When Only The Ugly Boy Asks You Out*

This past Monday I went for an interview to be a Crisis Intervention Worker at a woman’s shelter just outside of Lethbridge. I have experience in working with abused women so I thought that it might be a good fit for me. I show up to the interview and it looked nice enough from the outside, but then I entered. My nostrils were assaulted by the smell of urine and general uncleanliness. Turns out the smell was cat spray and general uncleanliness. I knew instantly from that smell that I really didn’t want to work there, but what was I going to do, run away? I entered the office and saw a cat bed and further knew that with my severe cat allergies that it wouldn’t work out. I politely finished the interview and then told her about my allergies and that if the cat was there I wouldn’t be. I don’t feel that it was a bad thing to go through the interview, in fact I think it was really good practice and a learning experience. I learned that when someone asks you what your weakness is you probably shouldn’t say “tact” as that would be a very bad quality not to have as a counselor. The most important thing I learned is to trust my instincts. I knew walking up to the building, before I was assaulted by the smell, that I didn’t want to work there. Even so, if there had not been the convenient allergy excuse to get out of there I don’t know whether or not I would have taken a job there. I really didn’t want to, but I wanted a job. However, going  through that interview I realized that I deserve and am worth more then working at a job that smells like piss. I think that when we’re job hunting for so long and money gets tight we tend to think that we just need to get a job doing whatever just to pay the bills. And in some cases that’s true. There may come a time when I need money desperately and I’ll have to go work at Blockbuster. But until then I don’t think I need to let fear drive me into working in some dump when I know it’s not what I want or what I deserve.

As I’ve mentioned before I am reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. She talks in her book about how people overeat because they have this fear and panic that there won’t be enough food for them and that they’re not worth enough to get everything they want. When I was reading this I found it so relatable to my situation with work. I’ve actually been offered four jobs so far, and the job at the woman’s shelter isn’t one of them. I have been offered four jobs back  in Prince Albert, SK where I am originally from to work as an addictions counselor, community outreach worker in two places, and a school counselor. When I kept getting these offers I must say I was very tempted. It’s like when an ugly boy (and lets be clear that I mean ugly body and soul) asks you on a date and your self esteem is so low you think that maybe I should just go on the date and the worst that could happen is I get a free meal. That is unless he’s one of those losers that want to “join forces” on the check. And lets face it, if an ugly boy asks you out he’ll likely have less dating experience and is all the more prone to try something like that. I feel like right now my job self esteem is pretty low because I don’t have that purpose that comes from working and getting up and contributing to something everyday. I think that self esteem in both work and dating plays into the same fear, the fear that Geneen talks about, that we don’t believe that we are worth enough to get everything we want in life. When I got offered those jobs in Prince Albert I knew that I didn’t want to take them because I don’t want to leave Lethbridge. But I still found myself trying to be convinced that I could go to Prince Albert and it would be alright. All because I am afraid that I am not good enough to get everything that I want in life. That I deserve to live where I want, be with the people I want, and have a job that I want. In my experience life always involves sacrifice and hard choices, one or the other. But that was in the past and I don’t need to be afraid that what happened in the past will always be my present and future. I find it funny that I have decidedly said for a long time now that I will never settle when it comes to love. That is why I never say yes to the ugly boy and that is why I have been single for the past three years. And while I don’t want to be unemployed for the next three years, I know that I won’t settle for an ugly job.

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Like the Bad First Date That Won’t End*

So guess who still doesn’t have a job?… Surprise it’s me. However, I have had some improvement since last week. I went on an interview this week and have another two next week. I haven’t had an interview in a long time and I haven’t had a first date in probably the same amount of time, but I find it funny how similar first dates and interviews are. There’s the at home panic to get ready and look just right so the other person is impressed, including the right outfit, hair and makeup. Then you practice conversation in your head of all the right things to say once your in there and all the things to definitely not say. Finally, there is the time when you actually have to sit down and face the other person. In the case of my interview this week he was a young, attractive man, so it felt alarmingly similar to a date. You sit down and hope that they keep the conversation going because at this point if the conversation relied on you there will not be a second date/interview. And I know that I’m not crazy on this. I have talked to enough girlfriends to know that this first date panic happens to a majority of women out there. In my case in particular I think that for a date and interview my problem comes from being selfish. That may sound weird, but I’ll explain. Someone brilliant once told me that the most selfish thing that you can do in any given moment is worry about yourself. They didn’t mean worrying about serious problems that actually need our attention. They meant that when we are so consumed with worrying about ourselves, what we’re saying, if we look okay, if we look fat in the dress we’re wearing, that we’re not being in the moment with the other person or even engaged in whats happening. Paying attention to all the little things that could be wrong with us or the flaws that the other may or may not notice is inherently selfish. I know I do this all the time even still and especially on dates or interviews. I get worried about saying the right thing that sometimes I don’t even hear the question.

