Making Personal Growth

I was speaking with my cousin today – a totally awesome dreamer and creative who is my same age and yet has accomplished so much more than I probably ever will – and we were discussing the pros and cons of work that is creatively satisfying (if not quite what you want to be doing) vs. work that is mundane yet stable. The conversation brought up a lot of insight as to what is most important: your immediate happiness, or your ability to satisfy your personal creative and financial needs while working towards eventually meeting your career goals.

The answer: It’s a toss-up, really. Both hold merits, and it likely just comes down to individual needs and specific job opportunities. But what the conversation really reinforced for me was the idea of personal growth.

No matter what you’re doing, make sure you’re doing it for you.

The obvious consensus here is that you should always be taking into account what you want to be doing with your life. Meaning, not just creative and career goals, but things you want to achieve for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Hence, your personal growth. Any job you have or decide to take should lend itself in someway to helping you reach these goals, whether that’s through immediate exposure (i.e. being an assistant to someone who is doing what you want to do and who will mentor you), or through stable flexibility (i.e. a job that isn’t really what you want to do, but that allows you the flexibility to work on what you want to do in your downtime OR gives you enough of your week that you can focus on your passion as a sort-of side job).

And herein lies the dilemma and heartache, because which do you choose? There are risks to both; the first, which might be more creatively satisfying in the moment, may have you spending much of your creative energies focusing on that which does not directly help your own goals. The second will allow you to spend your creative energies how you wish, but without the guarantee that you will find a direct way toward meeting your career goals. Both provide risks and benefits. Perhaps the decision will not be up to you; perhaps you will only come across the opportunity for one or the other.

You will have the opportunity to choose one thing: to pursue your own work, always. Meaning that while there are plenty of stable jobs out there that you could pursue, you have the ability to choose one that lends you the flexibility or opportunities you need to create the career you want. This might not be easy to find, but it’s worth the work and search.

Just some thoughts. Good luck on whatever your career endeavor may be.

-tlc

A Short PSA About How to Get My Job (AKA be a PA)

So today I got a friendly e-mail from a KU alum who had seen me post about what I’m doing/where I’m working now that I’ve graduated from KU and am living in Los Angeles. He sent me the same type of e-mail that I know I sent to a million and one people when I was reaching for the stars and entertaining the insane idea of moving out here to work in television. He asked for my advice on how to get from where he was to where I currently am. Now, I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t nearly as friendly in my advice-giving as the people who answered my inquiries when I first came out here. In my defense, I wasn’t in an optimistic mood, and I whole-heartedly believe in keepin’ it real (unless you’re keeping up appearances–idk wtf am I even saying? It’s a Friday, guys. I just want to go home and drink).

But I also believe in paying it forward, and if this is truly something that he wants to pursue, I want him to jump in head first, knowing exactly what he’s getting himself into (because, believe me, I totally relate, and I completely support pursuing your passions).

I also really just wanted an easy blog post for this week, and since I’d already spent a fair amount of time writing this gem of an email, I figured, why not share it with the rest of the very small world that reads this blog?

So, two birds with one stone. **DISCLAIMER** I am not, in any way, shape, or form, an expert in giving industry advice. If you want something a little more thorough, check out The Temp Diaries  or The Anonymous Production Assistant, which can give you a much better idea of what it’s like to work as a PA in this town.

If you want a laugh, though, please, read on. I was in a very sarcastic mood (edited for privacy purposes):

Hi Tasha!

I’ve been doing comedy in Chicago for a while, but my wife and I have been eyeing a move out west for a while. One of my shorter-term goals would be to land a writer’s PA position at a scripted TV show — so when I saw your post, I thought, “hey wait a second, that’s what I want to do!”
I’m sure you’re extremely busy, but if you have time to give a complete stranger some advice, I’d greatly appreciate it. What path did you take to get your current position? What sorts of things should I be doing to get there myself? And have you enjoyed the job and/or found it helpful advancing your career as a writer?
Thanks!
Okay, so here you go:
Hi,

