I am now a living cliché

I’ve mentioned before that I sold my soul to the on-campus food service company. It was kind of a last-resort deal, with the benefits being that I made money and…that was kind of it. The pay came bi-weekly, which was extremely unhelpful, and in general I smelled like macaroni and cheese on any given Sunday. You might think that’s a good thing, but after long enough, I promise it’s not.

Then, in a wild twist of fate, my card got declined at a local coffee shop. To most, this would be horrifically embarrassing (it was, at first), but it also led to kind of a great opportunity for me.

When my card got declined, the manager of the coffee place glanced at it to make sure she’d swiped it correctly and whatnot. Then she recognized my name from an application I’d sent in weeks before.

“Are you still looking for a job?” she asked, and I kind of looked at her like she was insane.

“My card just got declined…yes, I’m still looking for a job.”

“I’d like you to come in for an interview on Monday, if you’d like.”

UM, HELL YES.

So, oddly enough, my lack of money was financially fortuitous for me. Life is so damn weird.

I interviewed, got the job, and quit the misery that was on-campus food service. However, I am now an English major working as a barista in an independent coffee shop. Could I be any more cliché?

Honestly, I really like the job. It’s fast-paced and I can make insanely good coffee for myself now (granted, only if I bought a $1,000+ espresso machine). I also make tips, so making minimum wage isn’t a problem. I use my tips as spending money and put almost my entire paycheck into savings. It’s actually a good system, and it keeps me saving money for future adventures and adult endeavors.

Having worked in retail my entire young adult life, I didn’t know how amazing it was to make tips. I loved my clothing store job, but it did not pay well enough for me to make some semblance of a living. Now, with my very kind parents paying for groceries still, I have enough of a slight income to take care of myself in every other way.

Not to mention, this coffee place is all of seven steps from my house at school. I don’t even have to pay gas money to get there! My paycheck goes 100% (minus taxes) to me.

The job is demanding, but that also means I’m never bored. I’ve learned a butt-ton of skills in my two weeks there, and it’s nice to feel like I’m contributing to the town. I’ve loved living here, and I’ll miss it when I graduate in May.

I’m also learning skills that could help me when I graduate job-less and useless except for reading quickly. Now, I can make coffee too! What a blessing.

All in all, at least my card doesn’t get declined anymore, and my shoes aren’t covered in mac and cheese.

the interview.

I have a real interview scheduled for tomorrow. In person. Live people. I’m driving over four hours to get home so I can do it on Wednesday. During my phone screening, the woman asked if I wanted to interview for two other positions, as well. She said I seemed far too qualified for the first and that the other two might fit me better. Then, crazy lady, she asked if that was “alright?”

Of. Freaking. Course.

Did she expect me to say no? “No, thank you, but I’d only like to have one single chance at a job after you’ve pretty much told me you won’t hire me for it because I have too much experience”. Could you imagine?

And that’s the other thing. This may be the first time in my life that someone has said I have “too much” previous experience to do anything. I’m usually stuck convincing someone that I can do the job while learning on-the-go. Or that I can even learn the job.

I was ecstatic when she told me there were other openings where I would fit. I’ve sent in over thirty applications for jobs and internships, hoping to the damn skies that they’ll at least interview me over the phone. And in the span of about ten minutes, this woman offers me the chance to personally convince her I have skills. I find that once I can meet someone in person, I’m very good at turning it into a done deal. The worst situation is if the company only wants my resume, no cover letter or personal statement. My skills don’t translate into only a few words. I need time, I need to convey my tone of voice to the person.

The fact that she even had to ask me if I was okay with interviewing for other positions within the company really makes me think I’ve tricked her. “Yes, I am a skilled human. You want me.” I’m crafty like that. I’m just hoping I can convince one out of three to give me a chance once they read through that resume and say “…I’ve seen better”. Maybe Better didn’t apply for these jobs? Maybe Better already has a job and is going to go ahead and give me this one so I don’t wake up at 5:30am stressing?

Basically, yes, you can sign me up to interview for more positions.

Until then, please enjoy this humorous stock photo I found that oddly depicts me:

Image result for interview stock image

10 things about me.

