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Crisis and the power of waiting

To all those striving to reach their goals:)

Мy friend Katya once told me how she was looking for a job. I saw a lot of support, wisdom and power of waiting in her story. 

Katya was sure that she would find a decent job after she returned to her home country once her contract to abroad was over. She knew precisely what kind of job she wanted, but these job offers didn’t materialize. 3 months later she had to save, borrow money from friends, limit herself in buying things etc. She got some job offers, but not the ones she needed. And she said no. “You know, I was sure that I would find the job I need”, she told me. “I just knew it, that’s all. It’s the same as if I tell you that this table is brown and your notebook is turquoise. How can one doubt the evident?”

Katya started job hunting in September and found the job she wanted in December. “I did not only find myself in the right place and at the right time, I was ready for this job and I was waiting for it”, she concluded.

Later her Mum told her that she was very worried for Katya, as she was certain that her daughter would experience many hardships in life with this approach. This made me think – what kind of approach is this exactly? Is it efficient in “our turbulent times”?

Katya’s story is definitely not about over-valuing herself or her inflated ego. I listened to her attentively. The tone of her voice, intonation and gestures were saying: “I will get what I want”. It was that calm serene confidence that you will never confuse with ungrounded expectations and claims. You simply follow your way, and feel confident – both in yourself and in the road you take. You study at the University, you get your first job, and as time passes you get a clearer vision of the kind of job you are interested in, the job you find important, the job you need. You begin to better understand which of your strengths, skills, knowledge and experience match your desired job. And you are confident that you will get it.

This kind of trust only emerges when you understand that what you want may not happen instantly. You will most probably need to wait. But it will happen for sure, when you’re ready.

The power of waiting

The story of my friend reminded me of one psychological term — «the power of waiting». The author of this term Elena Pourtova*, the psychoanalyst, says:

«Waiting is quite an ambiguous feeling and is regarded ambivalently. On the one hand, waiting is perceived negatively – as passivity, inaction, a sign of dependency and escape from reality.

… On the other hand, the value of waiting is very high when one has to overcome the uncertainty of circumstances, keep believing in the result of one’s efforts and adjust one’s actions to the flow of reality”.

To me the key message in Katya’s story is that while she was waiting for the job she needed, she kept focusing on her desires and her goal, and they finally materialised.

I bet some of you will say that it is quite stupid to behave like that on the job market nowadays! Well, yes and no. Don’t use this approach bluntly, adjust it to your own situation (your work experience, goals and expectations), specific sector (banking, law etc) and the type of job you are looking for (entry level position, head of department etc). Yet my idea behind this article is not even about this. It is about the fact that belief in yourself, trust and active waiting are invaluable assets in all times, regardless of the economic situation.

The inner meaning of waiting

What is the inner meaning of waiting? First of all it is the ability to cope with challenges and be active. Like the ship that does not sink no matter how severe the storms are.

Did Katya step back on the way to her goal? No, she was actively chasing it for 4 months:) Was it tough? Yes, sometimes. Did she just wait for the weather by the sea? Not at all — she did send out her CV, she did go to job interviews. Her behaviour in fact gave more control over the situation and was more sensible than one could initially think.

In recent months I have a felling that my clients, friends, the world around co-exist in two parallel realities. One reality is called “The Crisis”. The second reality – from the word REAL — is life the way it is, where you have ups and downs, good and bad days, development and stagnation. Life where deals are closed, job openings are published, were applicants get invited for job interviews and new start ups are being launched.

How do these two realities differ? The core difference is in our choice. The choice to see opportunities where they are seemingly absent, the choice not to get carried away with emotions when things are tough, the choice to make another attempt when previous hundred of them did not work.

My friend likes her current job a lot. She can choose how long to stay with her company. But to be honest, Katya is thinking of going back to the University for some time. And I am sure that no matter what kind of decision she makes, everything is going to be OK. And partly it is because she knows firsthand what the power of waiting is:)

* Elena Pourtova. «Penelope. The power of waiting»

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