Feats don’t fail me now
As I alluded to on Twitter, I am currently searching for a job. Looking for new employment is positioned about as high on the fun scale as root canals and only slightly higher than dealing with a 19-month old’s night terrors. Because in order to apply to almost any job you have to have a current resume, and my resume has an solid inch-thick layer of dust on it. There’s no section in the typical resume template for things like brief stints in medical school and wrangling offspring, and yet those are the very things I have spent the majority of my time doing for the last five years.
I’ve always said that I don’t look like much on paper but give me an interview and I’ll get the job, and I still think that’s true. But a resume is so often the foot that cracks the door to an opportunity that it feels like sending my random patchwork of a skill set off to HR departments and job recruiting websites is a little like flinging a handful of sand into the wind hoping that someone will catch just one of the grains.
Any time I hunker down to fine tune my information for a particular job, I feel the demons settle heavily on my shoulders, their hot breath on my neck and spindly fingers pointed at my ineptitude. Those demons live in The Bad Place – a place where I am meek and timid and cannot imagine myself ever achieving anything of worth. In this place they call me Quitter, and show me pictures of friends five years younger than me who are lawyers, dentists, accountants, and make me jealous of other people’s successes in professions that I’ve never even wanted to have. Their derision chips away at my confidence until I am convinced there are no jobs out there for me, not even one, and I am bound to be incapable and purposeless until I’m carted off to the nursing home, brain smooth and unlined from disuse. And then those asshole demons give me a wedgie.
Once I’m able to step away from that Bad Place and take a deep breath and right my underwear, I’m pretty good about pep talking myself back up with a lot of Hey, Chin Up Old Girls and I Can Do Thisses, and I remind myself of all the myriad of times in my life when I have ventured out toward a goal, not knowing if I would sink or swim and come up swimming. I mean, shoot, I’ve navigated having my wallet stolen while traveling solo in Europe at age 21, I got the first job I interviewed for after college – with no work experience and a degree in music, and I spent my entire lunch break during the eight hour MCAT hooked up to a breast pump in a bathroom stall so that I could get into medical school – and then got into medical school. I’ve done sketch comedy in front of a live audience, I grew two children inside me and then watched them hurtle out of my body with nothing in my bloodstream but watermelon Gatorade. I got hired to write a column for a magazine just by sticking my neck out and asking, and I regularly do a week’s worth of grocery shopping pushing two small kids in a shopping cart the size of a cadillac. What I’m saying is: it seems as if I might possess a modicum of gumption, and I do believe it would behoove me muchly to take a spell and remember that now.
There is a silver lining to all this resume sending, and it is the cover letter. I’ve never been so grateful for three paragraphs before, and it’s because I am so much more than the sum of my Educational Background and Work Experience parts and also? It seems as though I feel quite at home trying to come up with just the right words to describe who I am and what I’m capable of doing. Turns out 589 navel-gazing posts on a personal blog will do that to you.
I guess I need to pitch a tent in The Good Place and stay a while so that I can write my cover letters from there. Because they are the real foot in the door for me. That’s why this is all so exhausting though, I suppose. We fight to stay in the place where we are our best selves while the silent demons ride piggyback in the shadows behind us. It’s my hope that soon they’ll lose their grip and fall away though, because I plan to have a high, straight back as I walk tall into my first interview and offer up my firm handshake and wide, open smile.