Monday, September 22, 2014

Ok, I lied



I lied. A lot has been going on. I just couldn't really write about it until it came to a resolution.

Long story short, in my quest to find a journalism job, I actually found one. A news organization reached out to me within 24 hours of my application being submitted. I had a phone interview. I wrote a "test story" which got published in one of their papers. Then I waited. I waited and waited and waited.

This three week process was filled with hopes and dreams. I could finally get a dog. I could buy a car. I could have an apartment that has outdoor space, an oven and laundry in the unit. Basically, all of the things I want in life I could have with the exception of not living quite where I want. Its no secret that I am in love with Philadelphia and I wish I had a rowhome in South Philly, a journalism job, a boxer dog named Bronx and a green Kia Soul. However, I was willing to sacrifice my surroundings for the sake of having almost all of the things I want in life.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this entire experience it is don't put your eggs in one basket. I've been doing that all my life. I applied to William and Mary and Fordham...nowhere else. I applied to the RMC program...nowhere else. I applied to Temple...nowhere else. I hoped after the RMC program I'd get hired and didn't apply anywhere else. You see the pattern? Putting my eggs in one basket has worked out for me so far.

The company was interested in me. The executive editor said my diverse work experience wasn't a weakness but rather makes me a well rounded journalist. I adjusted to the idea of moving, and moving quickly. I made phone calls. I started to pack just in case. I began to happily emotionally withdraw from my current job.

Then on Friday I got the news. It was the day before my best friend and I were set to scout the area for apartments and potentially buy a car. I got an e-mail. Due to the budget they could not offer me the salary I desired.

But, Mary Anna, its your dream! You want this! Make sacrifices!

You see, I gave them my salary threshold. I went lower than I make now. I tried to make sacrifices. However, it was not enough. I was still asking for too much. I've got experience. I've got a Master's degree. I've proven my worth. But I'm the idiot that fell in love with a struggling field. I'm the idiot that thinks working for a Gannet paper at the age of 16 was a big deal. I'm the idiot that financed my Master's using loans and loans alone. I never did an internship because I didn't have time between working full time and going to school part time.

But it is not enough. Like I said before. I'm under qualified to news organizations that pay a living wage. The places I am qualified for, like this outfit, can only afford a below poverty line entry level salary. Journalism is one of the most challenging fields to break into. I don't need to make six figures. I really just want enough money to stay on top of my loans, afford food and be somewhat comfortable. I know its not a glamorous job but it is exactly what I want to do with my life.

What happens to a dream deferred?

My best friend came over anyway. We had a nice dinner. Later that evening while walking home from the grocery store, my wallet fell out of my jacket pocket. I figured it out the next morning. I panicked and got really anxious. I cancelled the cards and did all the lost wallet stuff. About ten minutes after the last card had been cancelled, there was a knock at my door. Turns out a pizza delivery guy from down the street found my wallet last night and tried multiple times to contact me. He tried Facebook, he tried to come to the apartment. He tried everything until the pizza shop I live above let him in the building so he could knock on my door. He returned my wallet, untouched. There are still very good and honest people in this world.

I gave him a thank you gift and a card. It was stressful but I'm glad my wallet and I are reunited. There were some things in there that were not easily replaceable.

So now it is Monday. I spent the weekend making my apartment look less like I am moving and more like I actually still live there. The packed boxes, mind you these are things I don't need right now anyway, are a painful reminder that the thing I had my heart set on just didn't work out. I applied for a few new jobs, though I think I'm under qualified and I'm back at work.

It is maddening to know exactly what you want to do with your life but be so damn near helpless and unable to achieve that goal. I feel stuck. At times I feel alone since I've mentioned before almost all my friends quit my job. I guess there is "something better out there" but for now I have to muster the strength to get up each morning and carry myself to this job which I am thankful I have but I am burnt out from. I just keep applying and if anything, no matter how promising the opportunity looks never put your life on hold for it. Never reside in "limbo." You have to keep pushing on as if this isn't going to work out because when it does fall apart, at least you've still been living your life.

I feel like I wasted the past three weeks, not with the application/interview process...that was good practice, but with life in general. I spent so many mornings waking up with hope and so many evenings going to bed dejected that I neglected my health, the gym, cleaning, and various projects at work. I just sat around waiting for something that didn't work out. Now I have to rebuild again.

Until next time...

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