I’ve been applying for lots of jobs recently. And when I say jobs, I mean a career – I don’t want a job to pay the bills, I want a career into which I can put my whole self and not feel like I’m wasting time. This has led to a lot of a thinking and contemplation and reflection … and crying and self-doubt and frustration. I have no interest in pursuing a career for which I already have experience and qualification – I don’t want to be a teacher, I don’t want to be a sales assistant … yet these are the things for which I have suitable experience and qualification. Who said I have to teach since I have the degree? Who said I must work in sales because I have a natural talent for customer service and maximising sales? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – and this very much applies to my recent frustration in looking for work.
I want to do something different. I want to be someone who loves their job. I want to experience something that makes me want to get out of bed every day – and this is especially important at the moment because lately I have had a lot of days which have commenced with me pulling the covers over my head and refusing to acknowledge the world until the day disappears altogether.
At twenty something, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I especially fear that I will feel like this in a year, or in ten years, or when I’m close to retirement age. I’ve had lots of opportunities to “find myself”. I went to Uni and studied philosophy, I lived in Italy for two months when I was fifteen, I did the backpacking thing, I hiked the “spiritual” Inca Trail, I contemplated my place in my world within the grandest of cathedrals and the tiniest of chapels, I talked to people with no common language and we understood each other, I spent almost three months in the middle of nowhere with my books and my dissertation … I’M SUPPOSED TO HAVE FOUND MYSELF BY NOW!
I want to write and I already do that. I’m writing my dissertation. I write stories. I’m working on three novels simultaneously (yes, I’m a sucker for punishment). Most recently I was asked to write up a calendar of events for a travel magazine … but it almost didn’t get sent. I almost emailed the editor and said “no, I can’t do it, I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough experience, I’m not a journalist, sorry”. Instead, I held my breath after the forty seventh ‘proof read’ and I pressed send.
Last week I had to acquire an ABN to invoice them for my first ever freelance writing piece (due to be published in two weeks!). It’s very exciting! My occupation is now listed as “professional writer”. My name in print!
I don’t just want to write, though. I love it, but I’m afraid if I make it my sole occupation I will come to resent it. I want to do something more.
I sift through job advertisements with a recklessness for self-confidence and emotional preservation. I look at jobs for which I am underqualified, inexperienced, or simply unsuitable. I spend hours sobbing about how I’m not good enough for anything I want to do, or sobbing about how I don’t know what I want to do at all.
I know from experience that I can work in any industry because I can make myself fit the mould – from working in a call centre for a finance company to fitting bras, from washing dishes to teaching software development … I’ve never been interviewed for a job and not been offered the position.* But I don’t want to fit the mould anymore. I want the mould to fit me. I want to walk into the interview and be nothing but myself. I want to be relaxed and confident and completely honest. I want to find a position which will nurture my growth and enable me to find my place within a dynamic industry for which I have genuine passion.
Lists were written. Tears were shed. Then a funny thing happened. I wrote my CV up (via the brilliant talent of my best friend whose graphic design skills left my CV sparkly and gorgeous) and I just sent it. Injected with my personality and accompanied with a cover letter that read more like a desperate, passionate declaration of love for books and words, I sent it forth into the world.
And today is the first day of my career in publishing. Now that’s exciting.
Now to finish my novels and hit send. They won’t make into the world without that first push, you know.
* One exception: I was interviewed to work in a call centre for a certain food delivery service. The moment I stepped into the office for the interview I decided I didn’t want the job – the pay was terrible, the environment cold, and the interviewer was a bitch – so I answered the cliche “do you have an example of receiving bad customer service” question with “yes, from here actually”. Woops.