Honestly, I hope I don’t sound like a complete asshole, because there isn’t a whole lot of advice I can give you. There isn’t really one specific way to get a job as a PA. Pretty much everyone I know (including myself) has gotten their job through the connections they make out here–so living in LA is probably the first step. But I’m sure there are lots of production jobs going on in Chicago as well, so trying to find some job listing groups on Facebook and get in with a production crowd as a freelance PA while you’re still in Chicago might also be a good way to go. I know lots of people who’ve been able to advance a lot faster because they knew/worked with people back in their home towns/other cities before moving out here. But basically, just getting out here and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.  (This is also miserable, because LA is expensive and even once you start landing PA positions they pay like shit. I’m making minimum wage and thank God I get fed at work or else I wouldn’t be able to pay rent.)
Besides the money factor and the difficulty in finding a job, I absolutely love what I do. I don’t know that it’s really advancing my career as a writer, but it’s been motivating and a great learning experience to meet the writers, sit in the writer’s room, and get their advice/feedback on writing. However, I should also specify that I work for an amazing crew of totally nice super awesome people. There are quite a lot of jerks in Hollywood, and I get spoiled where I’m at right now. So not every job is this great. I worked a reality show before this, and even though the people I was working for were super nice, I absolutely hated it. I drove an hour both ways just to get to work, and then did 12 hours straight on my feet without sitting down, with the only other time I was off my feet being when I took my mandatory 30 min unpaid lunch break. It sucked.
Keeping with the whole honesty thing–and here’s where I’m going to sound like the biggest asshole you’ve ever spoken with–being a Writer’s PA/Writer’s Assistant on a scripted show (or getting into scripted TV, period) is about the hardest job to get in Hollywood, and most people will tell you this. For one, it’s just difficult to break into the industry, period. For another, there is about triple the amount of reality TV programming to scripted television. I fell into the job I currently have because a friend of mine, who I studied abroad with my freshman year of college, had a friend who worked as a PA under my current producer, and somehow heard there was an opening on this show and so my friend forwarded my resume to her friend, who forwarded it to the Production Coordinator, who interviewed me and offered me the job two weeks later when the producer I work under found out I was a KU alum (he went to KU, too). So an insane amount of chance got me my job. It sucks, but hey, if you’re good at making friends and have a good work ethic, then you might stand a chance.
Another thing you should know–especially because I don’t know what your wife does for a living–is that jobs aren’t steady or consistent. I was extremely lucky to get work so quickly after finishing my two internships (I spent four months working full time for free out here before I started looking for paid work, and I got paid work insanely quickly). But even after working on a sitcom for five months, we are almost wrapped with production for our current season, and I’m not sure what’s happening next. Right now I’m looking at unemployment for at least the month of September, and crossing my fingers that something comes along before I burn through my savings or have to become a barista like my roommate, who gets up every morning before God is even awake.
Anyways. I hope that answers some of your questions. If you’re crazy enough to still want to move out here, let me know and when you and your wife get out here we’ll go get drinks in a super dive-y LA bar in Midcity before I show you the van where I live down by the river.
But seriously, I actually do know a guy who lives in a van. I wish it was down by the river but, you know, drought.
-Tasha
I really hope this guy e-mails me back. I think we stand a real chance of being great friends. Oh, also, he added me on Facebook, where I post links to my blog every week, so if you’re reading this right now, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission before posting this. I hope I left it anonymous enough for you. Being honest again, though, I have no shame. Your e-mail saved me something like two hours of extra brain power.
Until next week,
-tlc

Questioning Everything

Graduation is three weeks away. I have one Monday left of classes after this week, and then I have finals week. Then, my life as I’ve known it for the last seventeen years ends. I’ll be shoved out into the “real world,” trying to claw my way through jobs and finances, trying to make my life.

I know I’m starting to be a bit of a broken record, but,

I’m terrified.

Last week I announced my summer plans and my tentative plans for the fall; while those have not changed, I’ll admit that, thinking about all of the preparation that must go into my plans, and thinking about how I will get a roof over my head and food on my plate is frightening.  I’ve known since before I left for college that ultimately, in order to really discover myself, I was going to need to leave Kansas. I’m excited for it–I’ve never been to San Antonio, and it’s been ages since I’ve been to LA and I am practically a stranger to the city. I’m ready to gain a new perspective and indulge in a new subculture of America. But I am going to miss my family and friends here. In a way, I feel almost as trapped thinking about my inability to visit my family whenever I want to once I move, as I do when I contemplate the idea of never leaving Kansas and living in any place new. It is a terribly lonely prospect to move far away on your own.

However, I suppose the only way I can take it is as an opportunity for growth.  Just like college, only this time, instead of worrying about grades, I’ll be worrying about money. Perhaps I can learn not to worry so much about that, either. I’ve heard that it can be an incredibly freeing experience to accept a certain level of poverty and still find a way to live off of it.

And perhaps my friends and family, being a little more financially stable than I will be, will take the time to come visit me and keep in touch with me frequently in between visits.

I will say that, though I have been met with some skepticism from those concerned for my financial well-being (my parents and a few other caring mentors) I have been met with twice as much enthusiasm, particularly from those who live out in LA already, or have family and/or friends living out in LA. I’m taking this as a good sign, a reassurance that this move will be alright. I’m not sure if it’s out of sheer politeness, or if people are honestly this excited and supportive, but I truly appreciate it, and I thank God for it, because I’ve been praying for his guidance a lot lately, and, though I feel that I typically have a difficult time discerning his will, I think this feels like a pretty clear sign to me.

