For my entire life, I have been an “I don’t eat oatmeal” kind of person.
I don’t mean to malign the entire grain; I’m specifically talking here about the cooked, bland, lumpy stuff many eat for breakfast. I’ll eat it in a crunchy granola bar, and I love it in an oatmeal cookie. I’m not a monster.
When I was little, my Pappy had several breakfasts he prepared in strict rotation – bacon and eggs one day, cereal and milk the next, pancakes and sausage might have been in the mix, and oatmeal was one as well. If you were in my grandparents’ kitchen at breakfast time, you ate whatever he prepared based on his schedule. But if it was Oatmeal Day, I refused. I would have nothing to do with it. Pappy loved me, but he was a man devoted to routine, and as such he was loathe to change his rotation to accommodate a persnickety child.
For reasons I cannot fathom, my grandma was sympathetic to my resistance. I don’t know if she also was not an oatmeal lover, or simply wanted to indulge her grandchildren. Regardless, when we would spend the night at their house, more often than not, she would just happen to have one of those variety packs of sugar-laden cereal and would let us “choose” whether to have cereal or oatmeal. We opted every time for those little boxes.
I appreciated her for this and a thousand other grandmotherly reasons. And I loved Pappy, too, of course; just… not his oatmeal.
Fast-forward to three days after my 31st birthday, when I spent over 12 hours in induced labor, bringing my second son into the world right before midnight. At that late hour, the only food available was in a vending machine, and baby Ross’s proud and exhausted dad bought me a pack of those peanut butter and cheese crackers, which did little to quell my hunger but enabled me to finally sleep.
We had missed meal selection, so when the breakfast cart came around, I was given the default meal. It was oatmeal.
I was super hungry, and I consumed that oatmeal in about 3 bites, surprising myself. I had to admit, it was good, in that moment. But after discharge, I resumed my oatmeal-free existence.
Until this morning. I’ve been trying to add healthier food choices into my diet, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of yet another smoothie for breakfast. So, I pulled out a box of high protein oats I purchased in a fit of aspirational zeal. I microwaved one serving with water, then drizzled some honey on it and threw in some fresh berries.
Then I ate the whole bowl.
And I liked it.
Which triggered a tiny identity crisis.
Realizing that, nearly halfway into my sixth decade on earth, my “I don’t eat oatmeal” days may have just come to an abrupt end, I had to share it with someone. So, because he witnessed the hospital oatmeal incident 23+ years ago, I texted Ross’s dad.
I just ate cooked oatmeal and I liked it, I wrote.
Who hijacked this phone and what did you do with Meg? he replied.
Ever the comms pro, he suggested that this discovery might be inspiration for a blog post:
Don’t buy into the myths you create about yourself. Try something new, or try something again that you tried before. You can grow and change.
Of course, this whole experience calls to mind that legendary Dr. Seuss book, “Green Eggs and Ham.”
How does this tie into the resume theme? It’s about never saying never. About being open to the unexpected. About taking risks and trying new things to, as my mom used to say, “expand your horizons.”
So, maybe that means applying for a job that feels like it’s a stretch. Perhaps it has to do with a complete change of careers. About jumping back into the workforce after an extended hiatus. Or relocating. Maybe it’s about going back to school for a graduate degree (regardless of how old you are), or to finish your bachelor’s. Or it might be that voice inside of you that’s urging you to start a side hustle, or to quit your day job to grow your business.
Whatever that thing is for you – pay attention to your discomfort, because it’s telling you something. Magic doesn’t happen when we’re stuck in a routine – it is sparked when we change things up. When we change, we grow. In fact, here’s a great article about how feeling uncomfortable is the key to success, from Forbes, 2016.
All this from a bowl of cooked oatmeal? Hey, I’m trying to tune into the magic here. Work with me on this!
If your discomfort is telling you that it’s time for a new job, I’d be happy to walk with you on the journey, getting your resume up to date, spit-shining your LinkedIn profile, and writing you a killer, customized cover letter. Drop me a line, follow me on social (I’m @hrmegofficial everywhere), or sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom of this post). I’d love to have you aboard.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m afraid I need to confront that piece of my identity that’s built around my dislike of mushrooms….