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Courtesy of Big Jones
all my life, i’ve wanted the kind of job where i could write exactly how i wanted to. when i was a teenager (before, zack likes to say jokingly, the “weight of the world crushed my spirits”) i thought that kind of life was going to be obtained through writing the great american novel. nope, i’m not kidding. i even had this ridiculous idea that instead of using a typewriter or a newfangled computer, i was going to write the whole thing by hand. not every copy, of course (even this girl has her limits), but at least the very first one. maybe i’d even make some notes in the margins about what i meant to say here, why i chose this word instead of this one. you know, to make it easy on everyone.
that was almost fifteen years ago, and i sometimes wonder where that hunger went — the drive to turn someone on with my words. as much as i love writing for a living – it’s hardly ever the writing that i’ve wanted to do. it hasn’t always been the path. the path i took to get where i am was safe. no moves out of the state for school, came back home after school because getting a job anywhere else made me anxious. i finally moved to chicago because i always knew that there HAD to be something more than the quiet, tourism-driven life i was leading. i loved that life. i still love that life. but i love this one, too.
safety breeds a lot of things – but it also breeds fear. at least, that’s how i feel about it. and now, over a year into living in chicago, i still don’t have a full-time job. part of me doesn’t even know if i want one. there’s so many opportunities – and yet, i wonder if they’re for me. one minute i know i’m cut out for this life, and the next minute i’m not so sure. i am in such turmoil about SO many things, and then i realize that my life is frickin’ amazing most of the time. i beat myself up for being 30 and not quite knowing what i want to do with my life. cover letters give me more anxiety than i remember having when my parents divorced. yet, i KNOW that i can do this. meh. i seriously want to kick fear in the ass.
i took a valuable step this weekend when i applied for an internship at a PR/social media firm that specializes in a few of the things that i’m passionate about — food, fashion, and non-profit work. it’s an unpaid internship, and believe me, this 30-year-old had to swallow her pride and submit her resume. because, here are the cold hard facts about yours truly and the city of chicago:
1) EVERY job i apply for always seems to want agency experience. there are no agencies in door county – unless you count the ones that sell insurance – so, i do not have agency experience.
2) if i do want to freelance for a living, i need to get my name out there. this will help me do it, and i’ll have digital writing samples up the wazoo.
so, now i have the internship. i’m excited, a bit nervous about the workload, but i know that this is my way of paying my dues in the city. the site i’m working on is cool and very casual, and i feel that for the first time in a long time the way i want to write might be just fine. i’ll post more information on it as i can – but in the meantime, i’m happy to have something new and exciting to look forward to. it sure beats the HELL out of the alternative.
It’s 9:07 pm, and I haven’t done a DAMN thing this evening.
I had such high hopes for tonight. On my train ride home, I had a laundry list of things I wanted to do — run 3 miles, come home, eat dinner, write the two articles that I owe to a freelance client, email a bunch of people, apply for a few jobs…
And, this is what I’ve done so far: came home, ate dinner, watched the latest episode of Big Love, looked at dresses for an upcoming wedding online, and emailed a few people.
Why is this so difficult for me lately? I wish I knew how I’ve gone from a girl who used to work 50-70 hours/week to one that works maaaaaybe 35. I get home from seven hours of work at my temp job and two hours of travel and, well, I just don’t want to do anything else. Right now, working toward my future seems too tiring — and I’m really not sure why.
Is it the weather? Last week, I felt good — and actually got stuff done. This week, it’s cold and snowy again, and my want to do things is just gone. Zack not being here during the evenings should help, but all I really want to do is watch TV and surf the web, looking at clothes and shoes that I can’t afford. I’m running a half marathon in twelve weeks and haven’t run over four miles yet. WHAT THE F IS WRONG WITH ME?
Okay, I’m done. I’m just wondering where the old Melissa went. I hope she comes back soon.
I’m also allowing myself to dream about another position with another Chicago-based non-profit. It’s a Project Manager position — which is, to be honest, what I think I truly excel at. It pays — get ready for this — mid-$50,000.
