Wherein I attempt to get my shit together

19 Jul

Have I ever told you about my soul-crushing guilt complex? Because I have one of those and, let me tell you, it’s a major kill-joy.

Back in May I applied for a job. It was a great position at a great place. Bonus points? It was in my field AND it was referred to me by a big-deal contact on the “inside”. I was super qualified for the position and I had an in? I was ecstatic.

I slaved over my application, sent it and waited.

I never heard anything back. I was crushed.

At first I languished over it – how could I be SO qualified AND have an excellent inside reference and STILL not even get so much as a phone call? I couldn’t figure out how I kept going wrong with this whole “establishing a career” thing and I felt pretty hopeless. Eventually I got over it and even started to settle into my current state of affairs in such a way that was way more positive than it had been. I made a plan – I’d give myself until November (which would make a year at my current job) or until March (until the end of my current contract), then I would start looking again.

And then last week, as if the Powers That Be were purposely holding out to make sure I wasn’t a cosmic pussy, I got the call.

It was a woman from the HR department at the place I had applied to back in May. I had been shortlisted for the position and they wanted to interview me on Monday. Which is to say, what is now today.

This is about when the world around me slowed and went fuzzy and my heart skipped a few dozen beats before I realized that this was actually happening. My first reaction after gaining feeling back in my limbs was to quake with excitement – Yes! The want to interview me! It’s finally happening!

Everything was coming up Jam.

And then, like I always do, I started to get all wishy-washy.

I looked around my cubicle and I started to panic. I haven’t finished my contract yet. That’s bad, right? And what am I supposed to tell my boss? A man who has looked after me and made sure that I am always taken care of. What about my awesome co-workers? (don’t get me wrong, they aren’t ALL awesome) And what about the job itself? Sure, it’s not even remotely in my field and doesn’t pay enough for me to pay off the education I’m not really using AND be self-sustaining at the same time. But it IS a steady job that has been very good to me during an exceptionally turbulent time of my life and I’m just going to BAIL ON IT?

Guys, I was being ravaged by guilt over the very prospect of leaving my job (an easy pay-cheque) for a career. It was DESTROYING ME AS A PERSON.

“Are you fucking kidding me??” my Work Bestie snapped at me when I whispered her my news. She too is working on moving on to greener pastures. Her workplace loyalty is an all-time low, “It’s a job in your field at a cool place that could end up paying you anywhere from $12 to $20 grand MORE than what you’re making now and you’re feeling EMOTIONAL about leaving this place?”

“Yeah, but – ”


She’s a really positive motivating force in my life.

I called my mom and, I shit you not, I thought she was going to cry,

“This is amazing!” she all but sobbed, “This is everything you’ve been working for. Do you have any idea how much this is going to change your life?”

I felt like I was trying to keep a dirty little secret, “Shh, ma’! It’s just an interview! I haven’t gotten it yet, DON’T JINX ME!”

But I was thinking the same thing. I tried shoving all of that to the back of my mind – I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I wanted to be calm and level-headed about it. But the GUILT. The totally irrational, borderline-debilitating GUILT! It was starting to taint my opinion of the job entirely.

Not good.

I knew I wanted that job. I was genuinely excited about it. I even knew that my boss, although he would be disappointed, would also understand. He himself has said that he doesn’t except me to be here long, that this job is just a stepping stone and that people like me “don’t stay in places like this for long”. And that was ok. Hell, he even arranged for me to have career-planning sessions. I think he’ll be ok.

But still.

This is a problem. I attach so much emotion to things and places and moments in time that I come to have a hard time letting go. Uhg, I have SUCH a hard time letting go. I’m always afraid of disappointing people (who would never actually be disappointed, but my brain is too warped to realize it) or of losing those things that give me comfort (even when they’re not good for me or have already served it’s purpose).

You should see the boxes of stuff taking up space in my room and every available storage space in our house because I just don’t have the heart to get rid of it.

I cried the day we had to haul my first car off to the wreckers because even though it hadn’t run in over a year.

I often slip into fits of depressed nostalgia when a song on the radio reminds me of people or places or events from my past, even if those memories aren’t happy ones.

There’s probably something wrong with me. I have no idea.

I have passed up or settled too many time because I was afraid of letting go.

And after a few hours of fretting, I realized that, this time?

This time was not going to be one of them.

So I bought a pretty new dress and broke in some sassy kitten heels. I spent hours updating my portfolio until it was pretty much a fucking piece of art. I let myself do some what-if budgetary calculations (just a little though. It was sort of like stealing a smidge of frosting from a birthday cake before it’s been served – enough to get you excited about what’s coming but not so much as to spoil it). I studied and rehearsed and Boyfriend made my lunch for me so I could go to bed early.

