When I get rough news that feels like a professional setback, I do two things. First, I get frustrated and pull away. I try to stand on my own and deal with it. I’ve been guilty many times of thinking, “How can this happen to me?” or “When is my luck going to turn?” or “What am I doing wrong?” I think I should be able to handle it because it’s just life. HA! My Type A Personality considers these thoughts as independent and self-sufficient, but they eventually end up taking me to a very cold and lonely place. At this point, I get tired of the stress, I let go of the pride and I turn to my support system.
This may seem like a natural choice but it’s been a challenge for me. At first I feel guilty for sharing my disappointment and asking for help. It comes from last year when I didn’t want to bring too many people on the turbulent roller-coaster called The Construction Job Market 2010. The ride was hard enough for me, why would I want to bring anyone else along?!
Slowly I opened up to a few select people.
The first one to hear from me is usually God. Even if I am frustrated with His timing, there’s always something uplifting in that Book of His. Next are the close friends who understand when rough day calls for a martini and a good heart-to-heart. Mentors are great in times like these too. They share acute perspective with stories about the speed bumps in their career development or “the last time it was this bad.” But it’s when I turn to my peers that I receive the most comfort in regards to professional troubles. By sharing their own tales of frustration, they remind me I’m not the only one going through this.
Each conversation consoles me and inspires me and I loyally return the favor when a compadre is in need. A support system is like a structural system, it’s there to share the load. If we couldn’t be there for each other, then where’s the love? This life is impossible to experience alone. To say that one is so independent to not need anyone is a complete lie. Even reading other blogs, the knowledge that other emerging professionals are facing the same difficulties shouldn’t be draining but encouraging…we are in this together! Through reaching out for support, I feel better. I’m reminded I’m not dealing with this alone and I’m not going through this alone.
Okay so I feel I have to acknowledge the theme in my writing. Yes there is a constant theme about the job market and being “out” of architecture. Resumes, interviews, networking and personal faith are included too. I wish I could write about the daily grind of architecture but un-apologetically, this is my life. This is what I tackle as an Emerging Professional in 2011.