Today I attended a job interview for a position as a signpost mentor. I had been looking for jobs because I felt like I wanted to do something meaningful, I guess. What I mean by that is that I wanted to feel like I was doing something useful. ‘What are you doing over the summer vacation?’ ’em… nothing.’
Been there, done that… for several years.
However, I don’t want to just take any job because I think it’s more important to take care of my mental health (aka. I don’t want to work in a supermarket again). Another reason to get a job is to earn money, and yes, it would feel really good being able to say that I have a job.
So as I was looking I found an application for signpost mentor. I immediately felt like this was something I wanted to do, even if I wouldn’t get paid for it. I want this job because I like to help people, I’ve struggled myself (and still struggle at times) and I know how much it can help when someone is there for you. I’ve always had friends that I helped, advised and supported and those same friends did the same for me. I also thought I’d be good at it since I think I’m a good listener and quite empathic even though I have my flaws.
And so I applied and went to this job interview not knowing what to expect. I didn’t feel anxious and although I bet my body language would have told you something different from what I’m about to say, I didn’t feel like any nerves could touch me. At the same time, my voice sounded very timid and soft – the perks of just having had a cold, I guess. But you know, it had to do and it went sort of alright.
He asked me a few questions and I think I answered them well, but by the end of it, I felt like I had messed up. Even though I thought I answered the questions well it didn’t feel like it was good enough. Decent, yes, but good enough? On my way home I started thinking of all the things I should have said but failed to think of during the actual conversation. My headache intensified and the world started spinning that little bit more. I failed at something that should have come naturally to me. I failed to get this job too. How do people deal with rejection again? I asked myself.
In that moment it felt like nothing in my life was working. The feeling didn’t just come from this job interview but it had triggered a feeling that was already there. I then started to think of how I can’t even wake up feeling okay (headaches and all) and how that makes me feel like a failure of life because I fail at just living ‘normally’, followed by a whole lot of thoughts and a breakdown.
Then I realised that I am always looking for validation. I applied for this job because it is good to have a job; it’s nice being able to tell people that I have a job, it would be a good thing to put on my CV and it could even earn me a bit of money. On top of that, if they think I’m suited for this job then I must indeed be good at helping people in some way.
But I didn’t apply for this job because I need the money. I applied for this job specifically because I like helping people and I would want to do it even if I wouldn’t be paid and the thing is, I have helped people all my life. So then, why would any of that change if I didn’t get the job? It wouldn’t stop me from helping people when I can and so it doesn’t matter if I get the job or not.
I calmed down as soon as I realised this. I don’t need validation because I do know what I’m good at and I don’t need a title to prove this to anyone, including myself. I don’t need a job just so I can tell people that I have one and I don’t need to be a signpost mentor in order to help or support people.
It turns out I did get the job when I checked my email later :)