“What Is Wrong With Me?”

Unemployment and feeling stuck makes you think some pretty weird things. Lately, it’s been giving me a bunch of anxiety and I am not a fan. I’m usually more of a “Woe is me, everything is corrupt and the world is only getting worse” kind of a person, but this time it’s different.

I’ve had this feeling before. I feel like most people have – when you feel stagnant and like you don’t have a purpose. The world isn’t doing you any favors and you don’t seem to have much of a direction. It usually happens in between things or right before I move on to a new chapter in my life (quitting a job, ending a meaningful relationship, et cetera).

I have a lot of pent-up energy with nowhere to put it and no money to invest in anything that will give me purpose, something to do, something I could make money from. I’ve interviewed at 5 different places and some of them shot me down right off the bat because they found out my age. That’s lovely. I’m so happy people are stereotyping work ethic based on the year someone was born. It’s illegal to ask someone their age in an interview and I’ve left my graduation years off my resume for that purpose, but they’ll ask my graduation year and that’s not technically illegal. I wouldn’t want to seem like I’m hiding something.

Next time, I’m not going to give them my age or my graduation year. I’m going to calmly explain that not only is asking someone’s age in an interview illegal, but discriminating against me because of my age is unfair. It’s cost me work before. If I’m working for the right company where I am respected, given an opportunity to grow, and I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, I will stay with the company. I worked with the same company for 6 years and I loved it there. What are your concerns, employer? How can I ease those concerns?

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In regards to experience, I’ve been working since I was 14 in various industries. I have many skills. I am definitely worth a paying job and worth at least $20/hr and $40,000/year. I should not find entry-level positions requiring a college degree offering any less. You can ask anyone I’ve worked for – I’m hella reliable. People call me the “smart one” or the “creative one.” I do cool stuff and I’m always trying to make a workplace function better. I’m pragmatic. Hire me, Jesus!

Do I sound like an asshole boasting about my skills? I’m just exasperated. This economy is ridiculous. It should not be this hard to find a decent paying job, especially for someone with 10 years of experience who excelled at managing different projects. I was the President of my college Honor Society, dammit. Does that mean nothing? Apparently yes.

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I’m afraid I won’t be able to get a job a year from now because there will be nothing on my resume but minimum wage jobs working at a grocery store because I couldn’t find anything else. “But you don’t have any experience.” Yeah, I couldn’t even get my foot in the door.

I’ve considered going back to LA and working in my previous industry, freelancing in TV at 12hrs/day. You would think it’s hard getting in (and it is), but it’s really hard to get out. I feel like people look at my résumé and they don’t understand it. No one knows what production jobs entail – that it’s a lot of office work and planning and being good on the phone and being detail-oriented and in general being on top of things. It’s a really hard job and I was really good at it. I worked like crazy and I feel like recruiters think it’s just a “fun” job in a “fun” industry. Not many people have even asked what a production coordinator does and I know they have no idea. Another question I should ask:

“Would you like me to define my résumé for you? I know a lot of people don’t understand what a film industry job is like, unless you’ve worked in it yourself, of course?”

A second option is getting a TEFL certification and flying out to Japan or Thailand, teaching kids how to speak English. I need at least $1000 for that… and a few more to fly out there. Plus, it’s usually a year commitment living in a completely different world. It’s not exactly what I want to do, but I’d probably like it. Kids, adventure, and grammar are three of my favorite subjects.

Until I bite the bullet and “give up” by doing one of those two things, I’m going to keep applying to jobs like a fool. I’ve applied to hundreds. After using SEO keywords to revamp my résumé (they’re scanned by computers now – yep), I’ve had better responses.

I just want to be able to own a house someday. That would be really nice. I’ve daydreamed about having my own place and painting it, decorating it the way I want to with Bohemian furniture, flowy curtains, and industrial metal cabinets everywhere. I want huge windows and a greenhouse. I want bright-colored walls and a ropes course in the backyard. The dream isn’t helping my current situation.

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Unless I’m building it on someone else’s land illegally with scrap parts I found and gathered over time, owning a house in my lifetime seems like a pipe dream. Oh well. Maybe I’ll get Canadian citizenship someday and cruise on over, covered in job offers. Maybe I’ll marry into wealth and own three houses, plus a yacht, but really just pretend to because s/he paid for everything, not me. Maybe the economy will change and maybe my luck will turn around.

WHO the fuck KNOWS? Until then, I am anxiety attacks galore. I am cheating on my diet eating ice cream and hiking 10 miles with the dog to forget about my problems for a little while. Only time will tell my fate.


Photo Credit: Chelsea DeMott

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