This past week of blogging has been pretty fun, actually, and I didn’t expect to enjoy getting out my thoughts this much. It’s become almost part of my morning routine that I wake up and write, which can only be useful for an English major. It’s cathartic for me. I constantly have thousands of thoughts bouncing in my head, battling for dominance and each one fails. As an INTJ (Meyers Briggs people out there, hello!) my thoughts are often hard to collect into one understandable string for others, and this seems to be good practice for being clearer. Also, I get to just talk about how much I love books to people who seem to be on the same page!

I’m definitely going to continue, so I figured it might be good to remind whoever reads this that there is, in fact, a real, live human behind this screen. Not sure why…could I have run out of ideas already? Hush.

  1. I just stated it, but I score as an INTJ on the Meyers Briggs test.

This means I’m “the coldest human” to many people, but mostly it just means I have pretty reliable intuition and I value logic above most things. Also, I suck at feelings. But who needs those?

  1. I’m 21…

Though you might’ve figured that out by the frantic job search that I’m doing for after I graduate. The panic usually sets in around 3am and lasts for the foreseeable future.

  1. My dream job is to be a book editor.

Any kind of book, any genre, anything. I just want to work with books every day. I always joked with my parents that my perfect job would be one in which I’m paid to read. Book editor seems closest.

  1. I started as a pre-law student.

From senior year of high school to the summer before my senior year of college, I was pursuing a career in the law. All of my internships and extracurricular up to that point had been focused on things that would get me into law school. Hence the feeling of unpreparedness. Which I’ve been told by my advisor is actually a little unfounded because all of my law internships involved writing and editing, just exclusively law information.

  1. My favorite book right now is…none of them.

I find it physically and emotionally impossible to pick a favorite book. They’re like my babies. But I do have several that I almost always go back to, including Harry Potter, The Night Circus, Wuthering HeightsFrankenstein, and The Fault in Our Stars (as someone who’s family is cancer-tastic, that book is required reading during every crisis for comfort). There are also a few books that have really made an impact on me recently that stick in my head, such as Fates and Furies and Hausfrau. Fantastic books that I would highly recommend.

Image result for harry potter books Image result for night circus

  1. I have depression.

It’s something I’ve been struggling with since I was thirteen, so I’m pretty used to it by now. Personally, it comes in waves for me, where I could be fine for several months and then I have a month where it’s hard to even move. I’ve been on medication for it since I was about fifteen, on and off, and it’s helped immensely with the whole functioning thing, but depression still affects me every day.

  1. I’d like to move to New York City.

Image result for new york city stock photos

Like every up-and-coming recent grad, my plan is to get a job in NYC and live there for several years. Logically, I figure it’s the best place to get into the publishing industry, and NYC seems to be the place that it’s still somewhat relevant as a career path.

  1. I love BookTube.

In case you didn’t know, there’s a section of YouTube known to those who adore it as “BookTube”. In this magical place, people discuss books, unbox book subscriptions (like in this post), and generally make all sorts of book-related content. Some of the more well-known people I always watch the videos of are PeruseProject and booksandquills, who also branch out into other content in case you like a little variety.

  1. I’ve had a Renaissance of my love of reading.

I honestly felt a little burned out from my English major after a couple of years—taking about three English classes each semester adds up to a lot of reading you don’t pick yourself. It was fascinating, but it left very little energy for reading books for fun. After my semester abroad, however, I came home refreshed and ready to consume any book I could get my greedy paws on.

  1. My best friend in the entire world often asks herself “What Would Jane Do?”

Image result for jane eyre

This is not a fact about me, exactly, but I am not an interesting enough person to have ten facts about myself. Move on. My friend does this because she was so impressed by Jane Eyre’s independence and strength in, you guessed it, Jane Eyre. When she told me this, I kind of tried to adopt the outlook because it seemed like one that could lead to self-fulfillment. Will update you when I have reached nirvana.

nervous nervous nervous.

Pre-Interview:

I don’t know if you can tell, it’s pretty subtle, but I’m a bit on edge. I’m 18 minutes away from my first phone interview/screening and I kind of want to projectile vomit. At the same time, I just want to get it over with. The waiting is absolute agony.

