Yesterday morning, while the maintenance guy serviced our home air conditioner, I took advantage of the bright sunshine and extra time to do a little gardening. My front flowerbed, extending 3-4 feet from the foundation of the house, is always the one I put off weeding, trimming, and tending because the soil is so poor. Yesterday was the day.
Using my gloved hands, I pulled back the leaves, stems, and other detritus from cut perennials that we allow to naturally decompose and replenish the earth over the winter. Noticed a few unwelcome thistles that I needed to remove. And then, looked down with a start of surprise. Two slips of hostas, one with two leaves and one with just a single tender shoot.
This particular hybrid hosta is one that I planted there more than 7 years ago, before I realized just how poor the soil was. It struggled during that first summer. It struggled again with even fewer leaves the second summer. And then it vanished. No sprouts at all for five years.
During that five years, we’ve been working on the soil quality for the sake of the plants, bushes, and trees that are still growing in the bed. We’ve consistently mulched natural materials to try to improve the soil content, removed weeds, and re-purposed extra household water to keep the soil moist through the drought of 2013. Last growing season, when our perennial bushes and trees were damaged by the heavy snow of the 2014 winter, we started using an organic fertilizer to supplement the nitrogen content even more. So the other plants have been visibily improving their vitality. But it truly never crossed my mind that the hostas would eventually be strong enough to return from their dormancy, let alone to send a fresh shoot for a second plant. I was sure they were dead, not dormant. What an incredible surprise!
Yesterday, I was joy-filled with this simple gardening gift. Today, I’ve been thinking about it as a metaphor for your job search. Sometimes you’re doing all the right things – networking, staying active on social media, staying current in the trends for your career specialty, applying for suitable positions – and it seems not to be bearing fruit. Day after day. Week after week. Sometimes even month after month.
Yet sometimes, it’s truly that regular cultivation and genuine perseverance that makes new growth possible in the long run.
by Elyse Williamson