“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway
There are many reasons why people start blogs. Some of my own were that I wanted my portfolio to have a voice, and I wanted room to express thoughts that are difficult to write in LinkedIn terms. Also, I wanted to give some context to my Facebook lapses.
One could say, in a way, that this blog was motivated by fear. Fear I’d be considered an anomaly not being on Facebook, fear someone else would write my story for me, and fear I wouldn’t have the opportunity to say who I am and what I’m made of. Right now this is very important to me as I am looking for a job. So much hangs on the possibility of getting (or not) to that interview, that I want to believe this blog is as much about introducing myself as my cover letters.
It’s difficult to bring up our vulnerability when the corporate trends are to present oneself as an overly-confident, can-handle-everything, multitasking millennial. So that’s why I write about it here instead. Vulnerability isn’t something I am ashamed of, and I believe the world has gotten a little worse ever since we started expecting everyone to be perfectly stable in their emotions. I am done with that. I am not scared to say that I am scared.
How can I not be? I am a Mexican expat who decided to relocate because of love, and now finds that coming into the Swedish job market is a herculean task even after completing a masters degree in a Swedish university. Of course I am scared! What if my Swedish will never be considered good enough? What if my studies and experience are not fully valued? What if my LinkedIn profile doesn’t have all the perfect keywords? I’m scared that the longer it takes for me to find a job, the harder it becomes to get one.
I am scared of the inner voice that, on bad days, reads “we decided to move on to other candidates” as “you are not good enough”.
I am scared that I will get too tired too soon.
At the same time, I believe that being vulnerable and being brave are not mutually exclusive.
The people who send me one rejection email don’t see the other ten applications that I sent that week. Every mistake in my cover letters is my own. I am doing my best to write formal documents in a language I only started learning three years ago, with the nuances of a culture I wasn’t born in, following all the unwritten rules that I can only learn after I unknowingly break them. Every word I mispronounce comes after an inner pep-talk that pushes me to take the leap.
Of course I am scared that my interviewer thinks I sound dumb, but I am even more scared of not trying. Will they think my vulnerability is weakness? Perhaps. But I hope that, every now and then, someone sees it as a sign of courage.
All the things I have gotten right and those I would even consider myself an expert in, also started from zero and not without their dose of fear. But I faced that fear it, didn’t I? And I am still ok.