Making Lemonade Out of Apples

Last year, when the clock hit midnight, I was so happy and full of hope that the new year would bring positive changes in my life. Little did I know that 2022 would turn out to be one of the most challenging years ever.

There have been so many negative feelings like frustration, fear, resentment, and sadness inside of me, that I don’t even know where to start. I love my job, my boss is supportive, caring, and honest. She works hard and whatever she delivers is impeccable which makes me work even harder. Sadly, achieving excellence is not always possible, but I think I try.

Besides her, everyone else I work with is very supportive as well. Furthermore, the pay is good, the job is super interesting, and it never bores me. So why change jobs? Because I was hired for a three-year contract that ends on December 31st. I’d like to have an indeterminate contract and keep contributing to the company. My current employer makes me feel respected as a human being.

Coming from Latin America and having worked in other countries, I have been stereotyped and have not had my human rights respected. Thus, the feeling of being able to speak freely, and be heard is priceless. I am deeply attached to this job. So, as December 31st approaches, the sadder I get.

According to LinkedIn, it takes around six to eighteen months to change jobs, and the Swiss unemployment rate is around 2%; thus, in November of last year, I updated my resume and began browsing for new opportunities. I thought I would change jobs within a year. After thirteen months, and over 500 resumes sent across Switzerland, I haven’t gotten one single nibble.

Throughout this time, I met with two coaches, HR experts, and respective professionals, and still nothing. Out of the several opportunities internally that I applied for, I hit a dead end. So, I naturally began to question myself. Along with all my failed attempts to find a job, and already feeling miserable, people’s reactions to my “news” made me feel even worse.

The lack of support and empathy was disheartening. What I have heard most often is “my goodness, everything bad happens to you,” “there is definitely something wrong with you,” “maybe the problem is your age,” and “have you thought of going back home?” or “why don’t you try to do something else.” My response to such comments was to simply smile and nod my head. As a result of all this, I became jaded, resentful, and frustrated.

If job hunting were not hard enough, I got sick a couple of times. Between bouts of COVID, lung infection, and a few other things, COVID was the hardest one to get over because it has resulted in quite a few side effects such as daily fevers, memory loss, trouble concentrating, sleep deprivation, and hair loss.

Consequently, I hit rock bottom—emotionally, physically, and mentally. Hitting rock bottom gave rise to questions about my truth, motives, beliefs, fears, frustrations, and why I failed. All this questioning led me to an aha moment: to let my ego go and embrace my vulnerabilities.

I’d say that vulnerability is that emotional state that makes you feel exposed in all sorts of ways as if you are completely naked in front of a large group. In my quest for a new job, I was exposed to recruiters, colleagues, coworkers, social networks, friends, and family, literally everybody. So, I came to the realization that I only have the present moment where I choose to be, and that I should trust my process.

As I surrender and accept who I am, where I am, and how I feel, I am aligned with my truth, my life purpose, and my path. And it feels good. I am truly thankful for hitting rock bottom. It made me more grateful for who I am.

As a deeply religious person, deep down I was certain that God would bless me with an open door. At last, this week my boss managed to renew my contract for 180 days, which comes literally as a divine providence sent from heaven.

Even so, I have been working hard and praying for an indeterminate contract, the renewal gave me a leap of faith. My first reaction was to release the feelings of frustration, anger, fear, resentment, and sadness off my chest. It seems that throughout the year I have been swimming adrift and in circles to keep my head above water. Getting the contract renewal made me feel as if I could finally spot dry land. Though 2022 has been one of the most challenging years ever, it has undoubtedly brought positive changes into my life.

My takeaways are to make lemonade out of apples–meaning to focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have; be kind and gentle to yourself and your path; vulnerability is a strength, use it when needed.