My First "Big Girl Job"
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It was the phone call I'd been daydreaming about for months. The one that would justify the four years I'd spent getting my undergraduate degree and—to be honest—the one I was beginning to doubt I'd ever get. When my new boss told me I'd gotten the job as marketing and social media coordinator for Ramada hotels, I just about fell over. It took all my self control not to squeal or sob into the phone; this was what I'd been waiting for. This was the light at the end of a long tunnel.
I've been in my new position for about a month now and I love it. I'm in charge of nine social media accounts so I'm always on my phone: tweeting, posting, creating posters on my computer and sending my boss emails at 11 pm when I get an idea. I remember working on In Design photos and taking a photography class in school and thinking, wow this would be cool to do in real life and get paid for it. And now I am actually doing it and actually getting paid for it. Sometimes it feels a bit surreal, especially considering last month I was counting my quarters so I could buy milk at the grocery store.
People kept telling me not to lose hope, that I was so close and the start of my career was just around the corner. But I did start to lose hope. I would lie in bed with my boyfriend at night and he'd tell me he was proud of me for persevering, that he knew I was this close and not to lose hope. But it's like Julia Roberts' character says in Pretty Woman, "The bad stuff is easier to believe." Especially when you're paying for your groceries in loose change and living in a basement.
After every interview I went on, I'd feel like a failure. I was losing more and more confidence in myself as the weeks went on. I was constantly tired even though I wasn't actually doing much of anything. I felt worthless, like I'd already failed. I'm sure this was reflected in my interviews through my pale face, shifty eye contact and fidgeting. I felt like a shell of who I used to be, the ambitious young woman with big city journalism dreams and a world of opportunity at her feet.
It's like the quote form Fay Weldon goes: "Nothing happens, nothing happens, and then everything happens." My life has changed so quickly, sometimes I can't even keep up with it. I'm moving into a new place (above ground, with windows!) and I bought my first car last weekend. I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be; I'm getting work experience and I feel like I'm accomplishing goals every day. I'm also starting to not need affirmation for everything.
But while this job has improved a lot of things in my life, it hasn't solved all of my problems. If I'm being perfectly honest, I thought it would. But I still go to sleep worrying about if I did a good enough job on a project, beating myself up for not going to the gym after work because I was too tired or because I had a beer with friends instead. I'm learning that no matter how great your life is—dream job and all—it's not always perfect. I have to focus on the good, try to brush off the bad and try not to put myself under enormous amounts of pressure (which is sometimes easier said than done).
I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this is that we're all graduating into a rough world; we were not adequately prepared for the time and extra work it might take to get our foot in the door. But it will happen. Don't give up, keep applying to jobs, keep working hard and keep getting up every time you're knocked down. Because one day, you'll get that call and all those months of struggle will have been worth it, I promise.