If 2020 (and 2021, too!) has been a tough year for you, you are not alone.

Today I wanted to share a story of career resiliency from one of my clients—let’s call her Mika—who had a hard 2020 due to the pandemic.

It’s not an easy story. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

I started my dream job, got pregnant and had my daughter in January 2020. Long story short, the healthcare system I worked for and loved terminated my position due to cost. 

I was devastated. 

I didn’t think about it, but immediately went to work and within 3 weeks in a very small market I had a job. This was not the — “If you are starting over, think outside the box job” this was “I need a job NOW.”

It was miserable. My boss was demanding, asking a lot of a young staff and provided little support. Then, a young staffer came into the office (yes, we had been going to the office every day since I started in June) with symptoms because of the pressure and culture of the firm to have butts in chairs. To her credit,  she did test negative, but it was a false negative. 

So I got Covid.  I wore a mask and tried to stay away from my two children and husband, but my husband still had to work and so did I. The mass number of calls I received from my boss while being at home with a working husband, two kids AND covid was disrespectful and I was done. Kids and husband never got the virus, hooray!

Then I did it. I thought outside the box, made a call to a top 25 architectural firm to work remotely from my rural location and asked if the position they had posted for a healthcare architect would be a position that could work from home. It was, and I AM LOVING IT. 

What amazes me about Mika’s situation is that it’s truly a story of career resiliency.

This client lives in a rural area with limited job options. My heart hurts that Mika had to experience this, but getting this email from Mika made my heart soar.

Because when she felt like she was out of options, she created one.

But here’s what moved Mika to email me—and I’m telling her story because I want her and you to see the power we have to share our own narratives.

Here’s the kicker and sorry this is so long. I’m traumatized. I am continuously worried that another job I love is going to get tired of working with someone remotely. I’m worried I’m not enough, or if even the small mistakes I’m making are bigger than I think. I’m worried they are taking everything I say and analyzing it and I won’t fit. I over analyze everything that is being said to me. I hate thinking this way, because I truly enjoy everything I am doing and this is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. 

A few years ago at the height of a great jobs market when I was doing research on my future coaching program – I spoke to so many women who were stuck in their careers. They’d lived through the 2008 recession and it had scarred them. These incredible and highly qualified women were scared to set boundaries at work, take career risks or give themselves permission to even think about what they really wanted in their careers.

We don’t have control over what happens to us. We don’t have control over the era we live through and the economic shocks, job markets, and global health.

But we do have our creativity, our ingenuity, and the way we show up for those we care about and the support we receive back.

What we do have control over is the story we tell ourselves. 

We can tell ourselves that it’s a miracle that we ended up on our feet (it is!) but that it was a fluke, and that the next shock is going to knock us down.

Or we can be proud of how we showed up in a time we hope we never have to face again—and be thankful that we found a new way to reach out our hand—and for those that reached back to us. We can believe that while life sometimes is rocky and uncertain, if we figured out how to survive and even thrive, we are capable of doing it again if the time comes.

Both narratives are valid.

But only one of them changes the way we show up and allows us to tap into the joy and purpose that drives satisfying careers in which we achieve things that matter.

Congratulations Mika. We’re proud of you. 

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Hi I'm Mia

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.

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