Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

This week has been one of perspective shifts and overcoming obstacles. Last week I talked about potential new jobs, and I decided to accept a retail job that starts next month. I’m happy that I will have some money coming in again for bills and to make moving on towards bigger and better things possible. However, I have had some trouble staying positive about the fact that this is another retail job, and one that I am overqualified for.

As a recent college graduate with two degrees, I can’t help but feel that I should be doing something more fulfilling and challenging in terms of a job (and hopefully a career). Unfortunately the opportunity for such a job hasn’t been an option for me yet, not for a lack of trying though. I’m lucky enough to have had one incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling internship already at WGN Radio, and now to have another great experience at Reach Out and Read Illinois. This most recent internship will potentially turn into a paid position in the near future, but the exact date is undetermined.

I have a tendency to not look at the positive side of situations, and have struggled with this bad habit this week as the start date for my new retail job approaches. I am glad I have a job, but can’t help but worry that my co-workers will be like the coworkers at my last job: nice enough but not people that I can look forward to having intellectually stimulating conversations with. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m sure my new coworkers will be nice, I just find myself wishing for a work environment that is a bit more challenging.

Thanks to my boyfriend, who reminds me to not worry so much and to look at situations like this in a positive way, I am reminded that there is room for creativity in this position even if it’s not exactly what I want to do. I’ve always struggled with anxiety and nerves and of course experience some of each when I think about starting this new job; but then I’m reminded that because this is a brand new store, all the employees are in the same position: starting fresh.

With these reminders and help shifting my perspective, I’m able to focus on the positive aspects of my currently unemployed situation. I can do what I want with my own time, like read Sherlock Holmes (my favorite), work out (a great way to feel good about myself and relieve some of those nerves), blog and sleep in. When I start my new job, I know I will be tired and will bitter-sweetly think back to this time where I have little to no obligations.

 

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“The Waiting Game”

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I recently graduated from college, and that’s where the inspiration for this post comes from. “The waiting game” seems to be something we all play, whether it is post-college or later on in life.  I wonder though how many people are simply content to play the game or feel like they have no choice.  When did waiting become an inevitability of life though?  I know that there is waiting involved in all aspects of life, but I am referring more specifically to the professional aspects of life. 

I decided to try and avoid the waiting game this year by applying for jobs starting in December, knowing I would be in need of a job come May when I graduated.  “There’s no way I won’t have something lined up after I graduate by applying this early” I said.  Yet, here I am in June, waiting for replies on those same applications I submitted in December.  Of course I check on them regularly, but I also know that no one wants to hire the nag.  Waiting is expected in the employment game.  But why?  I’m sure there are applications received by companies on a daily basis that they can rule out after one look.  It seems like there is no hurry to even say no to an applicant though.  I got my first “no” yesterday—for a job I applied for in early January.  I’m sure they interviewed people they considered to be desirable candidates, and if I wasn’t in that group, wouldn’t it have been just as easy to say, “thanks but no thanks—you’re not what we’re looking for”?  Then I could have ruled out that job as a possibility. 

I’m looking to get into journalism after interning at WGN last summer and, of course, you need experience to be considered for the positions I’m interested in.  Most jobs I’ve thought looked interesting require a MINIMUM of 5 years of experience.  I just graduated college, where will I get 5 years of experience if I can’t even be hired without already having the experience?  Sure, internships are a great place to learn, but few pay.  I’d be happy to immerse myself in a plethora of internship experiences if I could pay the bills simultaneously.  How am I supposed to afford a place to live when I’m not getting paid?

Thus, the minimum wage job seems the only option.  I graduated with a double major but can’t get hired in the field that is supposed to hire people with the kinds of degrees I earned.  Thankfully I have a menial job at the university for the summer but what comes after that?  Apply to the local coffee shop or grocery store while I hope that one day one of my applications to a journalistic job where I actually want to work is picked up by the right person?  So the waiting game continues.

It wasn’t until I recently listened to a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace that I realized no one told me what to expect AFTER graduation.  I can honestly say I didn’t think I would be one of the people stuck playing the waiting game.  I was proactive, put myself out there, and continue to network.  Yet, here I am, waiting.  What I thank David Foster Wallace for pointing out though is that within in the tedium of the waiting game and the mundane every day I can choose how to FEEL about the game I am being forced to play.  I can think about other careers I might be interested in, that random person I met the other day that mentioned they know someone in broadcasting and that I should email them, what I want for myself and my life, or simply choosing to be happy instead of frustrated.  So for that I can be thankful.  I don’t have to like the game; but I can like my situation with the right attitude.