I’m reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth right now and it’s so good everyone should really read it. In the book Geneen talks about “The Voice” which is essentially what I’ve been talking about with the selfishness thing. The Voice is the inner critic (often modeled after prominent authority figures in our life) that tells us that we don’t look okay, or we’re fat,  or what we just said was stupid and no way will you get a call back. And in my case, The Voice says all these things to me and then it keeps getting reaffirmed when I don’t get a call back or a second date. Another key thing that I have learned from Geneen is that when we grow up and are taught that people are valued not for who they are but for their accomplishments then you will learn to value what you do more than who you are. Then when you do not meet the criteria for accomplishments, The Voice steps in and tells you how worthless you are and you’re not good enough. This has honestly been a struggle for me, especially going through a time where I feel like I don’t have an answer to societies number one question of “what do you do?” Because for the last 17 years of my life my answer has been “I am a student.” Easy. And now my answer is either “I just graduated” or “I’m currently looking for employment” or how I really feel that “I’m unemployed.” None of those feel like good enough answers. However, I’m learning that I need to cut myself a break. I have worked hard for 5 years to get my degree and now I get a vacation and I’m not even enjoying it. I can do anything or be anything I want right now and that should be liberating, not horrifying. And while the answer to the “what do you do question?” may not seem good enough for some people, I am still enough. I’m realizing that my journey is just beginning and that’s the most exciting place in the world to be.

Who Knew Job Hunting and Dating Were So Alike?*

So I have been deep in the job hunt for over a week now and I haven’t even got a call back. I think finding a job is seriously an endless series of rejections. I think that middle aged people who have been sitting comfortably in their position for too long have forgotten how hard it can be to go out and look for a job. I really believe that it would feel better to get a phone call or email from a prospective employer telling me that I’m not what they’re looking for. Instead I have to just assume that I’ve been rejected based on a lack of response. It’s like giving a guy your phone number and he doesn’t call you back (and we all know how shitty that feels) or even worse it’s like those assholes that don’t tell you they don’t want to date you anymore they just start dating your friend. As if them moving on counts as a break up call. Carrie got off easy with a post-it, cause at least Burger told her some how it was over. But really, looking for a job sucks. And it’s especially bad when you have a degree in Sociology and a diploma in Addictions Counseling. I have never worked so hard to try to find ways that my education and job experience qualifies me to do jobs like be an Executive Assistant, Human Resources, Customer Service Rep, etc. And I don’t even know if I want to do any of those jobs, but I just keep getting poorer and poorer and more and more bored so I apply for them and then get rejected anyway. At this point it’s feeling like a waste of time to even apply for those kinds of jobs, but when you have no clue what you want to do then what else would I apply for? I’ve heard people say to make a list of the top 10 companies in your town that you want to work for and then focus on finding a way into working for them. That would be great advise if I had a clue what I wanted. At this point I think I just want a job in anything and then I’ll be able to figure out if I like that field of work or not. Best case scenario I love it and have a direction, worst case I know something else I don’t like doing and get some money and experience out of the deal. Am I selling this as a reasonably good strategy?

From the Beginning*

I think that being a student is the easiest gig in the world…Seriously. All we have to do is write a few papers, tests, and show up for class if we feel like it. The hardest thing I faced in University was figuring out what to do with all my free time that wouldn’t get me into trouble. In no other area of life could you just not show up because you didn’t feel like it. Even in High School where they took your attendance and you kind of had to go to school it was still so easy. I could hand in almost anything to my teachers and they would give me an A just because I had a good reputation. Now that that part of my life is over I almost feel as though I should have enjoyed it more. We rush through the stages of life so much always trying to get to the next place that we miss the moment and don’t enjoy it for what it is. I was in University for five years getting a diploma in Addictions Counseling and a B.A. in Sociology and for the last two years of my school I just couldn’t wait to be done. I hated going to school and doing homework, so I almost never went to class this last year. I still did fine grades wise, but I feel like I missed out on the fundamental college experience of making friends that last a lifetime and having stories to tell the kids. I thought that once I was done school that it would be so easy to find a job and I’d be so much more free to do what I want. Turns out that they don’t teach you in University that you’ll likely graduate not having a clue what you want or how to figure it out. They teach you how to write a good resume and cover letter to get the job of your dreams, but how does that help when you have no idea what the job of your dreams is? (Besides being the creative director for Vogue or being Rachel Zoe). I feel like I wanted out of school so bad because I thought that if I had my degree then everything would just fall into place. And that does happen for some people. But I think that thinking is like how Geneen Roth says overweight people view being thin. They think, “if only I had smaller thighs” or “If only I looked like Gisele” then they would be happy. But that’s not what happens. If you’re incapable of loving yourself overweight then losing the weight won’t help. It’s the same thing with thinking that finishing school will result in my happiness. The real struggle is finding my happiness where ever I am in life and taking in each moment so that life doesn’t pass me by.

So this is where I’m starting on my journey. And it’s going to be a long road I’m sure, but one I am eager to walk.

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