I’ve decided I’m going to do this post in two parts. One before the interview that’s mean to get my thoughts out of my head so this poor woman doesn’t have to listen to me ramble, and the other as a sort of reflection piece after. I figure if I mess it up, someone else can at least benefit from seeing how and why and avoiding exactly that. Oh goodness, I’m nervous.

I’m not particularly into the job, it’s just the first time a job interview has mattered so much in the scheme of things. It’d be nice to know I had options when I graduate, although I know if something more editorial assistant-like was offered, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give this preliminary interview everything I have.

To prepare, I’ve been to the company’s website, read their manifesto and mission statement, and done some research into what other people are saying about them (past employees, current employees, competition, etc.). Seems like a pretty good place to work, and it’s not too far from my family home, so the adjustment from college to real life would be a little less jarring. I could go home for Sunday dinners, just like my mom wants.

At the same time, though, I think I might need change that’s a little bit more drastic to mark the transition. I’m also not entirely sure what that means right now, but there. I’ve said it.

Later:

She missed the call-time. Isn’t that so funny? I was awake two hours earlier than I had to be because I wanted to prepare. I wanted to ace this, my first interview for my future. I wanted to blow her away with how organized and ready I was. Some part of me even hoped she’d offer me the job right away. I’m just that impressive.

No. Instead, I stared at the phone for thirty minutes and had to get ready in a whirlwind for class because I’d spent the entire morning anxiously awaiting a phone call that didn’t come until an hour later than it was supposed to while I was in class. I couldn’t even answer because I was leading a discussion about the submissions to the literary journal we work on as a class.

It’s possibly the most dejected I’ve felt in a couple of weeks (which is actually a great sign for my mental health).

I spent the morning feeling sorry for myself and forgotten, which was incredibly overdramatic. And, even worse, it was unproductive. I was distracted from what is basically my job right now, and felt unprepared to show my professor I what I’d been working on. It was just a shit way to exist for several hours.

Then I stopped myself (meds are amazing in that they give you control over your brain. Wild concept, I’m aware). It wasn’t helping me at all to get angry at this woman, who probably just wrote it in her calendar incorrectly. Feeling dejected wasn’t going to help me get a job, and in fact would probably be counterproductive. I reminded myself that I had, honestly, not even been that excited for this particular job. It’s not exactly in the field I’m trying to get my foot into. So why was I so upset.

My pride. I’d been vain enough to think that I was so important, that this woman was definitely interviewing me and maybe six other people for the position, but leaning heavily towards me. Which is ridiculous, because that’s just not how the hiring process works.

I’m competing with everyone from my graduating class across the country (and, often, outside of it), as well as the ever-growing number of people from previous years who still don’t have employment.

If I want to make it in the publishing world, or any field, I need to get a tougher skin. Each rejection letter is not a personal slight, and each forgotten or missed opportunity is not the end of the world as we know it. At least…I hope not.

6:12am

As “The Search” continues, I find myself waking up at 5am every day and immediately pulling open my laptop to begin applying to jobs. Today, the lucky receivers of my pleas for employment included Hachette, Harvard Business Publishing, and what feels like hundreds of others. Each was for an internship, which is apparently all I’m useful for at the moment.

I spoke with a woman from my college who had graduated and gone on to work at a publishing agency. She was incredibly honest about my chances of getting a full-time position without any internship experience (slim to none). Not only that, but she guessed I probably wouldn’t be able to get any of the paid internships until I’d had a couple of the unpaid. So what I’ve learned this week is that I a) will be poor for at least a decade and b) am of little to no monetary value to companies. It’s just so inspiring!

Anyway, I’ve focused my job search a little more, mainly applying to internships in larger cities, now. I am doing a phone screening for a Broadcast Editor position tomorrow, and then a position at Yelp on Wednesday. Prospects, but I’ve also contacted my old manager at American Eagle to tell her to expect me for the summer. Gotta have backup plans for your backup plans. At least, I do.

I can’t explain it, but despite all the setbacks and general let downs, I can’t give up on this. I love books (are they perhaps all I love? No comment), and I want nothing more than to work with them permanently. I got a late start because I let others tell me it was a dying industry, with no jobs available and very little chance of jobs in the future. No more. People continue to say: “publishing? Really?”