So, yes, I’m terrified. And yes, I will bawl like a baby when graduation comes, and a weekend full of goodbyes will be necessary. KU has been an amazing experience, and I’ve made some lifelong, amazing friends. But it’s time. It’s time to move on to the next step. And I can finally say that, while it’s a terrifying step, it finally feels like a step, and not a jump, or a leap. I can finally say that, though it took some time, I am beginning to accept this transition.

Until next Monday, when I hopefully have something a bit more interesting to discuss,

Yours truly,

tlc

 

Being Stupid

Sometimes, you have to ignore the practical mindset, and take stupid risks.  This, at least, is how I feel about moving out to LA.

That’s right, I finally officially said it: I’m moving out to LA…or, at least, that’s the plan at the moment.

I know–I’m sorry, I haven’t been fully straight with you. I know I promised we were in this struggle–errr, ahem, journey–together, and that I would be upfront and honest about exactly what it is I’ve gone through this semester. And for the most part, I have. I’ve only really left out the specific application details because I didn’t want to spout off about future plans and then have to come back next week and tell you all about how those weren’t actually going to be my plans, because I got rejected.  So in other words, I didn’t want to look like more of a loser than I already am.

But, now is the time: I will tell you all, because there are some very valuable things to be learned from my experiences.  First, though, I want to put a disclaimer here that my plans are still not set in stone. Things could change tomorrow, or next week, or two months from now–I refuse to take anything as solidly official until I am actually there, doing it, because the line of work I am pursuing right now is a fickle and constantly changing one. Therefore, if, next week–or two months from now–I write to tell you that I am doing something completely different from what I have planned right now, do not be alarmed; be thankful (with me) that I have at least found something to replace any plans that have fallen through. But for now, here it is:

In the fall, I will be moving to LA and working as a development intern for Phoenix Pictures (if all goes according to plan). I was offered the internship earlier this month, and exact dates and plans will be set (hopefully) later in July.  This internship is unpaid (unfortunately–but what can you do?) but is part time, so I will have the flexibility to work part time for a paying job to make rent each month.

I’m going to be honest with you: at first, I was embarrassed to announce that I had accepted an unpaid internship; like I noted in my last post, my idea of success has always been getting good grades, graduating, and getting a financially stable job doing something related to my field of interest.  However, I’ve realized over the last few weeks that it’s not about that at all–success is pursuing what you love, doing what you love, and I’m still trying to figure that out. I have always been interested in film and television, and I’ve always dreamed of working in the industry–pretty much ever since I was old enough to watch a Disney film.  So, though I won’t be putting my college education directly to use by means of gaining a communications job in an office somewhere, I will be utilizing the writing skills and analytic training I have gained through my degree to pursue a more creative career.

I’m taking this one step at a time. I have a summer job lined up with Duke TIP in San Antonio, as a creative writing TA at Trinity University, and then will be heading to LA sometime in August, most likely. I’ll do this internship, hopefully, and (also hopefully) find work to help pay the rent while I’m out there, and (extremely hopeful) try to find a PA gig through networking or (if I’m extremely lucky) through my internship. But, if, somewhere in between there, plans fall through, or things aren’t working out, or I realize I’m not happy with the direction I’m going, I’ll start looking for something else, maybe move back home, and start from square one. Anything is possible. Like I said, one step at a time.

I started looking into internships out in LA back in January (I applied for Duke TIP back in January, too).  I made my interests known to two different alumni groups on Facebook, and made a contact there that has gone out of his way to send my resume and general cover letter to every contact and internship opportunity he has heard about. I got lucky, and did really well on a script coverage sample for an application that I never expected to hear about–and then, to top it off, by chance, the summer internship turned into a fall internship instead (to get around me needing to take it for credit), which ultimately worked out for the best, because it meant that I could still take my paid summer job with Duke TIP. Like I said, I got really lucky.  Now, that internship application came in late March, and the offer came in early April. I had been applying and looking for jobs and internships at this point for around three months.  In total, I’ve had about six phone interviews and two script coverage sample applications. I can’t tell you how many internships my contact has actually submitted my resume to. More than I could ever count, certainly. I’ve only had the one offer.

Now besides those, I’ve spent countless hours looking into communications jobs, social media jobs, internships, and Disney things–besides the college program, I applied for twenty five professional internships–none of which I ever heard back from. I spent a lot of time looking into job opportunities abroad as well.  I’ve visited the career center several times, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do or talk about. I still am not 100% sure what it is I want to do.

