Earlier this week, the guy I'm dating (who has somehow managed to escape any sort of clever nickname thus far) was getting dressed for work, and telling me about a meeting he was having with someone important at the office about potential job opportunities for him. I told him how sure I was that it was going to go well. After all, he's smart, and motivated, and reliable, and confident, he has all the tools to succeed. I kissed him goodbye and sent him off, wishing him well again, but in the back of my mind, I didn't believe what I was saying.
I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say, but it has nothing to do with him. He really is great. But unfortunately, that's not good enough anymore. I don't know if it ever was good enough to begin with, but I was raised to believe it was.
I was raised on ideals. I was raised on Disney movies that said when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, you can get what you want. You know, "no request is too extreme", and all that fun stuff. I was taught that if I set my mind to it, I could be anything I wanted to be. I was taught that if I worked hard, I could achieve my goals. I was told I was special and unique, and that working hard was enough.
That's a really nice thought when you're a kid, but now that I'm older, it pretty much just sucks. Because it's not true. It's as much about who you know, what you have handed to you, and luck as it is about hard work or talent. Out in the real world, no one cares what my GPA was, or that I graduated early. No one cares what awards I got in school, or what clubs I participated in. My SAT scores are more irrelevant than a walkman. Nothing I worked hard at actually matters. And it's frustrating, because I'm a smart, motivated, enthusiastic person who can't get her foot in the door because my resume doesn't have the only thing people care about - experience.
I mean, sure. I have experience. I have a 2 page resume chock full of education, jobs, activities, and references. I've been in the work force for 6 years now. I've got plenty of experience. But it's not experience that is necessarily specific to many of the jobs I'm trying to get. My guy expressed a similar frustration. He said that people look at his resume and immediately write him off because he's trying to break into a new area that he hasn't worked in. Unfortunately, his logic on how to deal with it doesn't seem to have a good enough answer: "I can either spend half the interview defending my resume and experience, or I can just try to show them why they should give me a chance, because I know I can do it." I find that I have a similar problem - in interviews, I realize that people know very little about what any of the jobs on my resume actually entail. I have to spend the whole time explaining everything I used to do, or I risk them misconstruing it. And the whole time, I'm just thinking "I'm a hard worker. I'm smart. That was supposed to be good enough."
It's a frustrating place to be in, and I'm not exactly sure what to do about it except keep trying. But I can't help feeling like I'm wasting so much of my time and potential. I can do these jobs, all I need is to get one foot in the door.
"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." -Tyler Durden, Fight Club