Laid off, outsourced, fired, position eliminated, walked-out, early retirement…you now find yourself in an uncomfortable place. Limbo, the unknown, holding pattern, transitional space – not matter what you call it, the time when you leave a job until you begin a new one is time of uncertainty in one’s life. So many questions, so few answers. No guaranteed timeline. No clear path. What is one to do?
Henri Nouwen shares a perspective that is hard but healthy to embrace.
Enough Light for the Next Step
Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.
Not knowing where you will be in a month, what job you will have, how long the search will take is unsettling (understatement of the year?), one has to trust that as long as he is doing everything in his control to bring about a positive outcome that there will be enough light shone when it is time to take the next step. This does not mean the perfect path will be illuminated – there may be times when a light is shone on a fork in the road, we have to appreciate that we see the fork in the road and that we have choices.
No one can speed up another’s career search. No one can guarantee when or how a career search will conclude. Instead of focusing on what we cannot see, focus on the next step being shown to you.