Working in the Land of the Therapists

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated. That’s because I spent the last month (i.e., the time between graduation and now) job hunting. It’s odd because even an intense job hunt really only eats up about 4 hours a day maximum, but the process was quite draining, and I found it really difficult to be creative while managing the logistics, accepting the uncertainty of my future, and needlessly berating myself and feeling like a loser for not having a job already — because I could have initiated the process a month or so BEFORE graduation, though in my defense I had some research conferences to attend that were stressing me out in addition to usual semester stuff and even graduation stuff (for example, my parents made the 900-mile journey here and were in town for a few days, and I hadn’t seen them in about a year and a half).

All that said, I’m finishing up the first week of my new job (and apparently 1 month to find a good position for a new graduate is pretty darn fast, which is encouraging). And it’s a great job. My co-workers are amazing, it’s related to what I went to school for (not an easy feat for someone with a bachelor’s in psychology), it’s extremely interesting work, and the company culture is excellent. I am literally surrounded by therapists, and they are as caring and patient as one would stereotypically think. My boss is philosophically opposed to micromanagement, but at the same time has a wide open door policy (as does the rest of the office), so she wants to let me do my own thing but is open to my asking her for clarification or help at any time. I have my own office (which everyone keeps encouraging me to decorate and personalize), and I’m on salary, both of which feel surreal. In the short time I’ve been there, I’ve overheard several people gossiping about me — but to talk about how much they like me or how great I am, which feels good because it’s always stressful when you’re new and don’t know what you’re doing yet.

It’s still very soon, but I also get the strong impression I will be wonderful at my job once I get a handle on things (I’m already starting to!) — which to me probably matters more than anything else (I’m highly achievement focused).

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It’s funny… I hear all sorts of personal things at my new job (HIPAA renders me effectively mute and amnestic, of course). I did when I was a transcriptionist, too, but this position even more so since it’s counseling. Typically people don’t reach out for counseling unless they’re struggling somehow, so it really does help give perspective on my own life, its relative peace and security (I’m living the dream, really — “thriving” is how the therapists put it).

And I guess there’s something else, too, that’s more subtle, and I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up on if I weren’t paying attention… Things really seem to make sense to the counselors I work with. So many things are causal to them — and not in a naive “everything happens for a reason” sort of way… It’s really hard to articulate. Basically, though, it’s helped me realize that things probably do not just happen out of left field. I struggle with this especially with Skyspook, where I think he’s just going to fall out of love with me one day and be gone without talking to me about it. There’s a definite progression involved, and as long as we keep communicating and trying, it won’t be a surprise.

Also my co-workers are very compassionate with themselves (self-forgiving) and others, and it’s wonderful to see that modeled and absorb that. They’re also very flexible with things changing (it’s necessary in the job as several of them are essentially on call during the day and their workload can fluctuate hourly from hour to hour) and take the challenges as they come.

I don’t know if they’re even conscious that they have these particular strengths, but to me, it’s glaringly obvious and appreciated.

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