I have been holding my breath — and holding out on this post — waiting for a decision which would define the next few years of my life. Tuesday was a deep well of disappointment. In twelve hours, I cartwheeled through the stages of grief, primarily fueled by anger and confusion. I allowed my writing to take a back seat while I tried to take one last leap into the corporate world, focusing all my energy into mastering interview techniques and carefully picking through my unusual wardrobe to create the perfect first impression. In my frustrated heart, this was all time lost.
In one of my earliest posts, I mentioned my Godfather. It was Uncle D who inspired and encouraged this blog in the first place, confessing that, since I was a little munchkin, running through the masses of the University Glee Club picnic, glistening in the hot July sun, sucking ginger ale through a straw in my plastic champagne flute, I always struck him as someone who would end up working for herself. For most of my life, I was outspoken, outgoing, and creative-minded. Whether my education had any effect on these traits, I do not know, but this most recent rejection has only added fuel to my creative fire. Intellect has no price tag — who am I kidding to expect that any white-collar financial company would want to invest in youth and imagination?
In reflecting upon Tuesday’s news, after a tall, chewy beer and a few salty tears in a too-hot shower, I finally asked myself, “Why did I want that job so badly?” This position was for a corporate event planner–someone who could coordinate teleconferences and assemble itineraries and compile expense reports. Yeah, I am pretty confident I would have handled that without much hand-holding. I wanted this job because it was the easy way out… or should I say in.
It was intellectual challenge. It was the opportunity to learn and grow and stretch my wings in the world of events. Most importantly, it was the plump, juicy paycheck which would give me financial resources to make progress on my bucket list. I clawed desperately at this opportunity, fearing that 24 (and nearly 25) may be pushing the acceptable limit of hanging-on-by-a-thread. In my scrambled mind, it felt like my last chance.
Money. Really, it all came down to money. And I have found myself already searching again for a job that will turn the highest profit and beef up my pitiful bank account. I hate how important we make money. I hate that I can track almost every stressor back to nickels and dimes. How can we allow ourselves to stress over paper? Why did I waste tears over some dumb paycheck? Money is cruel. We work any crap job we can find when we need it, and once we have it, all we want is more. A tripled paycheck will not solve my internal desire to use my brain and make things happen. A thicker cushion will not feed my hunger for success. After all, “It’s just money.”
More so than the understanding that I would be remaining in the lowest tax bracket, it was the reason for my rejection which made me burn inside. I had the experience. I had the look. I had the credentials. Despite checking every bullet point, this company let my application go, believing that I would be bored in the roll. To put it frankly, what bullshit! There is never an excuse to be bored! Any person who allows themselves to become bored is simply not creative enough to find interest and challenge in a world where it is plentiful. Anyone who allows themselves to become bored lacks the courage and confidence to speak openly with higher-ups and influence positive growth and change. Anyone who allows themselves to become bored should not be working in events.
Perhaps I was not the right fit. Perhaps they feared I would try to climb the ladder too quickly, threatening their own positions. Whatever the reason, this company missed out on a youthful, intelligent, imaginative woman who could have been a significant positive energy on an apparently dull, lifeless team. Their loss.
So what now? As I mentioned, this experience has fueled a lot of personal reflection. Is this “bohemian” lifestyle really feasible beyond my early twenties? Would happiness take a back seat if I joined the corporate jungle? How important is money when I don’t have any? Am I falling behind? I have realized over the last week that I have reached an age where I need to make a choice and push myself one-hundred percent in the direction of that choice, never looking back, never feeling regret. Whatever the choice, it is time to harness my youthful energy and do something positive with it.
I have missed writing. It is therapeutic — such a perfect way to vent, clarify, and organize your jumbled thoughts. Rejection and Reflection. Perhaps I truly was not meant to work the grind. Perhaps the intellectual challenge I crave would have lacked in that pyramid company with so many higher-ups bringing the hammer down on creativity. Perhaps everything really does happen for a reason. I don’t know how many of you believe in God — many of you probably call it “fate” or “destiny” or “dumb luck.” I think, for me, it is a little bit of everything. “Like sweet serendipity.” One door closes, one hundred doors open. I am determined to take this disappointment and turn it into something wonderful.
Rather than thinking of this turn of events as my “last chance” to board the corporate boat, it seems that I have been given a second chance to feel that hunger for professional success. I have been given the time to think deeply and seriously and finally define my professional dream. I have put personal interests on hold for the hope of a “big girl job” and seen the draining impact its absence has had on my emotional strength. How often do we get to reflect upon our choices before we are chained to them?
When I was seven years old, I attended my Aunt’s wedding. That year, for my eighth birthday party, I hosted a “wedding reception,” complete with a double-tiered cake and plastic champagne flutes. 41 weddings later, it is clear that the field of Special Events is my calling. I have dreamed with a full heart and made small plans — I simply need the courage to take the leap. Now.