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.
I am not good with heights, internet.
Me and heights had a breakup over a decade ago (god I’m old) when I fell off a chairlift.
At any rate, since I was six or so, heights and I have not gotten along. Eiffel Tower? Horrifying. Mt. Hood, Oregon? No thanks. Ladders? I’ll pass.
In spite of this anxiety, I went rocking climbing a few weeks ago with my coworkers as part of a team building activity, and it was amazing.
I’ve tried rocking climbing on several different occasions, and none of them ended prettily. I panic when I’m about three feet off the ground. Panic-panicking. Like, almost hyperventilating panicking. I have had a panic attack on a porch.
However, despite breathing like a stranded fish and sweating like a chubby kid in a sauna, I somehow made it to the ceiling.
Here is proof.
That yellow line near the bottom? That’s the ten foot mark.
Goodness, just looking at this photo gives me vertigo.
At any rate, the huge difference was having a group of people at the bottom cheering me on and telling me where to go next, because when you’re fear-clinging to a wall with your sweat-hands 35 feet off the ground, it’s really hard to figure where to put your feet. Mostly because the looking down thing is a huge no-no.
Just goes to show that a second pair of eyes, sometimes, is exactly what you need to get you places you never thought you were going to.
I have a lot of irrational fears. They range the gamut from being a mild annoyance in my life to a crippling terror. One of my New Year’s resolution’s this year was to finally take one off the list. It’s not going well.
I think it’s interesting that fear can shift and change a lot over the course of someone’s life. When I was a little girl, I was pretty positive that at one point I was going to wake up and my bed with have floated out of the house because of a giant flood, so I slept with a bag of “survival supplies” (books, a change of underwear, and a chocolate bar). I do not have any idea where this concept came from, although I did live on a lake in Canada in a haunted house. My best guess is that the story of Noah’s Flood confused me. I was not a quick learner.
At some point my fear of flooding magically went away and was replaced with a ridiculous, all-consuming fear of heights. I fell off a chairlift and ended up dangling off of it for the whole ride up. It was unpleasant. I was maybe 10 years old. I still have a vivid memory of this incident. No bueno. Interestingly, I’ve becoming pretty good at handling chairlifts, but gondolas, tall cliff faces, large buildings, balconies, and poorly made porches are a serious no-go for me. I passed out at the top of the Eiffel tower. It was super embarrassing.
Coupled with my fear of heights is a fear I’can really only conceptualized as “fear-of-imagining-myself-falling-from-the-ceiling”. It’s almost like reverse claustrophobia in that I’m not great with large open spaces, but it’s more like I’m timid around large open spaces within buildings. I remember going into a very large cathedral in France and the space between myself and the roof was mindbogglingly awful. I was perfectly aware that I was on the ground and I wouldn’t even be going up somewhere high, but all that space above me was just the worst thing, for some reason.
Thunderstorms. I hate thunderstorms. I don’t like loud, sudden noises. I don’t know.
Do you have any awful irrational fears, internet?
Let’s talk about failure.
I used to be pretty sure that I thought about failure probably more than any sane person ever thinks about failure, but one of the youtube vloggers I watch regularly, Charlie Mcdonnell, made this amazing vlog about his fear of creation, and other youtubers made video responses talking about how they were scared, too. This is one of the reasons I love the internet so much- sometimes you can put something out there and people will have an amazing, supportive, kind response to it that spreads like wildfire.
I’m scared too, Charlie.
Recently I’ve been battling with this little voice inside my head (not that kind of little voice, people, calm down) that’s been telling me that I shouldn’t bother with anything because as much as I may aspire to greatness, I will never be anything more than mediocre. That somehow, because I haven’t already won the lottery or become a supermodel or started a business or gotten a stable, well paying job or even been able to move into an apartment and pay for it all by myself that I never will. That I really shouldn’t even bother, and that, even worse, the goals I have accomplished mean nothing because they aren’t good enough.
Because of this conviction, I shrink away from praise. I haven’t told anyone I know about this blog yet. I’ve been singing and playing the ukulele for 5 years and none of my friends in my hometown knew until this year. I sang in a show once and told my ex-boyfriend he wasn’t allowed to come watch. I refused to go to my own graduation ceremony at college.
I’ve been letting my own fear of failure keep me from applying to jobs I’m interested in, from exercising, even from committing to playing music in a show because I’m convinced somehow that I will not measure up to the bar that I haven’t even set. Damn that’s low.
Well, internet, if you’re listening, today’s the day to go out into the world and say fuck that noise. I’m awesome, and you better watch me shine. I found an amazing quote on Pinterest (yeahhhh, I know) that sums it up nicely:
The time will pass anyways. Do something with it.