My point is this: job hunting takes a long time. You’re going to face rejection–even if you’re good. It’s just going to happen. But most importantly, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do yet. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to be exploring for a while. Maybe longer than a while–maybe I’ll still be figuring out what it is I want to do when I retire. But you know, I’m kind of excited about it. I’m certainly freaked out–paying the bills is a worrisome thing–but I’m excited to discover. To get out, and just do. That’s the job I’ve really accepted after graduation: the job of doing.

Best wishes until next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Emotional and Moral Support Are Worth More Than Money Can Buy

I’m not gonna lie: to be in financial security for the rest of my life could rival my desire to be doing the things I love for a living.  To know I could afford to support myself and live comfortably, even if I was stuck in an office doing the same exact thing day-in, day-out, is a very tempting thought. But, despite this temptation, I know, deep down, that I would not be happy. All the financial security in the world could not keep me from growing to hate my job, and subsequently myself, if I cannot justify my work as an investment into causes for which I wish to devote my time.

Therefore, I say that moral and emotional support are worth a thousand times what money could buy me.  To have someone listen to my hopes, and worries, and tell me “I’m behind you on this,” means so much more to me than having financial security. Knowing that there are others who believe in me and the things I want to do or try, and knowing that–though they may not understand what I want to do or why–they will give me their support and not greet my ideas with doubt and insecurity (because I already have plenty of that myself) is a more reassuring feeling than any financial security could bring.

The reason this  is on my mind, and the reason why I am devoting this week’s blog to this idea, is because I think this is something many of us getting ready to graduate struggle with.  Our whole lives have been structured in such a way that we have grown up with the idea that success is getting good grades, and either 1) making it big on our talent (including achieving placement at a prestigious grad school) or 2) achieving gainful employment, getting married, and settling down.

Well, my life is not exactly taking off on either of those paths, though I’m hoping that my little jaunt off the beaten track will eventually lead me back to some of those things. It’s been a real struggle between exploring the possibilities of things that have, until the last two weeks, been nothing but the seemingly farthest musings of a dream. Even now, nothing is set in stone, but the reality is slowing hurtling towards me.

But it’s still a frightening reality, because nothing is certain–food, money, shelter–none of it is a given. I do not have gainful employment. All I have is an opportunity–a possibility that may–or may not–lead to something else, which may–or may not–lead to something else, which might–if I’m extremely lucky–lead to actual employment.  And I’m not going to lie to you: I’m extremely freaked out by it, but at the same time, it is something I feel I must do; it is something I must try, because it is something I have always dreamed of doing and being a part of, and not to even try feels like such an injustice to myself that I’m not sure I could live my life without beating myself up over it for years to come.

This is why it is important to have emotional and moral support. It’s not that I need someone to validate my decisions (though that reassurance is always nice); it is that I need to know that if–and most assuredly, when–I fall down, when I fail, even just a tiny bit, I will have someone to turn to who will not judge me for my failures, but instead comfort me in my struggles, put me back on my feet, and steer me back in the direction of a happy life.

Because, that’s what we all should be pursuing–a happy life. And it doesn’t mean you can’t take that financial security–by all means, you are a smarter being than me if you do–it simply means that you never stop doing the things you love, and you never stop pursing those things. And finding that emotional and moral support is the first part of pursuing that happiness.

So, fear not, fellow graduates, for though the world feels like a large abyss, it is not, and at some point, you will realize that there is much more that goes into seeking happiness and success than simply having a job and financial security.  So find your support system, and cling to it like rock in a storm. And always know that I am right there with you, anxieties about money and the future and life, and somehow, we’ll make it through.

Until Next Monday (when I can hopefully be a little more coherent),

Yours truly,

tlc

Long Time No See

Sooooo my one week away from blog posts due to my trip to London turned into a three week hiatus…it has been quite the hustle to get caught up and back on track with all of my school work and job applications. Actually, I’m still not completely caught up. This has been the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants semester. I am surprisingly busy for an English major who is not taking any traditional literature courses this semester. But I suppose I honestly prefer this to sitting around with nothing to do.

Okay, so now to the good stuff: what have I been doing these last three weeks, and have I found a job yet?

Well, the quick answer to the second part of that question is no, I have not. But more on that in a minute. As far as what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks goes: well, to start with, I spent my spring break in London, being a complete tourist and momentarily satisfying my wanderlust. It was an absolutely fantastic week, filled with a lot of insightful time to myself, traveling among the different parts of London, seeing the sights and watching the people.  When I returned home I was absolutely exhausted, and feel that I must have slept more than I was awake for the next week. I have certainly not kept such a good bedtime in my entire life.  This also meant I was a bit behind on schoolwork, though, as I simply could not keep my eyes open long enough at night to finish my work early.