Perhaps that isn’t much to you guys, but for a girl who made a combination of $35,000 last year between three jobs, $50,000 is a TON of money. I start to think about all the things I’d actually be able to do — start saving for retirement (what??), fixing my car so that it actually has a horn and a windshield that wasn’t cracked, putting money back in my savings account, and setting up a vacation fund. The fact that it’s a non-profit position makes me even happier, because I’ve really begun to realize that non-profit work might just be in my blood. For me, marketing is all about the emotional connection, and I have to admit that I like marketing a lot better when it’s for a cause that people care about.
So..things are plugging along. It’s Zack’s birthday tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to putting away the work and the job searching and a bit of the worry tomorrow to spend the day with him and treat him to dinner at his favorite restaurant in the city (well, so far): Bistro Campagne in our neighborhood.
So, in my few short weeks engulfed in the thrilling world of job hunting, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about businesses that I would start in case this whole “real job” thing doesn’t work out. So far, I’ve come up with one, which is creating a completely legit resume/cover letter/interviewing support blog or website.
This may seem silly — after all, have you ever seen how many resume sites there are out there? The problem is, after looking at all of them, I can’t think of one site that I fully believe. Most of them are so busy trying to get you to pay a mere $299 for a resume rewrite that the don’t see the glaring problem, which is that they’re all contradicting each other. Or, they’re contradicting the advice I’ve been receiving from real people. Yes, I know — when in doubt, trust the real people. But over the last month and a half, I’ve been reading so many posts and articles and opinions about how long your resume should be, how it should work for you, how it should be this and this and this and yes, of course this that I don’t quite know what to believe anymore. No wonder I crawl into bed at 2 am, waiting for my head to implode.
And on that note….Good night. 🙂 And…GO PACK!
I’ve had to take a few days off — there’s a huge writing project that I’m working on right now (that, in true journalist/creative writing form, was actually due two days ago), and then, of course, comes the inevitable pity party that I’ve been having every five days.
I’m not saying that I am the first person that has moved away from home and has been having a difficult time with is. Most days I’m filled with so much hope and promise for my life — a life that Zack and I have been wanting for quite awhile, a life where we can grow, and make the kind of money we’re worth (I need to interject here and say that I’ve never been the type that places money on a pedestal. If I was that person, I certainly wouldn’t have worked at a series of non-profits for over six years). It’s a change that will affect our future — so why am I so DAMN impatient?
We’ve been here a month and a week. I’ve sent out four resumes, and have gotten three interviews. Am I slacking? No. Am I working as hard at it as I should be? Totally. Part of it is work that I took on before I moved — I wanted to make sure that I had money coming in while I was looking for a job, and they’ve been great projects — but of course, I find myself overwhelmed with everything. I was home for a few days last week on account of client meetings, and I wound up talking to my mom about everything that had been bothering me. With Mom’s help, I finally pinpointed what’s been going on, which is that I can’t remember the last time that I wasn’t either a) going to school and then working full-time during the summer, or b) had a full time job. It’s weird to not be working, to not have somewhere to be, to have a purpose.
I’m so scared, and I’m so hopeful. This is, to be honest, the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life — and while I feel like I prepared myself for it, at the same time, I feel like I had no idea what I was in for. I know what you’re saying to yourselves — “It’s only four and a half hours away. What are you blubbering about?.” But it’s so much more than that. Door County is home. It’s comfortable. My professional life knows nothing else. I’m so terrified of not being good enough, not getting a chance to prove myself, that I’m literally breaking under the pressure. I obsess about cover letters for resumes, to the point that I don’t even want to do them. I know this is so ridiculous, but I’m so scared. And going home to Door County to meet with clients and talk about projects isn’t helping. At home, I’m someone. I can smile at someone when I’m walking down the street. I know my way around.
Good lord, I sound so pathetic, so to clarify: I love the city. I love the potential opportunity, the fact that we have a great coffee shop a block away from our house, that I’m running again. I know, deep down, that I’ll get a job, things will be okay, and six months from now, I’ll laugh at how scary all of this seemed. But right now, I’m scared. So scared, in fact, that I often find it hard to do anything about it.