Now What?

2016 Mary here. I’m posting this for two reasons. One, I still find it fascinating that I was so down for such a long time. I didn’t realize how down I had gotten or how horrible I had become in my job search. Two, this was sitting in my drafts, complete and ready to go. It seemed weird that such an…let’s say interesting stream of consciousness was not being able to be read. I know exactly why I never posted this. I didn’t want to heap so many negative comments on my current job, because I didn’t want to lose that job. Furthermore, I didn’t want to let anyone know exactly how much I had been struggling, or exactly how much of a hard time I had been having. I suppose everyone knew, because I am the queen of wearing my heart of my sleeve. But in my mind, this struggle was completely internal, with the exception of a few people who knew me really well. (mom, looking at you. I love you)  This post was written April 18, 2015. If you truly get to the end of this, let me know. I owe you.

This is a warning: This post is not a happy one. I am just writing to write. Will I ever publish this? I don’t know. I am upset. So if you don’t want to read a ‘woe is me’ post about how upset I am, then don’t read this. You’ve been warned. I’ll get over it, and this will help. Bottom line: It’s been a rough week for me, and writing about it is one of the ways I know how to help myself get over it. Once it is all out of me, I can’t dwell on it anymore.

Why did I go to college? Was it to fulfill some expectation? Someone told me I should so I figured that I probably should? Was it for me? Did I actually want to go to college? The answer is I went to college for me. I figured I wanted to make more money than a job without a degree could earn me. I went to college for me. Sure, there were some expectations from others that I wanted to fulfill. I wanted to go to college to show those people that I could and would. So I did. Above all, I went to college to learn more about some field that I could be passionate about. When I started college, I had no idea what that field was.

After this week, I’m not so sure I know what that field is anymore. Trust me. I’ve even considered going back and trying something different.

I got rejected from another job. Again.

You’d think that after as many rejections I’ve received/as many applications as I have submitted, I would be used to it. I would cry less with every rejection letter. Well that is completely false. Every rejection hurts just as much as the previous one. Every single one seems to say that I’m not good enough, seems to mock me, telling me that I never will be good enough. I know that I need to stop taking rejections personally. It’s not that the hiring managers stare down at my resume or application and think, “Ah, yes, how can we make this young woman feel so incredibly inferior? We just push her application aside? Perfect.” No. I don’t think that’s what happens at all. What happens is that I am just not quite what they are looking for. Maybe I’m not qualified enough, or I don’t fit the company culture, or whatever.

Regardless. The words “The position has been filled” hurt more than anyone can ever prepare you for. And the reason why is that a million things run through my mind when I read those words. The what ifs? What if I had sat up straighter during the interview? What if I hadn’t been so nervous? Did I talk about myself too much? Did I not highlight my skills effectively? Is my resume really written that poorly? Did I not make enough eye contact?

While some of that may be true, what I don’t stop to consider is how close I was. It’s not like scores are published and I can go check a board somewhere. Nope. It’s a yes or no game. And I seem to be losing.

The piece of paper I worked so hard to receive for 10 semesters that says I have learned about a field looks more and more useless as I get rejected from job after job.

I can hear you. I can hear what you are saying at this point. “Mary. Don’t you have a job?” Yes, I do have a job. A job that makes me miserable. I won’t go into it. Mostly because I still work there, and I am still grateful to have a job. But it’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to go to work. I don’t have anything else to do, but I just don’t want to go. It’s the job that I had all through college. It’s been a good job for me. I’ve been able to go home to my family for longer breaks and they have always worked around my school schedule, but I’m just done. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to use that piece of paper (and all the knowledge that preceded it) in a job that I will be excited about, a job that will challenge me, a job that will use the skills I’ve worked so hard to hone and develop over those 10 semesters.

Sometimes I realize, it’s becoming more and more frequent, that I’m not using that degree I worked so hard for in my current job, and it makes me feel…inadequate or like I’ve failed someone/thing. I worked so hard for it, and now…nothing (at the moment). And that just makes me feel like a failure. I know I’m not. I know that almost every other college student graduates and then doesn’t have a job for a while. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. It’s not fun, but it is the harsh reality I’m facing–we are all facing. Now, knowing that I am not a failure doesn’t necessarily mean I have a change in my mindset. And that mindset makes me tell myself that I’ve worked so hard for something I’ve now got and because I’m not using it right now means that I don’t deserve it.

I don’t know. I’m not doing a very good job at explaining this.

At this point–I feel that I’m ready to get a ‘big kid’ job and walk away from the job I had as a student. It can’t come fast enough, and apparently I am a very impatient person. Which is probably why I cry so hard after every rejection. I get my hopes up for nothing. For the first part of my cry, it’s the pain of what could have been. Then, the second part is a realization that I have to go back to my other job. Which in turn makes me more miserable. It a cyclical cycle. One that I hate and try so hard to break. “This time will be different. This time, I’ll only think of the positives. This time, I’ll be okay with it, ” I tell myself every time I wait for a job decision. And every time, all of it ends up being false. Every time, I’m still horribly upset. That makes me unemployed with my degree, and a liar. Great.

I think I might be tired. That is probably half of all of this. I’ve not only been working hard to get a ‘big kid’ job, I’ve also been working a TON at my current job. Because I don’t have anything else going on in my life, my job sees that as a chance for me to just work all the time. I know I can go to the managers and ask them to stop and they will. I just haven’t yet. I may have to after this week. I’ve been working so much that people have been saying to me, “Wow! You’ve been working so much! I bet you’ll be happy when you get that paycheck!” I hate that response. It seems so temporary. Although I am working for a paycheck, that is only half of it. I’d like to be happy about my work for more than just the payout every other week. I’d like my work to mean more than that. And maybe I hate that response because I know that, regardless of how many hours I’ve worked, I won’t be happy with “how big” my paycheck will be. I’d much rather feel fulfilled by my job and not be making “a lot” of money, than just work and work and work to no end, and get slightly more money than usual. I think it’s because the money is temporary, the feeling of being burnt out and frustrated is more lasting. Money will go, frustration leaves a bitter taste–it’s one that I hate.

They tell you to be proud of your achievement. “Wow,” everyone gushes. “A college degree! Well done! You can be proud of that for the rest of your life.” Well, what happens when your pride runs out? It’s happened so fast, my pride seemingly running out, but the position has been filled. So what now? I keep pushing? I keep my head up? I hang in there? Yes. That’s all I can do. Maybe I’ll find that pride again someday. But for today, it’s all gone.

To everyone who has told me to hang in there, told me that it will all get better soon, that I need to never give up, told me that I need to keep my head up, and supported me through every rejection breakdown, I say thank you. It’s mainly been my mom. Thank you mom. I don’t think I’m ever grateful enough to you. But I really am thankful you are my mom.

Back to my search. Though I might have to take a day or two off because it is exhausting.

(Also. Thanks for sticking with me through this post. I know it was horrible. I am feeling better already. I apologize for being so negative. Tomorrow will be better. Next week should be better.)

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