And to them I respond: “hell yes”.

My dream job is to be an editor, and I’d so much rather enjoy it than make oodles and oodles of money while hating the job. That just isn’t worth it to me. For instance, I could’ve become a teacher—as everyone who hears I’m an English major assumes—but that is aggressively not for me. Teaching has never even been an option. My plans have always been outside that, because I’m pretty sure I would hate every moment. It’s not that I don’t respect teachers, or the work that they do. I’m just positive I would be terrible at it. Teaching shouldn’t be your backup, not when education matters so much right now.

Some of my English teachers are the reason I love books so much, though that did start around three years old. You can also trace my obsession back to my mother, who read to me and my sister every night before bed. I mean every. Single. Night.

Yet another inspiration? Books like Toot & Puddle, a children’s book about two pigs, one of whom loves travel and the other who is perfectly content at home. As someone who is constantly afflicted with wanderlust, that book understood me from a young age. It was like (and this sounds silly, but screw it) Toot and Puddle were the two parts of me. On the one hand, all I want to do is see new places and absorb new ideas. It’s one of the reasons I studied abroad in the fall of 2016. I’d been itching for adventure and information that I could only have gotten from that study abroad experience. But at the same time, I love my family and my home. I enjoy every break I have from school because I like the familiar as much as I like the new. I like the boring and mundane as much as I like the exciting. There’s a time for everything and every feeling, and those two pigs pretty much taught me that. And it’s always okay to come home when you need it.

the job search.

Here I go, delving into the world of blogging. It might be mostly because my friends are sick of hearing me complaining as I apply to any and every job I am even remotely qualified for. The internet wouldn’t judge me like they do, right?

Have you heard the one where the recent college graduate whines that every position somehow wants 1-3 years of experience while still calling the position “entry level”? Of course you have, because almost every new job-seeker has the same issue. I just want a place to start my career, and nobody seems to want to give me that.

It is not helpful that all my internships throughout undergrad were in the law. You might ask why, and I might answer “because-sometimes-you’re-convinced-you’re-going-to-go-into-one-field-and-then-you-realize-you-actually-kind-of-hate-it-and-you-want-to-go-into-publishing”…or the answer might be different, I don’t know.

I’ll be honest, I’m blogging right now because jobs want portfolios, and they want a web presence. I’ve actually specifically tried to keep myself off the web (for stalker-concerned reasons) but if this is what the jobs want, this is what they’ll get. The difficulty is in writing to nobody, when as an undergrad English student I’ve always had a very specific audience in mind with each paper I’ve written. Basically the industry’s thought is that you love to write so much you just CAN’T CONTAIN IT so you MUST WRITE.

I find it curious though, because the part of the publishing industry I want to be part of (editorial) edits other people’s work. So why on earth do they care about what I have to say? Anything I feel compelled to share, I can share through book or movie reviews. You know, criticizing someone else’s hard, creative work. The good life. So I’m not sure what this “blog” will turn into. Maybe it’ll have reviews? Maybe it’ll have job rants? Maybe I’ll get into listicles to gain an audience and sell my soul? Who knows! The world is my oyster and whatnot.

I’m a bit of a pessimist, in case you couldn’t tell (who even are you?). All I can say definitively is that I currently work at my college’s food service company and I’m very sure I don’t want to do that for the rest of my days.

I guess this is a weird plea to let me prove myself. I love reading, I love books, I love the culture surrounding it but I’m a little late to the party. That doesn’t mean I don’t really appreciate the party and want to invest everything into the party! The party is just kind of exclusive and intimidating, and I don’t have any friends there, and when I knocked on the door to come in I received a punch in the gut.

We’ll see.

P.S. I’ve just gone to publish this and realized that I already had a WordPress blog. News to me. Apparently I needed to rant as a youngin about my abundant different-ness. Now I just know I’m an INTJ (shoutout to Meyers Briggs for letting me know what I’m weird). I’ve made some changes (because it was terrible) and hopefully now people’s eyes will not burn out of their heads from the ugly. I can only hope.

Also, definitely not pre-Med anymore (I did dream) but most of the other shared information is still correct.