Living in the South again, I’m reminded that there’s a particular way people talk here that everyone mutually understands. “Yes what” is someone subtly telling you to say ma’am or sir. “Bless her heart” is not usually a good thing and if we’re getting rain, someone will predictably say “Lord knows we need it.” It’s true, we do need the rain. It keeps all those azalea gardens beautiful.
This week was full of rain in North Carolina. On Tuesday morning just minutes after returning from a walk with my dog, I heard the familiar drum of a downpour on the roof. As I walked outside to the porch so I could watch it fall, I felt the humidity lift for the first time in days. That, and a heavy feeling I’ve been carrying around. I wish I had some way more magical to describe it, but there’s no mystery to it. There are days, sometimes weeks, where I feel like work sucks. It wasn’t one project, one training, or one frustrating client. It wasn’t anything particular at all. It was really that simple: I did not want to do anything. But it’s bigger than that. It’s a sensation that starts in my stomach and is filled with resistance. It weighs me down in a way I feel in my chest. I call it the “I don’t wanna.”
I found myself wondering on more than one occasion if Three Ears was the thing I would keep doing. A lot of people write about job hopping between companies, but not about the worry that comes with wondering if you still love your own creation. There’s a stigma associated with job hoppers as unreliable and unpredictable. There’s an entirely different stigma that comes with leaving your own business. It’s one that reeks of failure. Most people can’t believe that anyone would walk away from something that is successful.
But when I’m all out of love for the work, it’s hard to feel successful no matter how many things I check off some list. Working against my will has a way of draining energy at 3x the rate normal life already does. So, my prayer this week was that I could fall in love again. I don’t want to walk away from Three Ears Media. I love this business. But I need to rediscover the love that allows me to fully show up and create with all my heart.
That prayer was answered when the rain we needed so badly wiped out power for a while. Without the distraction of a to do list to pressure me into prioritizing a check box, I took some time to dream about ideas that felt inspirational and exciting. I created with the people I’ve helped in mind, not some bottom line. The kind letters and messages I get almost once a week. The candidates I’ll never meet that feel empowered after reading a job post I wrote. I tapped into some of that “new job” feeling again.
This falling back in love feeling wasn’t just about what I’ll build next. It was about the impact on people’s lives. The dreams that come true when someone finds the next best thing. A love big enough to wash over me again and again like a heavy summer rain on the roof. I can’t say I made it, but I will make something that matters.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.