I’ve been feeling like the above picture lately – gray, desolate, remote. And I can’t seem to shake the funk I’ve been mired in.
It all started a few weeks ago when a promising job opening came my way. I even had a connection that opened the door to an interview. I arrived early (but not too early), wearing a nice outfit. Did all of my research and prepared questions. And the interview started off fairly well, even predictable: Why are you interested in this position? Tell me about yourself? What would you bring to the position?
And then, things got weird.
“What do you do for self-care?” asked the interviewer. Self-care? Whatever happened to “What do you like to do in your spare time?” Why the jargon?
I was asked, “How best do you work: alone, in a group, or with a partner?”
Okay, fair enough. But the truth is, I’ve worked in all three situations and said so. Then I provided examples for each.
Then I was asked, “What do you need in an office?”
I wasn’t sure where this one was headed, so I replied, “Just a desk, computer, printer, phone, maybe one or two other things.” So how else was I supposed to answer it?
Then, the last question: “What do you need from me?” – “me” being the person who ran the business.
I answered simply. “Direction. You tell me what you need me to do and I’ll do it.”
Now, is it me, or do these questions have better answers? I mean, do I need to fill them full of jargon and illustrative prose?
On top of that, they asked for writing samples. I provided them on a flash drive, plus a portfolio of printed work, including press releases that made it into the newspapers. I left those with them. The interviewer didn’t want the flash drive.
After an extremely businesslike exit out the door, I never heard anything. After a few days, I knew I didn’t have it. I wrote a thank you email that went unanswered.
Though the job probably wasn’t a good fit for me, it still stings not to get it. And it hurt me more than I ever thought it would. The common sense side of me tells me I probably wouldn’t have liked working there, but the nebulous side of me reminds me that with each rejection, it’s pretty much a sure thing that I’m a loser.
Whatever happened to interviews where the person conducting it kept things simple? The interviewer checked out your resume, described the position in greater detail with you, asked you questions based on your experience and at some point, determined if you were qualified or not. But lately, there seems to be some kind of psychological aspect to interviews anymore, or ridiculous questions that don’t say much about what makes you the best person for the job.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.
I moved a year and a half ago, yet I can’t seem to get the contents out of all the boxes that rest in my basement and guest room. Some of that stuff I can actually use, like my stereo equipment. And books. But a lot of the stuff belonged to my parents, whose house my sister and I cleaned out after their deaths. I wound up with it and it just sits in the basement, wallowing. Ditto the guest room. But the prospect of going through it all overwhelms me.
I need to get a wall unit in my living room to put out the stereo system, but in order to do that, I need to clear out some of the furniture, which then will have no place to go. I also need a new couch, but that costs money. And I’m supposed to get a new septic tank and some construction done on the guest room, but all I see is my bank account draining. It’s all necessary work, part of owning a home, but I get completely overwhelmed just thinking out it. That, and the septic tank guy never seems to get back in touch with me, and I have yet to contact the handyman doing the construction work.
I have no reason to explain why I can’t seem to bring myself to do these things, so I go down the list:
- I’m lazy
- I’m procrastinating
- I’m useless
- and worthless
Then after repeating the above to myself over and over, I stare into space or cry. Or both.
Just writing this blog tonight has taken a vast amount of effort. I had to force myself to do it. I know it’s been weeks since I last wrote and I wonder if anyone missed it. Probably not is my guess.
It would seem I have all the symptoms of depression. I can’t snap out of it. I want to be treated for it but if I am, will it make a difference? Will I go on accepting the fact that I’m a loser who’ll never get out of Phipp’s? Will I always be in some kind of retail hell? Will the rest of my holidays be spent selling stuff to people instead of enjoying the company of what few friends I have?
I’ve never had much money. Always worked in nonprofit, but I had a decent quality of life. I had bills, sure, but I’d been able to sock some cash away for retirement (not much, mind you…at this rate, I’ll be able to comfortably retire when I’m 87). I had health insurance and dental. Every now and again, I’d been able to go someplace and let my fried brain cool down and relax. I looked forward to spending Thanksgiving with my family and baking goodies on Christmas Eve for Christmas breakfast.
Now none of these things are certainties. Everyone around me seems to have stability, while I keep searching for that elusive job that doesn’t have to be well-paying, but just enough to keep my head above water and my dignity intact.
Right now, I’m stuck.
And I’d love to be able to move again.
Love myself again.
Be proud of who I am.
But right now, I can’t.
And I wish I could.
I’ve been here. Stuck can be a dark place.