Could it be a sign?

I often find myself in touch with trending circumstances. Or coincedence. Or signs.

Part of me thinks this is just my inner lego block finder (you know, the filter you put on when you want to find a square red lego block). For whatever reason, I decide croissants are important, and then they pop up everywhere (except for in my cupboard, which is where I really want them now that I’ve thought about them).

Another part feels compelled by these observations in a way that drives me to contemplate deeper. What meaning could these observations hold? A warning? Encouragement?

I had a friendly “get-to-know-you” conversation with a good listener this evening. I summarized my “how I got to do my job” story. She smiled. And so did I.

For a brief moment, I reflected upon the fact that from an early time in my career pathfinding, I pretty much knew where I wanted to be. Being paid to think about and act on climate change with people as passionate as I was a dream I held. And now that I am living it, I’m puzzled a little on how I actually got here. I always thought “this is going to take decades, probably a masters degree, and a magic wand”.

Maybe the truth is that there weren’t as many people wanting or prepared to work on this messy problem as I thought. A lack of competition perhaps. Or maybe I was heeding the signs well enough to be positioned favorably…

I won’t list them all, but one stands out in particular. A day like any other, in a stark, white walled hallway a woman that I did not recognize passed by me. Not an unusal circumstance, but for some reason, the hair on my neck stood up. Something about her presence made me very attentive. The image of our crossing paths was burned in my mind. And I remember being puzzled.

During that time, I was in the process of exploring career development opportunities. Temporary assignments across the Ministry of Environment that would break my 5 year stint in a small and insular division, doing work that, quite frankly, is not my forte. Though I had grown to appreciate the work and loved the people, it was time for a change.

A month later, I was accepted for an interview administering a website in a large division. (Web design is a specific skill I honed to temper my generalist nature… which is hard to sell on a resume). I wasn’t sure I wanted the job. Afterall, how would that get me closer to my dream? The only connection was that I could scope out other opportunities in the Ministry and would be directly serving the climate change branch (which I had applied to for jobs in the past, with no success).

And then it happened. The sign. I walked into the interview room and there she was. Silly? Maybe. But it was like a kick in the spirit. An “oh yeah, that’s why, and now I get it – I’m supposed to be here.” I swear it gave me reassurance and confidence that pulled me through the inteview. I came in second, but ended up with the job anyway (previous candidate didn’t work out).

My hallway friend turned out to be an exceptionally supportive manager. And a direct connection to my dream. I circumvented the climate change branch altogether and she suggested me as a good fit at the Climate Action Secretariat to her old boss, who became my Executive Director.

Okay, so maybe career development isn’t just heeding “signs”, perhaps it’s also who you know… but part of me feels like there is more to navigating life, as I said before.

So what trending circumstances have I experienced lately? Here is a short list:

  • Food security matters… as do all nearly certain future circumstances we are not yet prepared for.
  • Authentic voice is effective… I may need to work on mine and tame my insecurities.
  • Music… it is something I have been missing in my life, and it is messaging me.
  • Connection and wholehearted interest in others… a strategy that I am growing into more and more, that is reinforced by my experience and by odd external happenings.

And you? Any zietgiest experiences to share?

HB

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