I showed up half and hour early because I was too nervous to keep sitting at my desk. While I waited, the candidate that was interviewed before me finished and breezed past me with this smile plastered across her face like she was so damn proud of herself. And she probably deserved to be proud of herself but I was too busy judging the way she looked and the way she walked and the way she UHHG to care about that.

But it was her smile that I found to be so unnerving. She looked so confident. Unshakably confident. I smiled back and then looked down at the portfolio I was clutching in my hands. Why shouldn’t I feel that confident? I had no reason to feel anything BUT that confident. My portfolio was stellar, I was ridiculously qualified and, as Jaimie so eloquently put it, I am a consummate badass!

I decided to focus on something funny to help shake the nerves and settled on my favourite funny memory: I was at a conference with a colleague once and, in the middle of the presentation we were listening to he dropped his pen. Not wanting to draw attention to himself (or something?) he lunged down for it quickly. He also forgot to push his chair out when he did so and wound up cracking his forhead off the table so hard that his upper body bounced back up as fast as it went down. The only evidence that anything had happened was the suspicious swaying of his enormous Italian ‘fro (Think of that kid from High School Musical. You know, the one with the hair? SHUT UP YOU TOTALLY KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT) and a look on his face that screamed “WTF JUST HAPPENED”. Amazingly, I was the only one who witnessed it. We almost pissed ourselves laughing and how we didn’t get our asses hauled out of that presentation eludes me to this day.

But anyway, laughing helped. It continued to help as I revisited that memory several times over a period of 20 minutes that the panel kept me waiting before they finally invited me into the room. It’s helping even now. Oh god, SO FUNNY.

As for the interview, I truly believe that it went well, I don’t know that it was the most amazing interview I’ve ever given, but I was confident and gave what I feel were great responses. I felt comfortable and I knew what I was talking about. They liked my portfolio.

So now, I wait.

They said I should be hearing from them by the end of the week. That means four days of distracting myself and pretending it’s no big deal while secretly maintaining a vision of nothing but an absolutely positive outcome. And repeating my new personal mantra of “I WILL get this job, I am a consummate badass” several hundred time a day.

And maybe looking into finding someone to talk to about this all-consuming guilt thing.

One way or another, it’s a step in the right direction.

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – In settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”
– Nelson Mandela


9 Responses to “Wherein I attempt to get my shit together”

  1. LizzyDanger July 19, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Good luck! I will be sending you “land the job” vibes all week !!!

  2. Whitney July 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Oh, I hope you get it! Did they tell you when they would let you know?

    • Jam July 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks! They said that they’re hoping to be able to get back to the sucessful candidate by the end of the week. Eeek!

  3. Dawn July 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    They will totally want to consumate with your badassery. Wait. What? Hell, you know what I mean. Anyhoozle, I’ve stocked up on some good-deed doing which means I have some extra Karma laying around. Keep your eyes open for a Fed-ex guy with questionable sexual preferences to show up with a big ol’box of good Karma for you.

  4. Solo @ 30 July 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Good luck! It really sounds like this would be the plum opportunity for you, so embrace it if you get the call. You deserve to be happy, challenged, inspired, and loving it up about your career.

  5. Kristin July 20, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Good for you! I was thinking of you yesterday. Sending positive thoughts.
    Sounds like your current employer knows you are not there for the long haul. Still it is hard.

  6. Megan (Best of Fates) July 20, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I know *exactly* what you mean. I had a job that I absolutely hated about a month ago when I got offered my current one – one that’ll let me go back to school and is working with people I know who I really like, and I absolutely flipped over having to quit the previous job. As in, I seriously considered not switching, and had multiple hysterical crying jags. Then, when I finally got the guts to tell my old boss, she was completely sweet and understanding.

    Anyway, I’m also crazy. So, power in solidity?

    • Jam July 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

      This makes me feel SO much better. I honestly thought I was going crazy. I mean, who else gets irrationally emotional over the prospect of having to leave one less-than-glorious job for one that is, in so many ways, perfect?

      Well now I know – You do.

      Power in solidarity indeed.

  7. alonewithcats July 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    I know where you’re coming from. I have trouble letting go to people, places, things and other nouns that don’t fall easily into the aforementioned categories.

    But, in terms of jobs (and usually people, places and things, too), you have to do what’s best for you. If you get this job, and it’s best for you, then go for it. Your current bosses will totally understand and be supportive of your next move. And if they’re not? You wouldn’t want to work for them in the first place. And they wouldn’t be worth the guilt you’re feeling now. Am I right, or am I right?

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