Brett and I were talking last night about career aspirations. I’ve been struggling with working from home the last year. I work for a virtual company (which I honestly love my colleagues) but I just don’t see them frequently. We generally only talk on conference calls or virtual meetings. If we do see each other, it’s once, maybe twice a year. Many of my clients are scattered all around the country so I also don’t have a lot of face-to-face contact with them. I do have a few clients in the Boston area but it’s a pretty well-oiled machine that I don’t have to drop-in very often, except for maybe some trainings here and there.
I try to work a couple of times a month from Starbucks or somewhere remotely just to have some sort of interpersonal communications with others. (If you see me, I’m that annoying person who’ll comment on the book you’re reading or ask you about the pretty colored beverage you ordered, just so I can strike up a conversation.) Because of this, I have been searching for new opportunities where I can work outside of the house because I can become so isolated and hermit-like just staying at home. There are times where I’ve gone 2 weeks without leaving the house.
I’m just feeling so stuck in where I am in my career. I feel like my back is up against a wall. I have a very good work ethic with a tons of experience and a lot to offer an employer. I’ve been applying for over a year now to places but no one is responding. I’ve re-worked my resume and cover letter for each opportunity. I’ve scattered key words from the job descriptions into them. I’ve just become so frustrated by it, thinking that something about me as an employee is just utterly wrong and unemployable. I have these irrational fears that past managers or co-workers are saying awful things about me if I put them down as references.
I just don’t know what the problem is. The only thing I can think of is my being public about the loss on social media, like on this blog and Twitter and Instagram. I feel like people don’t want to go anywhere near “the woman with the dead baby” issues because she’ll be a loose cannon and an emotional wreck all the time. If anything, work has kept me somewhat grounded during all of this. It’s given me a purpose working for different nonprofit clients and causes. I was back working a few hours the same week we lost Emmett just to keep my mind off how devastated I was.
Most of my clients don’t even know anything happened last year. They think I just took a vacation and when I would take days off here and there, it was just me enjoying the summer. Most of my colleagues don’t even know anything happened. I’ve started to tell a few of them here and there but for the most part, it’s just been the status quo.
It just got me thinking last night, “How did I end up here?” I have a Master’s in Broadcast Journalism but I work in the nonprofit sector as a website consultant. Yes, I did do my time as a freelance reporter and radio producer for several years. But, this wasn’t my ultimate career goal.
When the bright and starry-eyed me moved to Boston 14 years ago to start grad school, I had all hopes that I would one day be a professor at a university, teaching media studies with an emphasis on gender and cultural issues. My minor in undergrad was gender studies and I whole-heartedly wanted to do research into the disparity in the media in regards to gender and race. There were a lot of reasons that this didn’t happen.
One, I had been rejected by the one and only school I had ever wanted to go to – Northwestern University. So, I jumped at the first school that would accept me, which was ultimately Emerson College in Boston. At the time, I thought, ok, no biggie. But, the school was more focused on making on-air talent than creating research and analysis around communications.
I struggled to find an advisor who would help me tackle my thesis. Eventually, I just abandoned the entire endeavor altogether and just did a half-assed documentary about culture and food. It still disappoints me to this day that it’s so awful and a disgrace to the people who I worked with. It is no reflection of my ability as a story-teller or the skills that I learned in any way.
A few years later, I ended up working at a nonprofit after-school program as a teacher for minority teens to teach them about journalism and communications. It was my first true dive into nonprofits but also the one way I could still be a teacher in a way. I ultimately left that position because the org itself was being mismanaged (common in nonprofits) but I still remain in contact with several of those students today. Some have gone on to get their own Master’s degrees and be successful in their own right. I still look at them with so much pride.
It’s far too late for me now to go back and re-do some of those decisions I made in my past. I wish I would’ve fought harder for my dreams and aspirations. But, at the same time, if I had fought harder, I wouldn’t have met Brett.
I just don’t know where to go from here. I fear that I’m wandering aimlessly on some track to nowhere. I know that I want to help people for a greater good, and have a lot to share with others but I struggle with how best to accomplish that now and make a transition to something that will work for our family and when we want to start to conceive again.