Honestly, had I not also been applying for a few internships that required I create writing samples for them, I probably wouldn’t have been behind or needed so much time to catch up.  That’s right, I have a couple leads on internships! (Cross your fingers–everything is still completely up in the air).

But, in thinking about these possible internships, and looking into my immediate plans for after graduation–especially after taking some time to myself in London–I am coming to terms with myself and finally finding some peace about my lack of a job after graduation.  I am confident I am not alone when I say that I have felt, and have put on myself, a  significant amount of pressure to have a job by the time I graduate.  For some reason, my idea of general success has always been that of someone who either has a job by the end of their time in college, or has been accepted into a respectable graduate program.

But I am starting to believe that its okay that I do not have a full-time “Big Kid” job to enter into immediately after school. I am starting to get much more excited about the multitude of opportunities ahead of me to experience several different fields of work.  I am excited to explore, and hopefully support myself along the way.  Yes, it is still frightening not to have financial security, but I believe this is the path I have chosen, subconsciously, because I’d rather face financial uncertainty than mundane security.  I have always wanted to live, and experience, meet, and explore–something I can’t do from the same apartment and the same job in the same office month after month.  I think this has been a long time coming, but–particularly after my two professional internships–I’m learning that I am not an office person. I do not want to work in an office atmosphere for the rest of my life. I like to be on my feet, working with my hands, conversing with people and seeing a positive end result for the work that I do.

So no,  I do not have a job yet, but I am attacking the job search process with a renewed hope, a new angle, and a much more enthusiastic attitude!  My advice to those of you still searching in despair?  Let go of the pressure to have a job lined up by graduation: it’s okay. Be willing to accept the possibilty of being a waiter, or barista if need be.  Explore, and keep hope! You will find your place.

Until Next Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Life Vests Welcome

Who would have thought that I’d be giving pep talks to someone else about graduating and finding a job?  I mean, I realize that the whole point of this blog series is to give support to my fellow soon-to-be grads who might be struggling with the same anxieties I think we all face at this point in our lives, but that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to give pep talks. Yet, somehow, today I found myself doing just that.

One of my dear friends reached out to me in a frustrated flurry of emotion after a tough four hours of filling out job applications. She was emotionally drained and feeling as though she wasn’t good enough. She had been thinking about all of the people she knew who already had jobs lined up after graduation, and had been questioning why–when she was just as good a student and worker–she wasn’t getting any closer to finding a job herself.

I don’t think she reached out to me because she was looking for a pep talk, but that’s what I gave her. I rooted her on, I told her how great a person she was (because it’s true), and I reassured her that things would work out. That, somehow, she would find a job and the right opportunity when the time came, and that I knew she’d find that job because she is a hard worker, and she is gifted, and smart (also true).

The irony is that I said all of these things to her, knowing exactly how she feels, and being in a very similar situation myself. How can I reassure someone else that things will work out, when I worry about the outcome of my own job search and career path?  It’s because, in the end, I know that we will both be fine. Of course, I don’t know where we’ll be, or if it will be something we actually like or want to be doing, but we will find something that will put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. And, because I know that we are both driven people, I know that we will not be stagnant. We will continue to improve ourselves, and find new ways to build paths towards our life-long goals. If there is only one thing I know of success, it is that success does not simply come to those who work towards it; success comes to those who continue to find new ways to work towards it, no matter how many times they have to redirect their path. My friend and I will continue to pave new ways towards our goals until we reach them, no matter where we have to start.

I don’t know why I am suddenly so optimistic when nothing has really prompted these feelings. If anything, I think I would be justified in taking a bit of a more pessimistic view. However, negativity has never improved anything. I have reached a point where the only attitude I can–and wish–to take in my ongoing job search is a positive one. If I let myself stress out over rejection, or compare myself to others’ success, that will not help me.  Worrying about things that I cannot help or change will not make my experience in finding a job any easier. Instead, I will put a smile on my face, and keep on going. Sure, I’ll worry–and believe me, I’m plenty stressed–but a little concern can’t be helped.

Instead, I am choosing to be happy. I am choosing to continue to work towards my goals. I am choosing not to give up so easily on my dreams. I am choosing to trust that there is something positive in store for my life.

So, here I am, one week away from my spring break, giving you a mini pep-talk: Choose to be happy. Seek out the positive, and don’t get discouraged. Everyone faces rejection, and you will find the success that you allow yourself to have. Have patience, and enjoy life while you’re waiting.

