I have never once claimed to have gotten my job using any sort of skill, talent, or ingenious tactic. Or particularly trying at all, really. In fact, I bungled my job interview so badly that it’s incredible I got any sort of job at the company I’m in, and to this day I feel like I owe some sort of apology to the peers of mine that did the hard time and logged the hours calling, filling out useless papers, and interviewing at hundreds of companies to land the positions they have.
However, although the job that I got landed in my lap almost by accident, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m earning the right to have it.
Let me briefly explain:
I got degrees in Art and English (with a completely useless and frankly GPA-killing French minor, just for fun-zies). After aimlessly wandering around for a year applying and being rejected from multiple graduate programs, I applied for a Marketing position a yoga clint of mine suggested I try out for.
I then told my interviewer I’d rather go to grad school than take the job.
(STUPID. STUPID DUMB PAST ME.)
Miraculously (likely charmed by my naïve nature and Golden Retriever like optimism), they hired me for a part-time position working the front desk. After a while the overworked social team gave me an endless barrage of kinda-sorta-cheating marketing-ish work to do until the position I’d applied for opened back up and they promoted me into the marketing gig. Almost exactly 9 months after I blundered my way through the original interview, incidentally.
Yes, I was incredibly lucky – because frankly, if they’d had better interviewees, there’s no way in heck I’ve have landed any job. I’d probably still be stuck in Job Hell with the rest of my Millennial buddies (hang in there, Millennial Buddies).
To be completely honest, when I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I felt like I hadn’t earned it, and that I wasn’t qualified, and that I wasn’t capable enough.
Yet in spite of my skepticism towards my own capability, I’ve noticed that my friends are become nurses and technicians and teachers with the same sense of doubt in themselves. All of them, no matter how proud they are of their jobs or how “important” their positions are, are becoming specialists in subjects I will never fully engage with, and they are doing it well, and they can’t see for themselves that they’re doing well.
I can’t catalogue a library full of books or prepare a meal for a hundred people in one night. I can’t even cook a meal for myself half the time, so I’m enamored and jealous of those of my friends who can. However, they see the next person on the ladder ahead of them, who is competing at a whole different level. They can’t step outside of themselves enough to see how well they’re actually doing.
It took me a painfully long time to realize the same rules apply to me as well. I’m becoming a specialist. Maybe I’m not a professional magician or a police officer, but I’m becoming adept at writing press releases and putting together itineraries and explaining what a URL bar is to old people over the phone (hint – it’s NOT the Google search bar). Maybe I can’t put together a Google AdWords Campaign with my eyes closed like my supervisor can, but I know what it means and what the components are, and within the year I’ll likely be putting them together myself, moaning about the fact that I can’t yet competently do the next biggest thing on the list
What does it mean to be worthy of a job? Does it mean having all the requirements on the checklist and working overtime and never screwing up? It might. But I’m realizing it’s just as important to be willing to learn, to know your strengths, and to always want to improve. To become a specialist in a field that matters to you, or at the very least, matters to somebody, even if you’re not aware that you’re gaining skills inch by painful inch. To push past that crippling sense of doubt and fear that says you’re not doing good enough.
Did I work hard to get this job? Maybe not, but I’m working hard to keep it, and most importantly, to deserve it. And hey, I think I’m maybe even doing a decent job.
I’m about to get really real for a quick second.
Yoga teachers are a gimmick.
And it’s important that they are.
Most of your students know what yoga is. Your job is not to teach them what yoga is.
Your job is to teach them what your brand of yoga is.
Huh? What? But branding and marketing is inherently evil, you might be thinking. My yoga students come to me to rinse their souls and spirits of the evils of the corporate world, not to imbibe in your PR mumbo-jumbo. It’s just not karmic.
First of all, if you actually talk like that, please check yourself before you wreak yourself. And secondly, yes, you are a brand.
If you have a following as a yoga teacher, be it large or small, your students are coming to you because of you. They like something about your presence in the room. Maybe it’s your sequencing, or your voice, or your music, but it’s all yours. Somewhere along the line as a yoga teacher, you made a conscious or unconscious decision to teach your class how you’re teaching it, and somebody likes that you are doing it that way.
This is called a brand. As Wikipedia coins it, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”. It doesn’t matter if that definition makes you squirm, it’s what you’re doing, and the quicker you own that, the quicker you can pinpoint what you’re doing that works.
And ultimately, that awareness makes you a better teacher.
Does having brand conscientious mean you can’t change and grow and advance as a teacher?
It’s just another tool you can have in your back pocket to use when you need a little help formatting your classes.
What’s your brand, yoga teachers? What helps you teach?