I’m going to share with you the moment. The moment that no one talks about. The moment that college professors should be counseling their students on now just to prepare them for. The moment that will knock every last ounce of air right out of you before you can even try to take your next breath.
The moment in unemployment where you’re convinced you’ve officially become a failure.
The moment in unemployment where you start to think of the other jobs you’d settle for.
Here is my moment.
With my grocery list in hand and my sunglasses propped on top of my head I set out on this beautiful fall day to get some things done. I’ve spent the morning poured over my laptop doing the daily search at those companies that I’d get payed pennies just to work at. My first stop is Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up a hand soap pump for our bathroom. We finally got that lovely 20% coupon in the mail and I’m excited to have our toothbrush holder and soap dispenser match. Taking in every last glorious rust color leaf as I walk into BB&B I notice a “Now Hiring” sign on the side pane of those smudge-filled sliding glass doors. Before I could even push the thought aside I could hear myself saying, I should ask for an application. I almost stopped dead in my tracks. Not to downplay the people who work these retail jobs (I was one of them through high school and some of college, and sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet) but I’ve worked for more than that. I have a diploma with my name on it. I worked my butt off for four years of college. Hundreds of hours were spent with my nose in a book. Dozens of highlighters ran dry as I threw myself into every last assignment. Enough notecards were used to fill a Bed Bath & Beyond. Tears shed through the stress of approaching due dates. Hitting refresh on my final grades until my eyes finally believed I’d made straight A’s. None of these things qualify me for a job behind a counter. With tear-filled eyes I numbly navigated my way through the store, purchased my soap pump and got out of there before they could even ask if I wanted the receipt in the bag.
I sent a text to my sister saying this…
“I need an intervention.. or a job.. I just considered asking for an application at bed bath and beyond.”
Like me, she went through a period of unemployment. I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing that. First of all because she did eventually land a fantastic job and is only getting more successful by the day. Secondly, because I think she found out a lot about her character through her unemployment. She’s been through the moment and came out the other side a better version of herself, one who ran a marathon. Her suggestion and her personal method for surviving this black hole that is unemployment is to focus on a hobby. Finding a job cannot be what my day revolves around.
So instead of driving around to finish my errands crying my eyes out like I so desperately wanted to, I came back home, put on some worship music to center my heart, and started writing. Because this is my hobby. Writing is what makes me feel better. I can pull every last emotion out of my heart, effortlessly let it flow through my fingertips and let it resonate here on this screen. This is my hobby and if somebody, anybody, would hire me as a copywriter I could turn it into my living as well. But until then, I’ll let the words come from my heart, as defeated as it may currently feel.
They don’t teach you about perseverance and self-confidence in college. They don’t teach you to love yourself enough to never settle for something that you could have had before the four years of 8 am classes and midnight cups of coffee. They seriously neglect to prepare you for the moment that you feel like a first class loser.
I kind of believe you should never say you’ve hit rock bottom, because inevitably things will just get worse, but I’ll say things look pretty dark down here where I am. I’m trying really hard to keep my eyes focused on that small bit of light though, and if someone throws a rope down to me to help me up that would be fantastic (this is where you tell all those charlotte-based advertising/communications people about a girl named Kelly) but until that happens I’m gonna take just a moment here alone (although I’m of course not even close to alone, I do believe I have a bit over 7% of the country down here with me) and I’m going to try to give myself a little pep talk. You know.. don’t settle for less than you believe you deserve, hold out hope that something unexpected will happen, maybe even a bit of slow and steady wins the race, to ease my mind of concentrating on just how long I’ve been this version of my unemployed self.
I’m declaring this pity party over… well.. I’m gonna give it the rest of the day, but I’ve officially had the moment, and tomorrow I won’t even let myself think that I’m anything less than fan-freaking-tastic, and I might stop interjecting freaking into words to get my point across, I’ve got to start speaking like a working-girl if I ever plan to be one. ;]