Oh, and a word of advice–especially to those of you who are not gearing up to graduate yet–use the Career Center at your university!  You can start using it even before your senior year; go have them check out your resume, teach you how to write a cover letter, prep for interviews, and introduce you to the job search process. Part of the reason I got a bit of a late start in my own job search was because I didn’t understand how the career center could work like a pre-planning resource; I had all of these online resources for searching through job openings, but I didn’t even know where to begin or what to apply for because I didn’t even know the first thing about what I wanted to do or what I should really look into. The career center will help you figure that out.

A side note: Next week I will be studying abroad for Spring Break (Yay!) and may or may not have time/internet access to post a blog. We will see. My apologies if the latter is the case.

Until next (or next next) Monday,

Yours truly,

tlc

Forget Diamond in the Rough, I’m Shining in a Dark Cave

(Fair warning: Rant Session Up Ahead)

You know those lovely people who pass judgement upon you without taking the time to really know you? Those people who criticize and make rude comments in passing that they would be ashamed of, if they actually knew what they were saying? I really cannot stand those people.

Today, I met one of those people. Today, I was asked if I had seen every film that was nominated for an Oscar, and I of course said no. Who has time for that unless films are your profession? (Well, besides this guy, apparently). I had seen a couple, though, I added.  He then asked me why I hadn’t gone to see the rest of them. Well, I told him, I simply don’t have the time or money. I can’t afford to go to the movie theater and see that many movies. He asked me how I was spending my time if I wasn’t watching these films. I told him I was doing homework. He laughed and said, very skeptically, “yeah, okay. I’ll accept that at face value.”

Well, excuse me, sir, but–since you clearly are unaware–I am a full-time student, have two jobs, am in the middle of looking for full-time work, am studying abroad over spring break, helping my brother and sister-in-law move, maintain my own personal writing (and blog), and–oh, yeah, almost forgot–I have a 3.9 GPA. Sorry I don’t have time to go watch every single Oscar-nominated film (believe me, I would love to do just that!) but I’ve never met a single person who gained success by sitting on their butts watching the big screen all day. (Well, maybe Roger Ebert, but unless you want to start paying me to watch films so I can quit one of my other jobs, it ain’t gonna happen.)

I would have liked to tell him all of that, right then and there, but if I’ve learned something in this life, it’s that in those type of situations, it doesn’t matter what you retaliate with. People do not want to admit that they were wrong, and they will fight you tooth and nail until they feel that they have actually proven their point, even if it was completely false to begin with.

Still, I decided I to turn this into a learning moment. It took me a few hours to brainstorm through the anger and hurt to find something useful in this clueless person’s words, but I think I finally found it:

In life, no matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter how awesome or not-awesome we are, judgments will be passed upon our characters by our peers.  Many times this judgment will be grounded in very little knowledge of our actual selves; many times this judgment will be passed on nothing more than a first impression. Tragic.

Even more tragic, this is the type of human interaction that often decides which candidates get what jobs. It’s difficult to convey exactly who you are, or how dedicated you are to your work, simply from one brief interview, or one sheet of paper. You will hear people say that they can tell a good candidate from a bad one before an interview is even over; I think this is a flawed way of thinking.

Take me, for example: I am a well-spoken writer (though who knows what I’ll think of this blog post in the morning), and with paper and a little bit of time, I could make a three-day-old, dirty hot dog sound good. But put me in front of a person I’ve never met before and add the pressure of trying to impress? I stutter and stumble over my words; I can’t get my mouth to move as fast as my thoughts, or I can’t get my thoughts to move as fast as my mouth. If I can find a way to relax I am fine–I never have trouble leading a group, making conversation, or meeting new people. It’s only when that little voice in the back of my head says, “Make a good impression! Make a good impression!,” that I begin to sweat the small stuff and spit my words like a broken faucet.

This makes interviews very difficult for me, and I practice a lot to make myself better at them. I practice thinking through my thoughts and words, and I practice talking about my strengths (like I did in the paragraph above!) because I always feel terribly cocky mentioning anything remotely nice about my personal talents. Still, it’s unfortunate because I often feel that, given the time and a chance to demonstrate my abilities, I could impress every employer who has ever interviewed me.

This is the plight of the human race, though.  We have to learn to make “Wow!” first impressions; to reveal ourselves as completely and competently as possible in only a few short words.  We’ve limited human interaction because we simply don’t have time. There are too many people in the world, too many applicants, not enough minutes in the day to meet every person we come across and really, truly get to know them.

So, while I wish there was a better way to search through applicants, I do not disavow the interview. I work hard to prepare for it as much as anything else that I do, then I go and I give it my best. And, if I do not get a job offer, I look at the bright side: this interview was not a rejection of me, as a person–as a human being.  This denial of employment is more a rejection towards the persona that came across in the interview, and not about the true me.

