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Rachel East

Hey Erin,

Ugh, it is SO understandable that you came back from your vacation more depressed than you began. I’ve seen this a lot — there’s often a “vacation hangover” effect of coming back to the real world, particularly when what we’re coming back to is something we don’t enjoy.

Honestly, it sounds like you need to take a deep breath, and maybe take a brief pause from job searching. I cannot emphasize ENOUGH the futility of job searching when you’re panicked and anxious. It may help to re-watch the Week 4 Part 2 Live Hangout for more reinforcement of this, but just to drive the point home — Job searching when you’re in the dumps is like trying to swim upstream. It is SO hard. It expends SO much energy.

So, what can you do to get back into a bit more alignment? Maybe you need a well-deserved movie night. Or a bath. Or an exercise class. Or a nice long chat with a friend. Literally ANYTHING that raises your energy and soothes your soul is ideal. It’s a lot easier to come back to a job search when you’ve prioritize alignment first, THEN action. Taking action without any form of alignment is going to be a slog.

I also get the sense that, because you’re so ready to get out of this job, you’re getting frustrated REALLY quickly with the process of job searching. This is totally understandable (I mean, the process of job searching isn’t fun regardless of your situation). And … it’s probably putting SO much extra pressure on you, because you’re in a state where you want the next job to sort of “save” you from your current situation.

I just want to remind you that finding the next job and finding a DREAM job do NOT have to be one and the same. If your current situation sucks so much that you needed to quit like, yesterday, then maybe a bridge job is the way to go. Maybe you won’t have the clarity and mental space you need until you take something that’s better than where you’re at, but doesn’t have to be the dream job. We can’t force a dream job to come; they’re on their own timeline. So if the process of waiting for a dream job is taking too long (understandable; they’re rare, so they don’t pop up as often), then a bridge job could be a good way to remove the pressure while still making progress.

Also, slightly counter to my last point (but I like to cover all my bases), remember that there’s nothing wrong with combining what you love with how you make money, even when you’re a Thriver. It’s more important to consider whether you’d have stability, flexibility, and whether it would be able to meet your CDFs. If all of those things were true, then it might be totally fine for you to focus on pursuing something you enjoy as your job, like working with animals.

Lastly, I think you’re worrying about logistics WAY too soon. If you’re curious about the idea of grad school, then feel free to explore that curiosity! The logistics of “can I afford that?” and “how would I support myself?” are things you can consider later. They shouldn’t stop you from at least looking into the possibilities. Honestly, when someone decides they want to do something, typically they figure it out as soon as they stop saying “*should* I do this?” and start saying, “*how* could I make this work?” It sounds like your experience in the jungle brought you back in touch with a desire you once had. Maybe it’s still something worth pursuing, maybe not. But you’ll never know unless you really deeply explore it. I think right now, you haven’t spent NEARLY enough time looking into grad programs, as well as wildlife jobs in Colorado, to be certain that A) They don’t exist or B) You couldn’t do it or C) You don’t want to do it. You owe it to yourself, and that kid who ended up changing her major, to see what you might discover.

Whew, I’ll leave my novel here, though I could go on! 😉