Change your Mazal

Despite my best efforts to find work in the art world –
gallery, museums, auction houses – I’m currently in the process of interviewing
with two different Jewish organizations. This, was not on purpose. But I
suppose I feel a mite lucky to have the instant niche market to appeal to, as a
member of the tribe myself.
It’s funny to me, because this all happened once before. In
2009, I’d quit my job at a property management firm, in order to pursue
something “more creative.” As this was at the heart/beginning of the recession,
jobs in the arts were hard to find, and even harder as I wasn’t really sure
what I meant by that: “a job in the arts.” After several months of Desperately
Seeking Sus—I mean Work, I woke up one morning, and asked myself what else I
might be interested in.
The sentence came back to me, Well, I like being Jewish. 

And so I went onto Google, typed in “Jewish San Francisco,” and applied to
every job that was listed. And in fact, I wasn’t chosen for the job to which I
applied and was interviewed for at what would become my new employer – the
hiring manager passed my resume along to someone else in the organization, and
I got that job instead.
I was thinking this morning about how it would have been,
perhaps, if I’d stayed with that “Jewish job,” as it was being cut to half-time
around the time I got into school. What it would have been like to stay in my
apartment in San Francisco, commute in my not-to-be-stolen car, and maintain
that job.
And I realized that my whole life changed when I moved to
the East Bay. Something, I, of anyone, could not have planned or foresaw.
By being here, I immediately eliminated my number one
complaint about San Francisco – the weather. For anyone who doesn’t know,
summer as we might know it elsewhere (perhaps in places that are now melting in
the heat) is not what it is in San
Francisco. And being a hardened NY/NJ girl, I’d become accustomed to a certain
predictable amount of thawing period before moving back into cooler months. The
East Bay, though foggy in the earlier morning, still, is much warmer than San
Francisco, and my poorly heated body is much more relaxed.
For another, by moving here, I’ve been able to form
friendships with people I never would have met, and become closer to those I met
at school. By being here, I’ve had to reach out to folks in a way I didn’t have to in San Francisco, because I’d established
friendships already – who needed more.
That mentality came to bite me after a while in Oakland,
when I really wasn’t reaching out to new friends, but was no longer going back
across the bridge to visit old friends. Something had to change – and, as
always, it was me.
By being here, I got to meet folks who I would host at the
art show I held last summer. By being here, I get to participate in more,
though still infrequent, poetry readings of friends. And, by being here, I’ve
had to come to the other side of this school adventure without a secure job,
and start again.
I watch as I struggle with my ego against applying for jobs
that I would have been a shoo-in for about 10 or even 5 years ago, but which
now feel so draggy, and … “beneath me.” Surely, there’s a lot to learn about
humility here, and yet, I also feel more than ever that I have something more
to offer than I had felt before.
There is a significant amount changing, and it’s not just
external, of course. What sort of tipped me into this course of thought this
morning was what a Jewish friend said to me once, that when you move, you
change your Mazal.
I had no idea what she meant. I’d only ever heard the word
“Mazal” connected with “Tov,” and assumed it just simply meant
“Congratulations,” or “Good Luck.” But, she told me, that Mazal meant more like
Fate or Spirit. That by changing where you live, you change your fate. (“Tov,”
by the way, does mean “good.”)
I am not getting interviews for jobs within the art world
now. But I’m not so worried about it. I’m still applying to them pell mell,
willing perhaps to do more grunt work in that realm than I would in any other,
but, as I’ve had the experience of learning, perhaps there’s a better plan for
me. And maybe that work is not right now, or not in this way.
When my friend suggested I try to hold the job search more
lightly, she equated it to dating. You go on a date with someone, you are
curious, interested to see if this is a good fit, but you don’t throw yourself
off the Golden Gate if an okCupid date doesn’t come off as a match. I was,
however, ready to do so with the job application roller coaster.
What I thought this morning, though, was that perhaps job
interviewing for me isn’t like dating, but could be more like how I held the auditioning for
plays that I’d done in December and January. When I was going out for these
auditions, I was thrilled just to go and have the fun of it. It really didn’t
matter to me whether I got the part, I was happy just to try; to see the
people, to see how this worked, to put my best effort out there, and really really
let go of the results, because I honestly
wasn’t so interested in the results. I was interested in the process.
Observing this about myself was a stroke of interesting in
itself, as someone who often has cared and markedly noted what you thought of
me. Noting that I wasn’t actually concerned when I bombed terribly, which I
assure you I did at least once – there’s a tape of it, and if I ever become a
politician or famous, you’ll see it(!) – but that I was more intrigued by the
Now, sure, it might be a pretty marked leap to apply the
same thrill of interest to the job hunt, but there are a lot of the markers
that are the same. I have something to offer, whether it’s a good fit or not, I
have no idea. I can show up prepared to the best of my ability, and I can let
it go when I’ve done my piece, as there’s nothing more that I can do, except continue
moving forward, whatever their decision may be.
And as to, “changing the course of my life” by moving? I
think it really did. I think it shook me out of the grooves I was in, and
demanded that I make and find new ones. It was not a comfortable transition,
and it wasn’t a quick one either. But, the reality is that subtly, perhaps, my
trajectory has changed. I am not precisely the
person I was when I moved to the East Bay. For one, I’m warmer. 

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