And so this is what I have to remember when I run into people like “Oscar-man” (as I am now going to call him): he doesn’t know the real me. I can find no true insult in his words, because they were not truly directed towards me. They were directed at his assumption of me. And that assumption was oh so wrong.

Because I’ve been feeling it a bit, lately, too, I just wanted to let you know that You are worth it. You are worth every bit of work towards accomplishing your goals. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. If someone passes you up, take comfort in the fact that you don’t really want to work for someone who doesn’t see your true potential, anyways.  Be your own personal cheerleader, support yourself in your endeavors, and those that matter will follow. And who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road you’ll have the chance to show all of your “Oscar-man”s exactly what you’re made of, and they’ll finally understand who you are.

 

Yours truly,

tlc

 

 

It’s A Good Thing My Film Professor Won’t Read This

It’s a good thing he won’t even see this post, because I’m not sure he even has a Facebook page, and if he does, we are not friends. I say this, not because I don’t like my film professor–I do, he’s a bit tangential, but his class is still informative–but because I’m typing this as I sit in his class, listening (as best as you can while multitasking) to his lecture.

Now, hear me out: I’m not one of those terrible students who is always on the internet and never listening during class.  In fact, it’s the opposite–this is an anomaly for me; a choice that I am driven to out of a necessity to keep myself accountable amidst a very busy day. (Just to reassure you that I am still listening to my professor, at the moment he is discussing art forms in motion–painting, sculpture, and architecture–and the ways in which these play into the larger idea of art and interplay as a whole, particularly in concern to film).

This has been my entire week.  After my disappointing web interview with the Disney College program, I had my orientation day for my campus job at the Spencer Research Library–I get to work with artifacts and books that are 100+ years old!–and my interview with Target for their executive leadership program (a path that I am drawn away from more and more as I realize it leaves very little opportunity for use of my writing skills).  I then spent the weekend at home again–I think I’ve been home more in the last two months than I have in the last year as a whole–in order to get some things finished that I had to do in my home town. Today, I spent the first half of my day at the Spencer, working, then went to class, camped at Allen Field House for the game, and am now (obviously) in class again (we have now moved on to specific films that demonstrate the idea of “mash-up” or rather, combination art and art-techniques), and tonight I will go to Allen Fieldhouse yet again to watch one of the last home basketball games I may ever be able to see in person (who knows if I’ll be able to afford tickets once I’m out of school?). I’ve hardly had a moment to catch my breath.

I know I’m not the only one who has these types of days, and I’m sure I should count myself lucky for not having more of them, but my list of things to do continues to get increasingly longer, with no seeming end in sight.  If it’s not homework–and my goodness, how homework has always kept me busy, and never before has it felt so much like busy work!–then it’s job and internship applications, adjusting resumes and cover letters, job-related work, or other work-type commitments. The only way I find I don’t make myself crazy is by letting myself go to the gym and run off extra steam in whatever spare moments I have, and taking a few minutes out of my day to just let my brain ‘de-fuzz’.

I probably make myself sound more stressed out than I actually am. The truth is, the reason I feel so busy is because I am letting myself have those moments of enjoyment–I am letting myself go to the basketball game tonight, even though I have plenty of things I could be doing to keep me busy this evening. I stop and talk to my friends, and take a few minutes out of my day to read, or eat, or do something just for me, that I want to do, not that I need to do. Of course, it’s put me a bit behind in my list of all the things I want and need to do and apply for, but I don’t want to look back at this semester and only remember staring at a computer screen, or interviewing for jobs. I have my whole life to work (and hopefully I will find employment to back that statement up sooner rather than later) and I want to enjoy the people and opportunities around me.

Still, it is stressful. Probably the most stressful time of my life I have experienced thus far. I know that, unfortunately, this will probably not be the most stressful thing I ever experience, but the ambiguity of my future is, naturally, a worrisome ordeal. I find that if I stop to think too long on the possibilities of my living situation in even three months’ time, I begin to panic. I am sure–or, at least I hope–that I am not alone in these feelings.  I wish that there was a smoother time of transition into careers or post-grad life than these crazy, class and homework-filled semesters; if students could have an entire semester that was simply devoted to honing application and resume writing, job-search training, and career information/exploration, my life would be so much less stressful right now.

I write about this wishful thinking, my musings, and my worries, not to whine, but because that is where I am at in this stage of the job search/post-grad transition process right now. I feel as though I have “loved and lost” in the few applications and interviews I have had thus far.  But, just like dating, there’s a reason we keep at it, right?  Because hopefully, we’ll strike a chord of luck and wind up happy.

