“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft
Life is full of unknowns that present themselves very suddenly, unexpectedly or as a result of a decision or change that either you have made or you have been impacted by. These could be anything related to death, a terminal illness, job loss, parenting, trying to lose weight or something as simple as moving to another state, province or country. As it is, there are many challenges that come with these life-altering experiences. When the unknowns become reality and we feel they’ve been thrown at us or knock us completely off what we perceive to be our life’s course, we naturally question everything about us, our strength, our ability, and overall worth. It’s not easy to take a step back in the moment. The thing with unknowns is that it’s impossible to predict anything and it’s often outside of our control. If you’re like me – very organised and structured, a bit OCD when it comes to planning – unknowns are even more difficult to accept.
My family and I have recently immigrated to the UK. We took the plunge and made the decision to start a new life, all over again. This includes finding a place to stay, jobs, schools, etc. We haven’t even thought about having to make new friends. Thankfully, we have family here. Since making the decision to take this plunge, I have always been very mindful that this life-altering decision would not only come with many challenges we could foresee but some unknowns also. In the last few days, I experienced my first unknown. I applied for an HR related position and was informed that my application had been rejected. Rejection is anticipated when applying for jobs, but the reason for my rejection is something I could never have seen coming. After enquiring as to why my application was unsuccessful and asking for advice, I received a response informing me that the reason was that employers in the UK are not keen on foreign HR individuals irrespective of the level of experience outside of the UK. The reason being the difference in Employment Law from one country to the next. Whilst the latter is understandable, I was completely taken aback by the assumption that an individual not working in HR in the UK previously would not know anything about UK Employment Law. I was further taken aback by the advice to consider looking at other fields. Whilst I could understand the scepticism, in my experience, an interview would test a candidate’s knowledge. If not, a simple call or email to ask about familiarity with the local law could have eliminated the assumption the recruitment agent made. Nonetheless, I could never have anticipated being told that employers would be sceptical about shortlisting a non-UK HR practitioner for an HR position in the UK.
So what can one do when faced with unknowns? In my view, we have to take back control as much as we can. Sometimes this can be as simple as controlling how we react. Something else we can do is adapt our course of action where possible and look for a learning from our experience or what we can take away from a situation as we continue to pave a way towards our goals. In doing so, we need to be constantly aware of our feelings, our emotions and the mental and sometimes physical impact it can have on us. Essentially, in dealing with the unknown, we need to get to a space where we can pick ourselves up if needed, persevere through the challenges and setbacks and not give up.
I have no doubt that many of you can resonate with the fear of the unknown, and that at least one experience immediately comes to mind for you. Strength to you in the difficult, challenging times. Approach the unknown as you do the known.
“Sometimes we’re tested. Not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths.” – Unknown
Until next time…
Yours in Adapting & Being