I found my dream job by accident last month. I applied, the interview went great, I was short listed, the second interview went even better and then I got a call they were going with someone else. Now I hate the old job I used to like and the days drag on forever. You say sometimes we have to accept that life is harsh and other times we have to just change our thinking. Which one is my situation?
I am happy to report that this experience is in the change your thinking category. These are times when we must accept that life is harsh at times, just as it is graceful others. And this easily has as much of a chance to be good as it does to be bad.
You called your current job your old job. Can you see that you (the legal identity) had not even finished the process to be chosen for that job and yet you (the ego identity) already assumed you had it? Otherwise why call your present job the “old job?”
You had mentally left the old place in your thinking. You feel you have failed and are returning with your tail between your legs. But you never left so you can’t be returning. Plus you note you liked your present job so there is zero reason you can’t again. And you can do that exactly the same way you did previously: by paying attention to what you like about it, not how it compares to your fantasy job.
You didn’t ever have the new job so you didn’t lose it. And even then, its potential to make you happier than your old job is entirely in question. We can’t just assume because it’s newer that it’s better. And we can’t assume that because it looked good at the interview stage that it necessarily is a good place to work. For all you know you dodged the biggest baddest bullet of your life.
Maybe you avoided a company going down, working for a crazy manager, or maybe getting a co-worker pregnant at a drunken Christmas Party when you never went there intending that. Seriously. These and a billion other things might have happened.
Only some of those things are enjoyable, others not so much. None of us is a prognosticator. We can’t know the future. So you have no idea if the thing you never actually lost was, in the end, something great or something terrible. So why would you think about about ‘what if’s’ in a painful way when it all could be a fairy tale?
What’s in it for you? It’s like wishing all day for a different childhood. All the wishing just ruins that child’s adulthood.
As we age and look back at our lives, a worthwhile meditation is to look at the causal effects of things. Stop to look at your blessings and then reel them in backwards in search of their origins. In most cases you will see that without something relatively ‘bad’ happening, we never would have achieved or gotten something that we value. We just never study that reality so we assume the world is all good events or bad events when every event is both.
Examples are things like people meeting their wife when their parents drag them to another city and another school. Or how we can meet our best friend working at our worst job ever. Or maybe we had our best summer working the hardest job we ever had.
The list goes on and on. Maybe our best job grew out of your worst relationship. Or the death of our sister caused us to start a charity that’s helped thousands or even millions. This is causation and the entire universe is a giant blend of these relationships so we cannot ask for all Yin and no Yang because without the other neither is possible.
All this did was change your thinking. You can change it back, it’s yours. You just have to stop using your thoughts to compare your daily life to an imagined life. Comparing is an egotistical action in that the comparison requires a you to exist to be compared.
You used to focus on parts of your job and life you enjoyed, now you’re using your thinking to compare how the other job might have been better. The pain is in the thinking, not the living.
None of us can hope to guess what any life we haven’t had would be like. There is no reason whatsoever to assume it’s better than the one we have. And secondly; you used to like your job. That’s something to be grateful for that many people would value, so you can too.
Pay attention to your ‘old’ life like you used to and you’ll like it again, for the very same reasons. Right now, in the light of rejection –which is one of the most painful things humans experience– you’re just spending your day wanting instead of appreciating. Don’t blame your job for that, but don’t blame yourself either.
You may be doing the thinking, but you’re doing so innocently. So thinking the thoughts is normal after a major life event, but even if we’re thinking them we can know they are just thoughts and that the emotions were getting from them aren’t situational to our work or life, they are situational to what we’re thinking about.
Once you’re on to the next interesting thing, this will be no big deal. Use it as a spiritual lesson in how to control your thinking. Because in all seriousness, that really could have turned out to be the worst job you’ve ever had. Remember, the divorce rate is close to 50% and that’s between people who chose to be together forever.
What we imagine is good for us is wrong in all kinds of cases in life. So forget those thin, maybe thoughts and as often as you are able, get back to focusing on the day in front of you. Trust me, there’s plenty to make life worth it right there.
Create yourself a great day by focusing your thinking on things you appreciate and not on comparing. Any time you feel good that’s what you’re doing: appreciating, so it’s not like you don’t have experience doing it. Go for it.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.