When the Shit Hits the Fan

It’s Thursday.  I completely forgot until about an hour ago.  Sure, every time I look at my phone it tells me the date but I never made the connection that it was Thursday and that Thursday is when I usually post on my blog.  Oh boy.  Zombie alert!

Well, let’s see.  I started a second job this week.  Unpaid.  Also part time.  It is very exciting and interesting, but like I said, unpaid.  I guess one could call it an internship, but my official title is “Communications Consultant” which I find much more interesting than lowly intern.  (Lowly wasn’t part of the job description).

I’m working for a non-profit organization called Reach Out and Read which is a youth literacy promotion program part of the Illinois Chapter of the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics (shameless plug? Yes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!)  I get to be innovative and creative which is great.  I have always been a huge book lover so this is a great fit for me personally.

The paid job I currently work is going well, but I have to start at 7 am in order to get downtown for the afternoon for my other job.  This must be what adulthood feels like; getting up ungodly early, pushing through work, commuting, getting home and wanting to do absolutely nothing but knowing you have to get ready for the next day and also go to bed at a decent time.  Also, having no idea what day it is.  Ok, so adult life without kids at least.

The company that owns the chain of stores I work for announced last week that they are looking to pull out of the industry by the end of the year.  They’re going to sell their stores individually so we don’t know if our store is going to be picked up by a buyer or if it will close and we’ll all be out of jobs.  On top of all of us wondering, the company (Safeway) selling is making front page news regularly because this decision is so abrupt and potentially devastating.  Yay!

I got in my first car accident this week.  Thankfully no one was hurt and my car is repairable, but not as cheaply as I could hope for.  At least I’m alive, well, etc. etc. but I’m also poor.

Also, I’m developing a large zit on my nose that is red and makes me look like Rudolph.  I think it might be stress-induced.

Usually I try to tie together my post with a theme or advice or just a thought for the week, but honestly I’m having a hard time pulling this all together.  I guess my conclusion is yes, sometimes life can suck.  Sometimes the shit can all hit the fan at once, but your attitude can make a difference.  I personally am not nearly as freaked out about all of this week’s events as I would expect myself to be.  I think I can attribute that to being forced to be positive and polite to customers on a daily basis no matter how rude they might be or if they’re interrupting me.  You learn to just roll with it and a little perspective can help you realize what’s worth spending your energy on.  If you’re having a shitty week, I hope it gets better.  If you’re not, I’m glad!  Try to stay positive people.

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Summer Blues

            July is officially over which means summer is almost over too.  This will be the first year that I won’t be returning to school in August, something that I’ve been doing since my earliest memories.  Part of me is relieved that the stresses and pressures that accompany the school year are not going to be part of my life this year, but part of me feels more anxious because it means that there isn’t a predetermined schedule or structure to my life now.  I will be doing whatever I am able to do this fall, versus doing what my major’s curriculum dictates.  It is a liberating feeling but it’s also terrifying.  Yes, I could technically do whatever I want, but that would probably mean that no one is paying me so I wouldn’t be free to live on my own or support myself or start paying off my student loans in a few months.  Stupid money; unfortunately it’s needed.  My hope is to be working a job I at least like (since I’ve learned the hard way that just because you might love a job doesn’t mean you’ll even be offered an interview for said job). 

            I guess what I’m saying is that when people ask me if I’m excited for the school year and I tell them I graduated in May and they say “Oh that’s great! You can do whatever you want!” they aren’t exactly right.  Yes, I won’t be writing papers and putting together PowerPoint’s for presentations, but I could just as easily be doing tasks just as formal because a boss asked me to.  If someone asked me, in an ideal world, what I’d want to do this year with my life I’d say that I’d like money to be no concern (meaning I have enough for my needs and some wants), and that I’d like to read and write and travel.  And run.  That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for (ha!).  One of the lessons in adulthood though is that you have to make sacrifices to provide for yourself and if you want to do even some of the things you want to do, you might have to work in places you don’t like.

            When I first started my job hunt last December I only looked at jobs that I absolutely wanted, heeding the advice to do what you love, and (somewhat foolishly) thinking that I’d automatically be considered for these positions because I had two degrees and some experience.  Well, February came with almost no contact from these employers so I tried again.  I tried applying for jobs that weren’t necessarily my first choice or something that I indefinitely wanted to pursue as a career. 

            April came, and with graduation fast approaching I became nervous that I didn’t have a job lined up.  I had met with the university’s career counselor a few times and she said I was doing everything right, that I just had to wait for someone to call me for an interview.

“Do you have a way to support yourself or someone that will support you while you wait to hear back about a job?” she asked me. 

Ummm, no.  I needed a job because I have no money; they call it “broke college kid” for a reason.  She did however point me in the direction of a local internship at a TV studio that worked with the university regularly and I applied.  I took the time to write a cover letter specifically for this position, emphasizing that I would be a great fit because of my dual degrees and awesome writing skills and, from what I remember, basically saying HIRE ME!  Maybe I over sold myself, maybe I wasn’t what they were really looking for, but needless to say I never heard from them. 

            The week of graduation in May I had come to terms with the fact that I would have to move back in with my parents, at least for the time being.  As someone who has worked to be remotely self-sufficient these last four years that was a hard idea to just accept.  Then, the day before graduation I was offered the job that I currently had at the university for the summer.  Well, it’s the day before graduation, so I’d have to find somewhere to live and since this is a part time job I probably wouldn’t make enough to afford an apartment. 

            Thankfully something worked out and I’ve been working at the school for the summer.  Because I haven’t been offered anything else though, I’ve had to face the possibility that I might have to move back to my childhood home again.  I’ve been pretty cynical this month, basically applying for anything and everything I come across whether it’s something I want to pursue as a career or not so I can try to stay on this journey to adulthood and the inescapable financial responsibilities I already have.  While filling out all of these applications I’m telling myself I’m not going to get any of these jobs, but why not try at least.  See? Not very positive.  But, I’ve stopped trying to plan out what is going to happen because, once again, I’ve been proven wrong. 

          Yesterday I got a call for an interview with a place I applied a while ago where I’d be very happy to work, and I think it’s because I finally resigned myself to stop trying to anticipate what’s going to happen.  I was so sure that I would get one of the jobs I applied for in December that I didn’t think realistically.  So, I’m going to keep my mind open and keep my options open to the best of my ability.  I think these days, for people who are planners like me, it’s so easy to get frustrated because we can’t control how quickly other people work or if they even decide to respond to a job application we applicants consider so important.  College students seem to be low on the list of people to consider for jobs, unless they are applying for a job with constant/high demand.  It seems like there is a lot of luck involved in applying for jobs too; if you know someone that can help get you a position, you have an incredible advantage over someone applying “off the street”.  I used to think that the city offered endless opportunities because of its size, but I’m learning that unless you have a connection no one really feels obligated to give you a chance.  So, to all of you looking for a job, I wish you luck.  We just have to keep trying, even if things seem like they’ll never work out.