Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dear Friends

I know you mean well.

Is it possible that because I talk openly and honestly about myself that you feel like you should give advice?

I don't need it. I am great. Some set-backs have occurred. Several really. I am the broke Bridget Jones. That's fine. She was super adorable in both the book and movie.

It's nice of you to say things because you read some article that you think will help me, or because you had some friend somewhere that had a terrible experience doing something that I wanted to do.

But come on.

The facts are that maybe you didn't know me when there was less confusion and there were solid goals with achievable possibilities. Or maybe you didn't believe in what I was doing then anyway. I tried hard and it didn't work out.

And then I took on other things that I thought would help.

And then I tried to do something completely different because I believed I deserved to be successful somewhere. And then I panicked and was disappointed in the circumstances.

But I will be honest again and say that your discouragement doesn't help either. You may not realize you are discouraging but several of you say things like: "teachers don't make any money." " law school is soooo expensive." "there aren't any jobs for lawyers." "there aren't any jobs for MBAs." "there aren't any jobs for teachers." "journalism is dead." "liberals arts is for yo yos and flakes." "what's the point in more school anyway?" "you shouldn't go into that field unless you're 100% sure you want it." "I wouldn't take anything for less than X amount of money." "there are too many graphic designers now." "there aren't any jobs there aren't any jobs there aren't any jobs."

It may seem like some of these comments are helpful, but no one is ever 100% sure on a decision. There are doubts about everything. Why feed the demons that stop people from giving themselves a chance? And so what if there aren't any jobs that we are finding now? It won't always be that way. And you might have to move or really stretch the original idea out to get paid doing what you want. Or you might have to accept abysmally low pay.

And by the way, guess what else is expensive besides education? EVERYTHING. Everything is stupidly expensive from buying birth control to raising a child. From buying groceries to running a restaurant, it's all ridiculous costs. It's not a good reason to avoid doing what you want. I definitely have learned that one over time.

It's no one's fault but mine that I refuse to accept lousy circumstances for myself and have been unemployed and frustrated many times over. But I am taking chances. Sometimes they end up very bad, but someday they will be very successful. It will have been useful to go through these areas of disaster and growth.

And no, I do not want your help with my resume or LinkedIn. I have a career counselor from which I gain a lot of information. In addition, I recently went to an informational interview with an HR director who gave me opposing information from the career counselor. That would mean that you probably do not know better than I, since no one has the right answer. I think LinkedIn is unhelpful for my current circumstances anyway. This may change, but if I don't want to be an administrative professional, then why would I create a profile saying I am one?

I dare say, most of you are sitting behind a desk possibly getting a fatter ass, and just wondering what it would be like if you gave yourself the chance to do something different, or talking yourself out of it altogether. Or you are reading articles and deciding that you know a lot about a field you are not in, or have not experienced. I don't think it's fair to decide you know something about a friend's road if you haven't traveled it.

I do know people that have gained success in fields that people think are a wasted effort. A friend of mine just landed a role on a network sit com. An acquaintance opened a photography studio six years ago and is now doing better than ever. A travel friend I knew was a dancer in Riverdance. The lawyers and MBAs and teachers and small business owners that I know are doing ok, even if they do things differently from what they intended. And yes I know plenty of people unable to do what they want at all. I don't believe that anything they tried wasn't worth it.

So what is the point of putting down any field or degree or confusion or choice? The job market or the career decision might just be plain luck or good timing. Or it works out because you successfully went after something specific and didn't give up until you got it. If things didn't work out then there is plan B, C, D or whatever you end up on.

If there is anything I learned from temping at an advertising firm this year, it's that there are some incredible salaries out there for people who got their foot in the door of the right place. There are also some stupidly inflated salaries for arbitrary positions in which the value of said position could evaporate in a moment's notice.

I'm sorry to get on the defensive because I know that I whine and am easily disappointed. But it's ok to listen and relate rather than discourage. It's all going to work out anyway.

Yesterday I made an onion tart with apples on top and it turned out unbelievably disgusting. So I threw the whole thing in the garbage and laughed it off. I can make it better next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment