Friday, April 4, 2008

the trifecta of my failure.

i don't have successful parents. maybe this is the seed of my careerlessness; there was no family business to learn, no parental behavioral pattern to emulate, no path to follow at all really other than financial folly and unstable living situations. is it a wonder, then, that i have not blazed a trail in any particular field and have instead dabbled? jack of, well, some trades, but master of none? it seems the natural outcome of a haphazard childhood and an undirected adolescence.

thus far in my "professional" life, i have: worked in a petstore, a library, a victoria's secret (as a sales person), a major city aquarium, a victoria's secret again (as a stock person), a stationery / gift shop, a toy store, and a furniture store; worked as an artisan applying faux finishes to sconces and mirrors and armoirs and wiring chandeliers; done door-to-door canvassing for an environmental non-profit; worked at a book store where i managed the cafe, and at another cafe that was inside of a hair salon; and finally worked at a law firm as a paralegal / legal assistant for the past two plus years. and to think, my degree is in geography.

the trouble, of course, is that no one cares about my haphazard childhood or undirected adolescence. i am now an adult, and however frustratingly or unfairly, my achievements (or lack thereof) are judged outside the context of my provided opportunities or supports. i am graded by the same criteria as people whose mothers did not battle cancer, whose fathers are not alcoholics. who were encouraged to participate in extracurriculars, rather than being scolded for asking. who were guided in the choice of the right college... and applied to more than one. who looked to a preexisting fund rather than loans and an exhausting minimum wage job to cover tuition, the rent, the food the electric - if they even thought of these costs at all. who graduated in four years, and didn't deal with a chronic illness throughout. who had the help of parents and parents' friends and professors in landing that first job in the chosen field.

together, these people and i are held up to the light side by side, rotated. and me? i come up lacking. in specific skills, in applicable experience, in social grace. i am deficient, and i am passed over. the perception, of course, is that since i am now an adult i should have made up for whatever advantages i was not given earlier with my own means. (which is a very easy thing to imagine doing, i suppose, so long as you're one of the people who never had to think about doing it for yourself.)

at this point, i can hear my therapist asking me, who is it that is judging you? and i answer: potential employers, educators, family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, classmates. and yes, granted, myself. the real question is, who isn't judging me. people judge. not because they are particularly judgmental, but because they are people, and people like quantification. it helps us to understand things. for the same reasons that science and philosophy and religion exist, i am ranked by each person that meets me on my various qualities. it is human nature to dissect and label and arrange along a linear scale, however generalizing it may be.

and so, the immutable points remain: 1) i have had less opportunity and support than some, and due to my ambitious nature i can often look at the people surrounding me and bump that "some" up to "most". 2) no one cares, and i am judged in a vacuum. 3) until a miracle occurs in bold strokes i will remain a jobless wonder.

ignore me; i'm having a wallowing kind of day.

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