The great Ru Paul has this iconic line that he always sassily reminds his contestants in the last few minutes of every episode of his hit tv show Ru Paul's Drag Race that I just adore:
"If you can't love yourself, how the hecckkkkk you gonna love somebody else?"
The phrase is pretty universal ----- with it typically being associated with topics surrounding intimacy and love. But, to me, it's so much more than that. Hear me out.
I recently accepted a long awaited internship with one of the top up and coming software leaders in the world. I start the job in less than a week, so it's safe to say my nerves are driving me crazy right about now. A couple of weeks ago, however, you couldn't have told me 'nothin because I just knew I was going kill it like Beyoncé in this new position. So why do I now, a few days before my official start date, feel like I'm not cut out for it? After having, first, been laid off, and then experiencing close to two months of receiving rejection, after rejection, after rejection, I finally received an unsolicited email from said amazing company inquiring about my interest in a potential internship opportunity that had arisen on their team. 24 hours later, I received another email from a different team for the same company asking about my interest. I still remember where I was when I opened each email. For the first, I was in my room drawing and binge watching Love Island UK. For the second, I was about to get out the car and head into Michael's Art Store for yet another pack of colored pencils because I had worn down all my old ones to nubs. When I received both emails the same sort of feeling crept over me like a weighted blanket: fear. Was I really this awesome, I thought to myself? (I mean that in the least cocky way possible too, like I am so serious)
I had pretty much given up on the frantic job search antics weeks before. You know what I'm talking about ---- waking up every morning, hopping on Indeed or LinkedIn for10,000 hours until, before you know it, the sun starts to set and you're still staring at the computer screen with your exhausted eyeballs looking like Spongebob's whenever he's shown as stressed out on the show. I can't even begin to tell you how many rejection emails I received. You know the ones that go a little something like this:
"Hi Marjorie, thank you so much for your application. While we appreciate your effort, we have decided to go with other..."
You can try and be a positive person all you want, but after a while getting those kind of notifications everyday can wear the spirit down --- a lot. By that time though, the unemployment checks had kicked in, and I have two amazing parents that still allow me to grace them with my presence for free, so being broke wasn't too much of an issue for me anymore.
However defeated I may have felt though, the fighter in me never gave up treating everyday as a new opportunity to grow and better myself. A large focus of my desired career path is creativity so I'd use most of my free time drawing, reworking my online portfolio, writing, or networking.
One day after, I'd say, my 1500th job rejection (just kidding...sort of), I came across this job on LinkedIn that struck my interest and wanted to know more about the role, as my experience within the I.T. industry is basically entry-level. I googled the name of the type of role and the name of the company to see if I could dig up any insight into this particular job function. A lady's LinkedIn profile popped up as one of the top results to my search, so I clicked on her profile URL and decided I'd muster up the courage to message her. Judging by her profile and credentials, she was pretty important so I was a bit intimidated and the cynical thought of her thinking I was weird and not responding to me did cross my mind. But at this point I figured I didn't have much to lose, but everything to gain.
To my surprise, though, she responded within minutes and asked me for my resume and CV and said she'd be happy to share it with her colleagues. I sent her my information. Two months later, I get the two emails about the two different internship opportunities. I interviewed for both and came to find out that both teams fall under the same director, and later they both decide to offer me the job. Here I am, finally having accepted my unemployment status and inability to land a job that I actually want (so first world and annoying, right?) ---- I was taken aback, to say the least. I'd never been fought over by my crushes in high school, let alone two potential life changing opportunities with some amazing software company. Why did someone as awesome as them want little ole me?
Before I did anything to self-sabotage my shot at a life-changing opportunity, I had to sit down and really evaluate my sense of self; not myself but my sense of self. I believe one's self to be their body: what they can physically touch with their own two hands. But one's sense of self is literally how they view themselves inside and out. Obviously my background aroused enough interest in these managers to want to take the time to reach out to me, which meant I was qualified. I had been working very hard to boost my resume and develop my professional and personal portfolio. All the facts were there, but the facts meant NOTHING if I didn't believe that I deserved to be recognized.
The job market is a jungle gym, especially given the current social, political, and economic climate. Gone are the days where you fill out a paper application, walk into a restaurant, or a store, or a firm and physically hand a person a document detailing your desire for employment, and allowing them to see your actual face and judge you as an actual living, breathing, human being that they can physically see in front of them. We're all numbers in one huge numbers game and unless you know how to beat the algorithms and the ATS machines, there's a huge chance you'll be like me and my 1500 rejections. But the minute you start to take it personal and beat yourself up is the minute you give all your power away.
To an AI machine you may just be a number, but to one potentially lucky employer you are a million bucks. But jobs come and go and unless you know and stand firm in the belief that you are gold, there's no way someone else will ever be able to appreciate YOU, with your actual skills being a mere value add. It's so easy to base our worth off of something that, at the end of the day, essentially pays the bills. I hope that we all one day work for employers that value us individuals with hearts, minds, and souls. But in such a saturated market and highly competitive world, there's honestly not much room for empathy and hand-holding. That's why it's important to remember that to someone you're an amazing brother, sister, son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin or friend; that you're gifted at XYZ; that you're passionate about and/or made a difference for and by XYZ. Bottom line: you're worth it and if you don't believe that how the hecckkk is someone else supposed to acknowledge or recognize it?
So, there you have it. No matter what you're going through, whatever you want to achieve, by all means work as hard as you can to achieve it and fulfill that dream, but always remember to remember ----- that knowing you CAN is the ultimate key in owning true success, in and out the office.
Now sashay away, and WORK it.