Tomorrow, I will go through an identity change.
I quit my job exactly one month ago, making the decision to leave an unfulfilling job to come home and enjoy quality time with my family – specifically my grandparents, who are spending the summer here in Chicago. This is the longest time I’ve gotten to spend with them since I was three years old, and it has been incredible.
Tomorrow, that all changes as my grandparents get on the 14-hour flight back to China. With them, they will take a part of my current identity. Because here’s the thing: as long as they were here, I was the doting granddaughter, cooking lunch and dinner every day, helping them with technology, taking them on field trips to the library.
But as soon as they leave tomorrow, I’ll just be a regular unemployed 25-year-old.
Of course, I made that decision. Rather than using my remaining vacation days or finagling some sort of extended leave of absence, I made that decision to quit my job instead. I made that decision knowing that with unemployment comes a period of job seeking, of not knowing what’s ahead, of losing the career identity I’d built over four years. And I don’t regret it at all, because it has been worth it for this past month.
Yet the insecurity has been slowly seeping in, and I see an invisible taunting “loser” following right behind the phrase “unemployed 25-year-old.” No matter what my family and friends say about my resume, my personality, my whatever, I’m not confident that I can find a job easily. I’m scared, and I’m worried. I’m insecure.
As I prepare to say yet another farewell to my grandparents tomorrow, I’m inwardly saying farewell to that doting granddaughter identity I’ve held for the past month, instead saying hello to that insecurity of unemployment that I can no longer easily ignore. I’m bracing for what feels like failure, trying to remember that failure itself is actually just another opportunity to learn. I will not only be searching for jobs, but also be coping with consequences, learning to live life as I chose.
Tomorrow, I will go through an identity change…and I hope I’m ready for it.