. The Secret says I don’t need to know the details, I just need to know what I want. And I want to get paid to speak.
My mom asked, how do you do that? And I snapped. I don’t know but it’s what I’m going to do, I said defensively. So mom went home and Googled “how to get paid to speak” and printed out quality information and brought it to my house for us to review so I could start making a plan. And that is when my mentor called and recommended I apply for the fancy-titled-safe-and-secure job working with people I loved on a cause I adore.
As soon as he said it I knew I would apply and I knew I would shelve my dream. I would tell myself to forgo the uncertain road of getting paid to speak (especially since I didn’t even know what the hell I was speaking about, what was I, nuts?) in favor of this perfectly paved fancy title.
The Universe must be telling me I want this, I thought to myself. Maybe this is what I want. Yes, yes this seems like exactly what I should want.
Once I said I wanted the fancy-titled job, I turned all my Secret-teachings to get the title. I actively worked to manifest what I now told people, with conviction I almost believed, was the job of my dreams.
And people fell in love with the fancy dream. No one questioned the legitimacy of the job. No one asked how I could possibly think this was my dream. I became enamored by the way people ooohh’ed and ahhhh’ed over the title. I loved how people gushed “it would be perfect for you.” People “just knew I would get it.” I was a shoo-in. Everyone was happy.
I had no doubts about getting a first-round interview and even picked my suit before I officially secured the second round, because I knew that would happen too.
But something interesting occurred in the first round. Something I didn’t expect.
It was a phone interview with one member of the board and on the call I found myself doing something I do. I found myself trying to get the job by being whatever the board member wanted me to be. I carefully gauged what the board member said and responded the way I knew she wanted me to respond. I found myself promising to be someone I didn’t really want to be.
After the interview I had a conversation with my Self.
Self, I said, I am a bit disappointed. I feel the need to remind you that we promised each other we would manifest work that allowed us to be fully self-expressed. We promised no more being “whatever someone else wants us to be.” We promised to be authentic and live up to the leader we know we are. What exactly are you doing right now? Why are you going back on our deal?
I had a valid point and my Self nodded. You’re right, I replied. We did make that promise. We still think being self-expressed is incredibly important. So how about this, how about in the next interview we tell the board who we are and powerfully share what we bring to the table? Let’s inspire them to want us, the real us. We can enroll them in the possibility of us as a powerful, dynamic leader for the organization.
It was a good talk. In the end my Self and I agreed on the plan and felt confident about our ability to inspire. We worked on the question, “why do you want this job” and turned it around to answer “why does the organization want Tenaya.”
So on a sparkling California winter day, wearing my beautiful new suit, purchased by my ever-supportive mother as a Christmas gift, with my hair coifed, wearing earrings I bought with money collected by my loving Toastmasters group as a good-bye present from Raytheon, I walked into the second interview with shoulders back, head high. My Self and I were clear on our goal of engaging the board in our brand of leadership.
When the question came as to why I wanted the job I launched into my inspirational story and enthusiastically laid out my brand. A brand my Facebook friends and former colleagues have helped define. A brand I’ve been curating for the past couple years. A brand I feel good about. A brand of self-expression:
I expressed myself as a self-directed visionary leader, and then the interview was over and I held my breath for four weeks hoping I had enrolled the board in the possibility of me.
During those weeks I had doubts, but I buoyed myself up. In a feverish mode of manifestation I acted as if I already had what I wanted. I wrote a Facebook post announcing I got the job and emailed it to myself. I drew a picture of me at my desk on the first day of work. I planned out what I would wear to certain events and I jotted down new ideas to bring to the board. Anytime I felt a seed of doubt I put on the song “Unstoppable” by Foxy Shazam (my personal anthem) and turned up the volume and danced around and envisioned being CEO.
As the weeks wore on I couldn’t just keep dancing around my living room. By the end of January I had completed the to-do list I made upon leaving Raytheon, because I was manifesting a start-date of February 1. But February 1 came and went I needed to stay busy. I needed to be in action.
One night I decided to transform my eco-blogging website, founded during my last round of unemployment, into Tenaya Speaks. All of a sudden it became very clear what Tenaya would speak about, and to whom. Copy for the site flowed freely. Photos were at my fingertips. Everything aligned.
Tenaya Speaks provides:
Without fuss or muss or great labor of any kind I birthed my dream, made my website and outlined a marketing plan. And I felt good. I felt self-expressed.
So when the phone rang that Friday and the board member told me that I was wonderful in the interview and that it was a really hard decision but that they had chosen a different candidate, I was OK. A little emotional, but ultimately OK.
I realized that I had already put in my request to the Universe: to get paid lots of money to speak to large groups of people. And the Universe was getting busy with that request. The Universe gave me the fancy-titled side-trip to allow time during the holidays with my family and time to complete my to-do list and time to come up with what Tenaya Speaks about.
By not getting the job of my dreams I have the opportunity to create my real dream. And I am going to give up being scared and give up that I need a fancy title and give up that I need to arrive. I am going to have faith, knowing I always get what I want.
So let me know if you want:
Here we go on a new journey to create the real job of my dreams. There is much to do on this adventure, and Tenaya Speaks is officially open for business.
A Bit About Me
I am Tenaya, a communications strategist and public speaker telling stories that connect, inspire...and laugh.