I’ve always felt that society makes it feel like being vulnerable is a huge vulnerability. To me being vulnerable is being human. And I’ve been vulnerable since one of the greatest days of my life so far, May 4, 2018.
My last semester at East Carolina University (ECU) was a life-changing semester for me. A speech I made at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet changed the trajectory of my life forever. I went from an unknown to someone that was being compared to Barack Obama and being told I was destined for greatness by people that were already great. I never let their words get to me. I kept my humility and focused all my attention on graduating, but I can’t deny that it had me looking forward to my future after graduation.
However, I don’t think I was mentally prepared for life after graduation. I absolutely wasn’t ready to fight some inner demons. Firstly, even though I kept a level head from all the accolades and words of praise I was receiving towards the tail end of my collegiate days at ECU, I can’t help but admit that I really thought life after graduation was going to come easy for me. I was wrong. I’m going to be honest with you. Finding employment is a struggle. I really thought that my stellar resume and who I was told I was was going to get me a 40k job in 2-3 weeks.
I had applied to a couple of highly competitive job positions in some important research companies weeks prior to graduation. I really wanted those positions and felt that I had checked all the boxes they were looking for. It was not until around the middle of May that I started getting rejection emails about the positions I was so sure of. Every rejection email I got (about 16 of them) humbled me. To make matters worse a couple of my friends were getting hired by these same companies. Don’t get me wrong I was sincerely happy for them but it’s only human nature to wonder what you’re doing wrong.
So now it’s June and I’m still unemployed. I have a LinkedIn account and sometimes it gives you notifications when one of your connections has a new job, got promoted, or just did something great for their own professional career. I hated that notification after graduation. A lot of my connections on the app are my friends or acquaintances and to me, it felt like every single one of them was getting hired left and right. Now, this is when my mental state started to go downhill. I became hateful but not of others but of myself. I started to doubt myself. I began to really believe that I was a failure that was going to end up working meaningless job after the next. That I was going to fail so many people that believed in me. I started to be so envious to the point that when I saw tweets like “Two Interviews soon. Wish me luck” from people I went to ECU with I’d begin to say things to myself like, “How’d they get a job interview already…They just tweeting this for clout, forget them…You deserve a job interview more than them”.
Hate, envy, and the fear of failure had taken control of me. I did not envision myself to be still unemployed towards the end of June.
I began to ask myself if my true colors were just revealing themselves to me. Was I really this guy who was all about the progress of others? Did I really care about people progressing in life if only I was doing it too? Was I was sanctified as how I claimed to be in my speeches?
See my issue was that I had engulfed myself in the irresponsible culture of instant gratification. I forgot that everything in life is a process. I now have a great government job lined up for me. I don’t want to speak too much about it but there is another story to be had about this job that will be told soon.
The culture of instant gratification made me forgot that you need to trust God’s timing. Not your timing, nor social media’s timing but God’s. Your waiting period is God’s preparation time. During that time, He may be building your character or trying to get you closer to Him. Instead of me to fill my spirit with bad thoughts, I should have used it as a time to cleanse it. Rejection will come.
This experience really showed me that what was for others wasn’t for me. One thing to never do is compare your life with others because you just going to end up killing yourself over every little flaw in your life. I forgot that the greatest people always had the greatest struggles. When you give up you lose but if you keep working hard you’ll always move forward. And see the problem is that for too many of us moving forward is taking one big giant leap when one small step is the beginning of the run-up to the giant leap coming to you later in life. Two steps forward are just as great as ten steps forward. You’re moving.