Let Yourself Out

Last Tuesday, I interviewed for a job with an organization whose mission around outdoor recreation is something I truly believe in and feel very strongly about. I feel an intense pull from my heart when I think about the work and what the job would entail. But maybe that’s not what this is about and maybe it never really was.

feel good about how the actual interview went and there’s always a sort of heady rush I get from these types of situations. Meeting new people, talking about ideas with new people and succumbing to the natural flow of life events all affect me in this uniquely beautiful way. It feels like I need to pull my head back down onto my neck like a balloon on a string. My interviewer offered to show me out through the warehouse to show me their gear and program supplies. After going through skis, boots, outdoor clothing, climbing shoes, ropes, kayaking and rafting gear in a big warehouse, we moved outside to a parking area surrounded by a chain link fence. There were 15-passenger vans, and trucks and trailers parked and ready. He had just shown me everything they needed to get them where they wanted to go.

We came to a natural break in the conversation and it was time for me to go. He pointed to a gated portion in the chain link fence and told me to let myself out that way back to my car. So we shook hands and parted ways- him into the warehouse to close up for the day and I toward the gate and fence. Except that when I looked up, I saw a large chain and padlock on the gate. Hmm…is that really how I think I see it…surely there is a way to unlock that…I’m probably just not seeing the entire set-up because he wouldn’t…no, no he wouldn’t…oh…no, it’s definitely chained and locked…that gate is not going anywhere, especially into a position that resembles anything close to open.

I tried not to panic even though I felt and knew in a visceral way that I was locked in a cage. mentally jogged through a range of emotions- confusion, disbelief, denial, anger, fear, self-righteousness, and bargaining. I walked around to another gated portion of the fence to see if that was locked as well. Yes it was. Crap. I scanned to see if there were cameras watching me like a chimpanzee in a zoo. There weren’t. I went to the warehouse door to see if my guy happened to still be inside. He wasn’t. I checked to see if the warehouse door was actually locked. It was. I scanned my pocket just to be sure I had actually left my phone in the car. I had. Crap! Agh, get me out of here!!

I walked back to the side where I was supposed to “let myself out” and saw one lone car on the other side. I tried to estimate how much work he might try to get done following an afternoon of interviewing various candidates. ‘m not going to wait for someone to save me here. I threw my resume folder over the fence, hopped onto a small propane tank and jumped from there onto the chain link fence. Taking care not to rip my skinny jeans or any other part of my interview outfit (thanks a million Teafly!), I climbed my butt up and over that fence. Why didn’t I do that earlier? I don’t know, but my head was swimming with other questions while I walked to my car, got in and drove away.

have some ideas now about why that happened and I could dig in at any depth about the spiritual resonance of this experience, but the essence of it resides when I go back to what he told me at the beginning of us parting ways, “You can let yourself out that way.” Yes I can. The fence wasn’t keeping anyone else out or in but me. The only one keeping anyone out or in is me. It is a liberating feeling to let yourself out and you can do so in any number of ways. But it helps to know what type(s) of fence(s) is (are) around you and what you might use to prop yourself onto the fence where you feel comfortable starting to climb your way out. Whatever or however you do it doesn’t really matter. It only matters that you do. Don’t wait for anyone else to open the door for you. There are only caretakers at the zoo and no one else is as invested in letting you out as you are.

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