I have never once claimed to have gotten my job using any sort of skill, talent, or ingenious tactic. Or particularly trying at all, really. In fact, I bungled my job interview so badly that it’s incredible I got any sort of job at the company I’m in, and to this day I feel like I owe some sort of apology to the peers of mine that did the hard time and logged the hours calling, filling out useless papers, and interviewing at hundreds of companies to land the positions they have.
However, although the job that I got landed in my lap almost by accident, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m earning the right to have it.
Let me briefly explain:
I got degrees in Art and English (with a completely useless and frankly GPA-killing French minor, just for fun-zies). After aimlessly wandering around for a year applying and being rejected from multiple graduate programs, I applied for a Marketing position a yoga clint of mine suggested I try out for.
I then told my interviewer I’d rather go to grad school than take the job.
(STUPID. STUPID DUMB PAST ME.)
Miraculously (likely charmed by my naïve nature and Golden Retriever like optimism), they hired me for a part-time position working the front desk. After a while the overworked social team gave me an endless barrage of kinda-sorta-cheating marketing-ish work to do until the position I’d applied for opened back up and they promoted me into the marketing gig. Almost exactly 9 months after I blundered my way through the original interview, incidentally.
Yes, I was incredibly lucky – because frankly, if they’d had better interviewees, there’s no way in heck I’ve have landed any job. I’d probably still be stuck in Job Hell with the rest of my Millennial buddies (hang in there, Millennial Buddies).
To be completely honest, when I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I felt like I hadn’t earned it, and that I wasn’t qualified, and that I wasn’t capable enough.
Yet in spite of my skepticism towards my own capability, I’ve noticed that my friends are become nurses and technicians and teachers with the same sense of doubt in themselves. All of them, no matter how proud they are of their jobs or how “important” their positions are, are becoming specialists in subjects I will never fully engage with, and they are doing it well, and they can’t see for themselves that they’re doing well.
I can’t catalogue a library full of books or prepare a meal for a hundred people in one night. I can’t even cook a meal for myself half the time, so I’m enamored and jealous of those of my friends who can. However, they see the next person on the ladder ahead of them, who is competing at a whole different level. They can’t step outside of themselves enough to see how well they’re actually doing.
It took me a painfully long time to realize the same rules apply to me as well. I’m becoming a specialist. Maybe I’m not a professional magician or a police officer, but I’m becoming adept at writing press releases and putting together itineraries and explaining what a URL bar is to old people over the phone (hint – it’s NOT the Google search bar). Maybe I can’t put together a Google AdWords Campaign with my eyes closed like my supervisor can, but I know what it means and what the components are, and within the year I’ll likely be putting them together myself, moaning about the fact that I can’t yet competently do the next biggest thing on the list
What does it mean to be worthy of a job? Does it mean having all the requirements on the checklist and working overtime and never screwing up? It might. But I’m realizing it’s just as important to be willing to learn, to know your strengths, and to always want to improve. To become a specialist in a field that matters to you, or at the very least, matters to somebody, even if you’re not aware that you’re gaining skills inch by painful inch. To push past that crippling sense of doubt and fear that says you’re not doing good enough.
Did I work hard to get this job? Maybe not, but I’m working hard to keep it, and most importantly, to deserve it. And hey, I think I’m maybe even doing a decent job.
This is what I consider to be a fairly compelling story prompting you to send future you a letter right now.
As you may have gathered from the fact that I started a blog to force myself to write more, I consider myself to be somewhat of a fair hand with a story. I’m now a college graduate with a dual degree in Art and English (and a French minor, thank you very much). I’m actually in limbo right now waiting to hear back from the few creative writing grad school programs I applied to.
I received a letter from my thirteen-year-old self one afternoon while I was filling out the basic information on a graduate school application. It was part of a school project I had done in middle school and completely forgotten about. In the envelope was a page of writing from a story I had started, along with the letter, which urged me in bold letters to KEEP ON WRITING, no matter what else I was doing.
I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the most self-satisfying moments of my life thus far. How many other people can say that they are still pursuing the dreams they had when they were children? Instead of wanting to be a princess or an astronaut, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to be an author so badly that I once broke down crying in the bookstore because I didn’t want my books to be out of reach on the top shelf.
The funny thing is, though, is for a while in the middle, I completely forgot that I was devoted to writing as a kid. Well, not forgot, exactly, but I sort of put it on the back burner and tried to be an artist for a while. Gallery shows, creative thesis involving crayons and female sexuality (yikes), graphic design, video game art, you name it.
I changed my mind and decided to pursue writing before I got that letter from myself, but what if I hadn’t? Would it have changed my mind? Inspired me? At least given me a chuckle in the middle of an otherwise un-noteworthy day?
Since receiving that letter, however, my confidence in my career goals has skyrocketed. If for no other reason, it was totally worth it.
That could be you, internet. Go here right now and write yourself a note. It’ll take five minutes. Youtube can wait.
You could change your future right now. Will you?