Sunday, December 03, 2006
Mourning my Career
I am not after sympathy from anyone and neither do I write this in a sad tone. I write this as a reflective piece which I hope allows me to better-understand myself. Seriously, nobody will ever come to know what we think of, at each stage of our life. But we owe it to ourselves to understand why we feel the way we do.
The eventual termination of my employment about 3 months ago was a surprise but it was a ‘closure’ which I expressed as making me feel that my slate had been wiped clean. It gave me the opportunity to once again see the world as an oyster and to ‘venture out’ as one friend put it. I was a school-leaver once again.. though 14 years later!
After chatting with the Disability Employment Advisor in Ramadan, we both concluded that voluntary work which didn’t require so much commitment [in terms of hours] would be the best avenue to re-establish some of the lost confidence I have been feeling all this while.
I am very lucky in that I have met so many people from so many backgrounds and fields of work. One such person is the individual who runs the Pioneers Mentoring Scheme. A couple of months ago I enquired about the prospects of becoming a volunteer as I already have a Mentoring qualification. For the last 3 weeks I have been attending a 7 – week training programme; although it’s only 1.5 hours in length [as it is not an accredited course of study] for me it is quite demanding in terms of both physical and non-physical energies.
It dawned upon me in the first session that I no longer have a job and that my present career is in doing nothing, being unemployed and signing on. I am not a teacher anymore. I don’t do the kind of tasks I have done in the bulk of my years at an employment. We have all heard jobseekers say that looking for a job is a job in itself but when that pursuit is also accompanied with a longing for accepting life and it’s Divine mysteries, the task becomes arduous.
The Disability Employment Advisor and myself believe that looking for a full-time job in the teaching sector is futile. There is a phase between being ‘sick’ and being ‘well’. It is naïve to assume people will be OK after having been sick for a period of time.
For instance, if someone has a bad spell of tummy-trouble, they will require some time away from ‘normal’ activity: it may vary from a day to a week, it may require a sick-note if it’s over a week. After this period the individual will feel better and resume ‘normal’ activity again. If they were absent from work, they will get back - perhaps even take a fit-note from the GP. However the period of sickness (even if it was a days’ troubled tummy) will have slowed the individual to some degree. And the individual will allow greater pace for activities and take it easy until the body is completely over the illness where they resume like before.
When I look at my own situation I know that there is still some way to go before I am fully ‘recovered’ and adjusted to my new health status. Yes my blood tests have ruled out any major illness and I am really happy to know that all’s well in there. However I do have arthritic wrists which limit me [wait for that write-up]. I know in my heart of hearts that I have tried my bestest regarding my health. My health and career are so interlinked it’s spooky. Afterall, the reason I am not at work is because of my health! I know leaving work is a positive thing as it has helped me think about what else I want in life.
But the problem seems to be just that: what else do I want in life?
When I taught Career Skills, I taught my students that career refers to our working years. I like that definition. I don’t think it is fair to isolate the term to only paid work or one’s profession. And it’s odd that now I find it difficult to palate this definition.
I look within, perhaps I have lumps of pride which don’t allow me to fully submit to my situation?
Perhaps I have hidden deep inside lots of anger for the situation I find myself in?
The thought disgusts me.
I start to think why am I feeling like this. Is it because I am back to square one and although I am a ‘qualified’ something – I’m actually a qualified ‘nothing’? Is it because I have spent countless days and nights working really hard for the skills and knowledge I thought would help me contribute to society?
I feel perturbed and speak to a friend who consoles me. I am brought back into the earthly realm again. I am taught how lucky I am. I am taught that the skills we have are transferable. I am taught that life is about challenges and that this is yet another one.
I am still me.
Nothing can change our past. What we have achieved, and all the successes we have come to us are blessings from God; ours to own. The fortunes are still there. Nothing has been taken away from us.
I come to realise that I am allowed to mourn. There is nothing wrong with it. And neither should I feel ashamed of it. I don’t care if people call me materialistic. I know I am not.
And I don’t care if people say I love the charms of this world. I know I don’t. My Creator is the Most Merciful and the Most Kind. He Knows why I mourn.
He knows I spent many years studying.
He Knows I was an honest and hardworking teacher.
He Knows I loved it because it made me feel like a human being.
He Knows me, so He Knows why I feel the way I do.
For me, a few weeks ago was the first time in 21 months that I re-engaged with the world of work. And I found it frightening. For 18 months I was on sick-notes and although I thought about the ‘what next’ I never experienced what life would be like post-sicknotes.
Now, I believe I have made the right choice and am enjoying the mentoring slot every week. I feel so happy and lucky at the blessing of being able to do something that I feel at peace with. Alhamdulila! I think this is what career is really about. It is about how we utilise our energies in our working years so we are at harmony with ourself; physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and intellectually.
The society we live in doesn’t allow us to mourn. We live in a fast-paced milieu. We’re not allowed to collect ourselves after events happen. We are not allowed to address ourselves. There is no time! But that’s wrong!
We have a right to mourn.
If we don't mourn the changing tide, we will find that the unaddressed emotions will find themselves elsewhere in our life. We need to mourn in order to see closures; closures which will lead to new openings.
Suddenly I remember that all those years ago my reason for entering the teaching profession was because of my ill health. Isn’t it amazing that I have done full-circle? I deferred my Midwifery degree after graduating and became a teacher. I loathed my teaching. It took me 2 years to accept that teaching was the way forward for me. Don’t be startled. This is life. It’s interesting.
My wellbeing and my career are woven with the threads of faith. I can only pray that these threads stay strong so I can continue to wear the garment of a ‘one who believes’.
Peace and prayers
Bint-eh Adam x x x
Just to clarify that I AM happy with the decision of Mentoring that I have made. And that's why I say it's a great blessing that we can do things that we are happy with.
But my 'battle' is with the thinking that tells us that we are not allowed to mourn things. That, I find difficult to palate. I believe that we, each of us, should examine how we feel and address those feelings sooner than we tend to. Many of us leave it too long before we start to think about why we feel, act and react the way we do... this creates a lot of 'barriers' for individuals to move on.
Each of us, can move on from any sphere of life event that we find ourself in. Honest.
Thanks for popping-by :-)
Walaikumslam dear :-)
Aaah Thanks for the lovely comment.
You are right.. school teaches us some of lifes' wonderful lessons. I guess experience is the best teacher eh?
But I do believe that whatever we are taught is to strenghten our spirits for if we were left with no hurdles to face, our spirits would dry of boredom and fail to grow.
It's all good dear!
Thanks for popping-by!
i love reading your posts. As i once previously mentioned, they give me an insight and understanding of every topic you cover in your posts. I know this may sound silly, but i do find your blog posts to be a learning experience.
i really do hope you feel better and are well inshallah. take care of yourself inshallah and do keep up the posts. This is one of the blogs i love visiting. May Allah reward you for your actions in this world & the Hereafter, ameen
jazakallah, salaam :)
[blush blush blush]
Alhamdulila what can I say.. I am in the middle of an entry on blogging itself! I have said it before and I'll say it again - that it is the comments people leave me here [or email me] which gives me the strength and motivation to continue to share.
I pray that God Almighty blesses us all with the gift to share our worlds with others so that we may learn from one another.
Am much better.. the wrist pain is random and I can at times forgo many weeks without any pain. But that is life.. so randaom ennit!?!
Wasalam and duas brother :-)