These days, it feels that I’m not just hitting a wall when it comes to finding a job. It feels like I am sprinting into the wall and body slamming it, over and over again. Each week I peel myself off the floor and get back up, ready to sprint. All this sprinting and slamming is getting pretty exhausting. (Almost as exhausting as all these metaphors.)
I keep daydreaming about when I can finally make that victorious phone call to my dad—“I got the job!”—but these days, I’m so disillusioned, I don’t even know what that job would be. I feel like I’m applying for anything and everything I find posted that has the word ‘writing’ or ‘editing’ in the description. Then, I wait. Then, I follow up with phone calls and e-mails.
If I’m lucky, I get a response.
The more time that passes, the more terrified I become that I’m going to be waiting tables until I’m 40.
Nothing hurts the very essence of my being more than that thought.
So what do I do after I body slam the job search wall yet again? I blog. I watch “Sex and the City” episodes. (Yes, “Sex and the City” episodes. I love it. Get off my back.)
Or, like yesterday afternoon, I force myself to walk away from my computer that holds all the jobs I’m not getting, and I go sit outside at Starbucks, drinking a $4 chai latte that I have no business drinking, and I read Anna Karenina. Why is it I feel like a more valuable person when people see me sitting and reading a book than I do when people see me serving food at my job? I need to get over myself. Nobody gives a shit. But the truth is, I sat there and hoped that people thought I was a grad student. Because for some reason, that makes me feel better than when I’m at the convenience store and a guy recognizes me and says, “You’re that Logan girl!” That happened Sunday.
After it got too dark to read outside, I crossed the street and ate at my favorite Thai place.
It was the best I’d felt all day, sitting alone and eating my pad thai. I ate slowly, drank tea and read my book, as if dining alone was something I do all the time. In fact, I’ve never eaten dinner at a restaurant alone before. Lunch, sure. But eating lunch alone at Potbelly’s isn’t quite the same thing, you know? Somehow, crossing the street and walking in that tiny restaurant alone was this huge confidence boost.
I know a lot of people dine out alone all the time, or go to the movies alone, whatever. Those people are probably scoffing at me right now. And that’s fine. But for me, it was a big deal. I also know that if I’d never left my comfort zone in Bloomington, I wouldn’t have crossed that street and ate by myself. I probably would have walked over, chickened out and ordered carryout, playing with my phone while I anxiously waited for my food.
It might not be much, but it’s something.
When I got home, I opened the mail, dreading seeing more bills that I know I need to pay. Instead, there was a letter from a family member who has been particularly encouraging over the last year. One of his letters is stuck on my dresser mirror, underneath the picture of my mom and me where I placed the “Be proud of who you are” message so many months ago.
As expected, this was yet another encouraging letter. It included the quote that I just added on my profile. I won’t retype the whole letter here, of course, but at the end he said, “Be proud, Al, and know I am one of many who admire your courage.”
I need to remind myself that when I judge myself for not finding a job in my field right now.