Who here is applying for jobs? Doesn't it seem so FUTILE? Submitting tailored cover letters to companies that keep posting advertisements and then ignoring the responses; filling in your information on website forms even though you already submitted your resume with all that information; taking baseless assessments on job listing sites to better your chances at... not being contacted?
And that's just the regular rigmarole. We're job searching in a friggin' pandemic! It's demoralizing, honestly. After a handful of sincere job applications with beautifully formatted cover letter attachments, each specific to the job I was applying for, I realized how pointless it all felt. I started typing cover letters off the cuff in the little text box provided on the websites. Allowing my fed-upedness to shine through, signing off two-sentence CLs with, "I don't like wasting time, mine or yours, so I'll leave it at that."
I figured, maybe someone out there likes to cut through BS, too, and they'll contact me and offer me a job and then my encompassing dread about finances, health, the future, insecurity, depression and general misery will disappear. After applying to a handful of legal assistant, office manager, data entry, document formatting or whatever the F administrative jobs; I realized that the only reason I was continuing to do so was to avoid those above-listed dreadful feelings. There was nothing positive about the process, nothing exciting, no ideas of fulfillment or achievement. It was all, "If I have a full time job I'll have security in my life and therefore won't have dread or fear." What a life.
Eventually, I found a listing for a full-time, with benefits (!) art gallery assistant position with a small gallery in an ideal location. There’s that gold all those people came to California for! I applied immediately but without much attention or effort, thinking “this is too good to be true”-type thoughts and fully believing I’d submit my application and never hear about it again. Lo! What wondrous event ere I was contacted the next day by a super friendly woman who was easy to chat with over the phone and even had a similar background story to mine, having moved from the DC area to CA years before. My in-person interview was scheduled for the next day. I was feeling excited, hopeful. I went for a test drive in Kyle’s giant sedan to make sure I was comfortable driving again (I haven’t had a car or driven regularly in 6 years); no problemo. Printed out a couple copies of my resume with supplemental information about my art-related experience I hadn’t bothered to include in my application, hopped in the car and headed to my interview.
Just kidding, I made Kyle drive me because I was NERVOUS.
But the interview went great. I had an answer to all the questions, I was able to relate to the owner and found her to be inspiring and someone I would get along with. They asked if I would be able to come in the next day for a trial day, paid, to make sure we all fit together well. Of course! Awesome! How exciting! Once I prove to them how great I’ll be at this job, it’ll be a sure thing and I’ll lose the dread and fear and guilt and anxiety and all that!
Well. Imagine my surprise when upon waking the next day, I felt all that same dread and fear and guilt and anxiety. I passed it off as jitters, put on the outfit I’d picked the day before, hopped in the car and drove off (for real! I have now driven on my own on California highways! As such I must now adopt the California-ism of attaching “the” to numbered road descriptions. THE 405! The 55! I’m a Californian!).
All told, the day went really well. There were a few hiccups, nothing major; just typical first-day stuff like nerves and hot gallery lighting making your butt cheeks sweat through your pants. Overall, I was confident that I would be a great addition to the staff there.
But. In my heart, the dread grew. The anxiety thundered in my chest as the minutes dragged on for hours. And the fear that I was making a mistake began to gnaw at me. After a full day, I was finally dismissed and got in the car and drove home. I parked the car in the garage without hitting either of the side-view mirrors, but found no sense of accomplishment in it. I checked the mail. Nothing good. I unlocked the door and Kyle was waiting for me with a hug and a “How’d it go?”
“It was fine.”
What?! HOW did this HAPPEN!? I have this great job in the palm of my hand! This elusive opportunity to connect and network and learn, and to get BENEFITS (!!!), right here in front of me for the taking! And it… was… okay I guess?
I… I don’t understand. How had the dread and fear and insecurity and anxiety grown? It was supposed to be the other way around; I was supposed to feel great.
I felt terrible.
I've decided to split this long post in half, stay tuned for the riveting conclusion in next week's post! Subscribe to my email list here for first access to blog posts, news, sales, new art and more.