So, I’ll keep multitasking to keep my head above water, and enjoying the little moments whenever I can, and for those of you out there who are in the same boat (what’s with all of these water metaphors all of a sudden? I must be thirsty) I hope you do the same.  Stick with it. You aren’t alone in your worries, I promise.

Keep on Keepin’ on, til next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc

Flowers are Always Good

Thank God for great friends, right?

Boy, I tell you what, this last week has been full of ups and downs. Well, in particular, one reassuring up, and one very, very low down.  Reflecting, I suppose I’ve learned something about myself in all of this. But maybe I should back up a bit first and explain…before I explain.

The week started out pretty well. I was very optimistic–I made my first-ever CV, made the trek to the Career Center and got it looked over (she thought it looked great, I might add), and went to the University Career Fair, where I talked to some programs that I’m actually very interested in, and got an interview for a program I hadn’t even intended on applying for (strange how those things work out).

That wasn’t even the high of my week, though: the day before, I had been offered both a student library job/internship (I’ve been trying to snag a job at KU libraries for the last three years, but scheduling has just never worked out before now) for the rest of the semester, and a summer job as a Teaching Assistant for Duke TIP.

Still, all of this was sort of arbitrary–secondary, perhaps–to the real plan. My coworker and I had our hearts and our heads set: we were going to work for Disney. She had worked as part of the Disney College Program before, and I had been dreaming about it since before I was even in college–in fact, I think the first time I ever looked the Disney College Program up, I was a junior in high school.

So, I was going to apply, and she was going to re-apply. And we were going to work at Walt Disney World, or Walt Disneyland, or Walt Disney World and Walt Disneyland, and for the next six months, we were going to be golden. Then, using my awesome experience working in one of the Disney parks, I was going to apply for writing internships in television and development, and of course employers were going to love me–I’m fun, I’m responsible, and I have a lot of good work experience. This was the plan. This was going to happen. It felt right. It was right.

Until I didn’t move through to the next phase of the interview process.

Yep, that’s right, revel in the irony, everyone: Tasha, the woman who has loved Disney since she was old enough to watch movies; the woman who is so obsessed with Disney fairy tales that she wrote her senior thesis on them, did not make it through the interview process for the Disney College Program. Maybe it was one too many “neutrals” on the survey I had to fill out; maybe it was because, instead of a positive person (which, in comparison with my coworker, I am no where near positive, but in terms of the rest of the world, I’m a pretty positive person) I consider myself more of a realist, because to me, being a realist is still positive, just not delusional. (…Not that positive people are delusional…) But now I’m starting to sound more like a bitter, negative, whiny person.

My point is this: I hit a bottom this week. One of dreams that I’ve had for a very, very long time is no longer possible.  And, while right now it still stings, that’s okay. I’m okay. It’s not like I haven’t been thrown curve-balls in my life before. In fact, most of my life (in my own opinion) has been nothing but curve balls. Disappointments and rejections that have forced me to take ninety-degree turns and barrel on through a new path. And that’s only what this is. A ninety-degree turn. And so now, I’ll just have to barrel that path in a new direction, and hopefully shoot for a similar–or better–landing place.

And really, taking ninety-degree turns is actually good for me, because I tend to make long, intricate plans for my life and what happens in it, and these moments are eye-opening reminders that I shouldn’t shut the rest of the world and its countless opportunities out. So, while Disney lost a seriously good potential employee this week, some other opportunity I haven’t considered yet is going to gain a seriously great candidate. And I’m going to sound cocky, because it’s true. I work hard.

And that brings me to what I learned about myself from all of this: I realized, amid my sobbing, disappointed phone call to my mother, and my rather mopey Monday, that somewhere along my life, I seem to have gotten my priorities mixed up.  I am in a relationship with my work and career goals. I care more about working towards success, than I do about making and growing relationships with other people along the way. And this is wrong. Because success IS the people and relationships you have while making your way, and your living, in this world.

Thank God I have friends like my coworker, who sent me flowers (because flowers really do make everything better), and spent a very long time occupied by my emotional embraces, who–despite my relationship with my work (which is a horrible boyfriend, by the way; he never remembers my birthday)–has somehow become one of my dearest friends. And it is friendships like hers, and friendships like my roommates, and friendships and love like my mother’s that has reminded me that it really is the relationships that matter. What’s it worth to conquer the world without someone to share it with?

So, my fellow almost-graduates, my only advice to you this week is this: make the absolute best friends you can, and keep them, because they won’t judge you when you’re working in a coffee shop to pay the rent, and they will always buy you flowers when you are very, very sad.

Here’s to hoping next Monday is a little happier.

Yours truly,

tlc