I got a job. Back in late December, but I have a job and it’s still new and shiny.
In a round-about way, this blog is responsible for it. My old office manager is a reader of my travels and in response to one of my posts last fall, she emailed me and asked me to send her my resume for an open position at the law firm she works at doing work similar to what I did before my graduate degree.
A few weeks later, I had a job offer from her firm. Well. First, I had a voicemail, which I knew would be a job offer. The call came while I was driving the twenty minutes to acupuncture1. In that thirty minute window, I also got an email from an immigration advocacy group about scheduling an HR screening for an Executive Assistant position.
I went into accupuncture knowing I’d have this choice facing me. I left acupuncture convinced I would take the gamble. I’d gamble on the interview that might turn into an in person interview, that might turn into a job and might eventually turn into what I want to be doing.
Then I called the firm back and heard their job offer. Let’s just say that they knew my game and made an offer that was difficult to refuse. So I didn’t.
But. I’m still volunteering, and The Migrationist project is gaining momentum. I’m not letting it [my passions, my plans] stall. I’ve started learning Spanish, and I’m making promises to myself about writing regularly again. I’m telling lots of people about that last one, so I would be embarrassed if I don’t actually do it. So all of you: hold me accountable, I have some writing to do. Fiction, short stories, non-fiction, just writing.
None of this is why I haven’t written in this blog. Between the holidays, adjusting to the new job, and looking for a place to live, I’m well and truly tapped out. Or have been, anyway. Looking for a job involves being “on.” Your first few weeks involves being “on” enough to convince them that they didn’t make a mistake (not to mention learning everything as quickly as possible). Throw in group house interviews – 14! – and going on dates, I’m well and truly tapped out of my reserves of extroversion. I’m not entirely sure why I’m going on dates. I get asked, they seem nice, we make plans, I try to extract myself after the second date (or I actually like them and their time commitment ability leaves much to be desired). Now, the house thing, that was unavoidable. 14 unavoidable blind dates (frequently with multiple people, group-interview style), and you have to figure out in 15-45 minutes whether or not you want to sign a legally binding document with the other person/people. You have to determine if you can live with the person, if the location is good, if the room is bearable, and if you can afford it. And then they need to want you. 14 group interviews, three housing offers. Lease is signed and I move this Saturday to the first place that I can legitimately settle down into and nest in two years.
The difference in my stress level last week, when the house was settled and when I started to feel reasonably competent at my job, was amazing. I slept. I didn’t even really realize I wasn’t sleeping well until I woke up feeling refreshed for the first time possibly since starting graduate school. Holy crap. I felt less cranky, less irritable less “fuck off people, I don’t have the energy for you.” Which is nice, because I like to think I’m generally a pleasant person who doesn’t go around with fuck-off vibes.
So I’m working in a law office, doing a job very similar to my old one before graduate school. I got asked a lot in my first few weeks what firm I had come from. And I’d explain that I didn’t, not really, or that there was a big gap. They’d ask what that gap was and I’d short-summary India-Nepal-Europe-Grad-School-In-The-UK. And they – and I say they deliberately, because I had this conversation more times than I can count – would get quiet. Generally a few decades older than me, they would wistfully wish they had done something along those lines. But, life, you know. Husbands. Jobs. Children. Houses. It is a sad, awkward end to a fledging conversation.
No one believes me when I say this, or they point out that I didn’t have any of those things (other than epic student loans) but for serious folks. Don’t be that person. Do what you want to do and do what you need to do to get there. Just do it. Stop making excuses. There will always be very good reasons to not do something wild and crazy. A family member is ill. You have a mortgage. Kids. Maybe you can’t do two years abroad, but you can do two weeks doing something you always thought would be cool. Life is too god damned short to be that person wistfully wishing you had done something that you can still do. Decide to do it (e.g., India). Figure out what you need to do it (e.g., time to save up money for both living and covering loan payments). Make it happen (e.g., buy the plane tickets and worry about the rest later). Seriously. You will not regret it, and your grandkids will think you’re a bad ass and want to be just like you. If you want it badly enough, you will make it happen. Otherwise, you’re making a decision not to follow that path and you should move forward without regrets. What good are regrets if you don’t have the opportunity to learn from them?
1 Without health insurance, you do what you can. There’s a community place in Silver Spring with affordable rates.