The ladder

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Life happens at its own pace. For many things, we can’t force them to hurry up or slow down at will. While I personally find it annoying because I have the patience of a two-year-old girl, I still find myself shrugging my shoulders reciting, “it is what it is,” on many occasions. Not necessarily because I want to, but because I know that I’ve done as much as I could’ve and the rest is up to the universe. (The universe and I have a very complicated love/hate relationship.)

Most people who know me know that since I started college in the fall of 2009, I had a plan. I knew what career I wanted and I knew where I wanted to move. Ohio was so far off my radar it was like the Bermuda Triangle had swallowed it up. All my life was spent working toward this one career goal. I climbed that metaphorical ladder rung by rung as I surpassed each step on my pre-career to-do list, but it was when I had to sit back and wait that tensions began to rise. I went from feeling like I was this high achieving, well seasoned, budding journalist waiting for my big break to completely questioning my skills and abilities within a six month time period. I graduated and didn’t have any job offers yet. I sat back for months watching classmates of mine accept positions in the media field that I felt better qualified for. I was angry. Why wasn’t anyone offering me jobs? I had awesome internships, I made good contacts, I was really good at what I could do. But for whatever reason, my resumé was overlooked and I sat around unemployed for months. Eventually, my loans slapped me in the face and demanded that I start forking over excruciatingly painful payments. I needed an income.

There I was, a college graduate with dreams of working alongside fellow journalists, applying for minimum wage jobs near my hometown. I was embarrassed and nursing an understandably crushed ego while working part time as a front desk associate at a hotel near my parent’s house. For awhile, I admit I had given up on myself and succumbed to the idea that I may never work in my professional field. I blamed the job market, technology, my location. I made crazy justifications for why I couldn’t seem to get an entry level job in journalism. I didn’t tell anyone about my work situation because I didn’t want to have to admit to anyone that I wasn’t where I should’ve been. I felt out of place at work. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there, and I know all of my coworkers could tell I was aching to leave as well.

Eventually, I started getting phone calls and interviews for other jobs. I perked up quite a bit, but I kept quiet about my prospects because I didn’t want to make a huge thing out of an interview and then not receive a job offer afterward. I thought, “I really don’t need any other embarrassments right now.” After I went through my depressed stage, I started fighting really hard to get noticed for jobs. I was aggressively reaching out to hiring managers, asking other professionals for help or insight or advice and essentially jumping up and down, flailing my arms and yelling, “look at me, look at me!” But by January 2014, I had exhausted all of my ideas and started falling back into that “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next” attitude. I had hundreds of applications floating around in cyberspace and all I could really do was wait. And feel worthless, of course. Waiting is always the hardest part.

Then one day while I was working, my phone rang. I had interviewed at this news station the previous October, but they didn’t have any job openings at the time and asked me to get back in touch in the new year. Of course, I never got in touch because I thought nothing would come of it anyway because it was a really big station that I didn’t feel I had a chance with (yeah, nice attitude!). But then they called me. Now, I’m proud to say that my first job in the media field is at a market 17 news station. I’m happy where I am and I finally feel like I fit in at work. Instead of trying to blend in with the walls, I want people to ask me about where I’m working. I want to be able to proudly say that, yeah, my first job took ages to materialize but now that I’m finally working, my job is way more impressive than your job! Of course, I’m not that rude, but it’s nice to know that it was never a matter of being unqualified or inept in my field. It just wasn’t my time yet and I had to wait for something amazing to come along.

So I learned a valuable lesson this past year. While it’s great to have goals, sometimes it’s unfair to place time limits on when you should achieve certain goals. Setting impossible expectations is quite literally setting yourself up for failure. You can’t control every aspect of your life. I told myself I needed to have a job in my field within a very short time after earning my degree, and when I didn’t meet my own expectations, it hurt. I sent myself into a spiral of second-guessing who I was and what I wanted to do, which ultimately forced the idea that I had already failed into my brain. Now I know that I didn’t fail – I didn’t do anything wrong. It just took time and patience and serious perseverance. I’m grateful that I had family and friends who continually cheered for me and kept pumping me up with positive affirmations and encouragement, reassuring me that I was good at what I did and that the perfect job would come along soon. It’s important to keep believing in ourselves too. Just because you may not be where you want to be doesn’t mean that you’ll never get there. Keep the faith and never give up. If you fall down and have to slum it for awhile, at least slum it with pride and the unquestionable knowledge that you’re making your way there, slowly but surely. And when you finally get past that hurdle, I hope you can look back like I have and say, yeah, I totally made it. I made it through that hard stuff and came out the other side stronger and more confident.

So please accept my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have always sent good vibes my way and helped keep my spirits up when I was feeling like a failure. Thank you to those who reached out a hand to help when I asked for advice or leads. Simply, thank you. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who genuinely hope I succeed and are willing to pipe in and whisper words of encouragement when they notice I’m faltering. People like you are the reason the world goes ’round, and you help make my life meaningful. Thank you so very much. I hope I do well at returning the favor.

Cheers!

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