As any twenty something will tell you, job hunting is something that is not discussed. The tediousness of writing and rewriting your CV, and then rewriting it again, is not often the hottest topic of conversation.
Instead, we like to divulge about the next adventure we have planned, whether that be a short break to Cornwall for the weekend or a yearlong adventure to the Southern Hemisphere.
This is especially apparent when meeting up with friends with ‘London jobs’. You know what I mean. All the jobs are far too complicated to explain to someone living in Devon. They usually have something to do with money; or finance, as they like to call it, or could be linked to recruitment, or advertising, or just general Londonness.
We live in a society where programmes like ‘The Apprentice’, show the dog-eat-dog world of employment, where it is each man (or woman for that matter) for themselves. It is almost laughable when you see them, parading around like they are God’s gift to Earth; undeniably sure that they have more to bring to the table than anyone else involved in the competition.
I was always sure that I would be one of those people. The sort of person that did not take any nonsense from anyone. The sort of person who knew what they wanted. The sort of person who got what they wanted.
Failure was never an option.
Until my brain injury.
Then everything changed. I started to fail at everything. I was no longer in the top percentage, I was middling around the average point. Failure for me was not what failure may look like to someone else. Perfectionist is the word that comes to mind. Perfectionism to the extreme.
I will never forget the first time I properly failed something. I spent two days in bed after I botched my driving test. How could I have physically not passed? It had never happened to me before. Feeling what it felt like to be a failure was something that would stay with me forever, a feeling that I would never be able to rid myself of.
Nowadays, failure is around every corner.
But it didn’t start that way; during the first stages of recovery you are praised for every little thing:
“You managed to brush your teeth all on your own, well done Elizabeth”.
“Elizabeth, you were able to remember to check before you crossed the road, very good”.
“Congratulations on spelling your name correctly Elizabeth”.
But once you get to six years on, the improvements are less noticeable, the praise becomes pretty much non existent, and eventually fizzles out, you are no longer the sort of person that gets what they want, instead you are the sort of person that takes what they are given.
So that is why, my job choice may come as somewhat of a shock.
I am no longer able to apply for that high flying position, where I would go to work in a pencil skirt, have huge amounts of responsibility and go home with a wod of cash in my bank account. Instead, I have had to settle for something less strenuous, something that I can manage, something that I will enjoy.
And so, I would like to introduce you all to Liz the Christmas Elf.
This is no joke, I will be starting as an Elf in mid November, where I will be taking children to meet Santa and taking photos of them sat on his lap.
My career has most definitely not reached a high point, but at least I will be having fun.
When I think about where my life has lead me, sometimes it is difficult not to feel like a failure, but then I try to remember where I have come from, and how far I have come, and then maybe I should realise that bringing joy to others during the Christmas period is in fact a success and anything but a failure.