Saturday, April 21, 2007
Desperate is such an ugly word....
I spent a good, solid year-and-a-half after graduating with my Bachelor's degree looking for a job. I was selective at first as to which jobs I would apply. I had a couple miserable interviews that were really just more embarrassing than anything. Certainly no job offers. My savvy older sister helped me with my resume, helped me buy a three piece suit from Ann Taylor (you should see this suit; it's amazing. I look like I belong in a courtroom, corner office, or the very least, The Apprentice), and gave me more interview how-to packets than you can shake a stick at. It seemed, however, the less picky I became in my applications, the offers for even an interview waned. I mean, I know I'm not that impressive, but I like to prove my incompetence in person. If you can't make yourself look good on paper through slight exaggeration and mild fabrication, what do you really have left in this life? Well, the more, ahem...desperate I became, the more it must have shown in my cover letters, I'm sure(Dear Hiring Manager, I NEED a job! Please help. I'm sure that whatever your company does, I will excel at it and increase your _______(please fill in blank with applicable word: productivity, sales, number of employees, at the very least...) Call me."). This is the only logical conclusion I can come to, seeing that interviews were not even in my immediate future.
Now, to get a completely accurate picture of my despondency, let me tell you what my life was like at the time. I had just moved up to Seattle with the so-naive-it's-almost-cute attitude that I would find an affordable place to live in three (yes, three) days, and have a new job within a month. All this, without knowing anyone here besides my then-boyfriend's parents. So, you see, this "three days" somehow turned into four months. Yes, that's right. I was living with my boyfriend's parents for four months. Two of which, it was just the three of us. In a house. Together. Talk about awkward. It got worse when this said boyfriend moved to Seattle as well, two months after I did. I can sum it all up in one word: pure, unadulterated HELL (ok, three words).
So, here I was, living with the begrudging parents of my cheating (oh, did I mention he was cheating on me during this? Well, he was.) boyfriend, working "full time" (I put quotes on this only because I worked 40 hours a week, but had absolutely no benefits. They refused to put me in the system as full time to avoid this) at Old Navy, applying to about every job on monster.com in the greater Seattle metropolitan area.
See why I was so incredibly desperate?
I was floundering to get a job--any job, really--when (cue angelic chorus and clouds parting to let the sunbeams shine down onto the computer) I got a job offer. An actual offer. With the promise of no cold calling and a starting salary of $40,000 (wow! They sure lied on that one!), I took the job. Well, the job didn't turn out so great but we'll save those details for a future blog. But the point is this: floundering never, I repeat never, leads to what we're looking for. Being blinded by desperation only leads one to lower one's standards and taking the first thing that comes along.
Which leads me to the second half of this blog (and you thought it was already too long...ha!). I got a message from one of my dear friends from those torturous high school days today. She had a very keen insight. She likened the "job hunt" to dating. And it's awful. I have never heard a more true statement in my life.
Here I am, an item in the ever-dwindling cesspool we like to call dating, trying, unsuccessfully, to convince men that I am worth $20 on a Friday night (not in a hooker-ish way, mind you). However, there are no takers. There have been no takers for nearly eight months (groan... I didn't realize it had been that long). I thought this was a ward-wide epidemic, because when I would whine (yes, whine) to my girlfriends about my tragic love life, they all agreed. Not with me in the sense that they thought my love life is tragic, but in the sense that their love lives were tragic as well. But, come to think of it, maybe they were, in fact, just agreeing that I, and only I, had a tragic love life because of what I'm about to say next: come to find out, they all go on dates a lot more frequently than I do. We were complaining about the same, yet different, thing. It's like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Everyone has certain needs that must be met, once those needs are met, you graduate to the next level where there's a whole slew of new problems awaiting for you. Until, of course, you reach self-actualization, and everything is fine and dandy in the world. So, in Emily's Hierarchy of Relationships, there are levels in which one must achieve in life. First, you have a good, solid friendship base with the same gender (check). Second, a slightly more complicated friendship ring with the opposite gender (check). Third, being able to persuade the opposite gender that you are worth some quality one-on-one time on a fairly casual date (this is where I start to falter). Fourth, being able to coax the person in stage three into a more meaningful getting-to-know-you phase where you actually experiment with monogamous dating (I want so much to say "check" here. However, let it be known I've made it to this stage one and a half times). Fifth, is Relationship Actualization, aka marriage (I would appreciate all the Marrieds out there to stop snickering at my Singledom ignorance here. I realize there is a Marriage Hierarchy of Needs. But, obviously, I have no clue as what that entails.).
There are plenty of prospects beeping around on my radar. I'm just trying to figure out how to stop being the Stealth Female in the ward and actually make an appearance on a decent man's dating radar. And, whereas, I wouldn't say that I'm lowering my standards, I'm just...keeping my options open, if you will. So, luckily I haven't quite fallen into the Pit of Desperation, but, let me tell you, I'm on shaky ground, my friends. Shaky ground.
present-day emily here: i made it to "relationship actualization"! without lowering my standards!! hip-hip! (hooray!)