I’ve opted to continue on a gardening theme this week with this phrase, which I have found powerfully motivational.
I’ve been looking around for my next steps in my career for a few weeks now. Don’t worry – my boss knows. I’m not desperate, but keen enough to begin the search for the next step towards my ‘dream job’. Itchy feet. Suffice to say it has nothing to do with my team, who are wonderfully supportive and care about each other, and care about getting the job done.
After my first setback from a failed interview, I found myself in a bit of a ‘tailspin’, to quote my interim line manager. After the initial, unavoidable shock and brief funk one falls into after such a knockback (I tend to go into a mood for about 4 hours to it, which isn’t so bad), I usually realise that it was the wrong door for the wrong time.
After all, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, the interview is not ‘competency based’ or ‘strengths based’. Certainly not 100%. I know I was qualified and ‘good enough’ for the role (in fact, the feedback confirmed this), but I had waffled and not really answered their questions specifically enough. That’s fine, but here is where things fall down: if you actually want someone in an interview, you’d be willing to look past such things. So, then we must ask ourselves: do I really want to work for someone who doesn’t like or want me? And if I really wanted to work there that badly, wouldn’t I have been a lot more careful in my answers?
I got into a tailspin because I forgot what I wanted. I lost my sense of direction. I remember thinking vaguely that I was in the wrong sector – that the skies were bluer back in education – but I didn’t know what to go for.
At this point, I had a valuable conversation with our new deputy director about whether I should apply for X or Y, and if I should bother with Z because I didn’t know how long this was all going to take me and perhaps I’d stick it out for a bit.
She said, devoid of all context for I was unaware of the meaning, “a thousand flowers blooming”.
百花齊放, ‘băi huā qí fàng’, or ‘one hundred flowers blossom’, to use the accurate quotation, comes from a speech given by Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, who said,
Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.
In essence, the phrase in the context my DD used has come to mean the planting of many plants that might bear fruit, in order that at least one will.
So I’ll keep planting, and keep watering, and one day soon, the next flower might open.
It could be any day now.