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July 18, 2006

Next time you hear me sigh, you'll know what I mean.

It was a wilderness-black night, right after the worst storm of the season. I personally had only seen the flashbulb lightening without any wind or rain. But all around me there were the effects of a bad storm. The shade tents at my church had been bent like a child clumisly stepping on a model railroad. Even the old Weeping Willow tree that had been there for as long as I can remember was snapped in half, apparently by violent wind. While I must have been miles away, unseen forces were at work, tearing apart the fragile and the strong all at once.

I had just been rejected for the sixth progressively less interesting job I'd had a reasonable chance of getting. As I drove home over the pathetic confetti of tree limbs and wet leaves, I realized that, miles away, unseen forces were at work, tearing apart my fragile emotions and strong self-confidence all at once.

THere are a number of things making me unhappy right now. Lets just hit on a few of them to make me feel better. The left-front wheel of my car could fly off at any minute. Not entirely unrelated to that problem is the constant rattle and shake coming from the same wheel well. I'll spare you the details of the seven or eight holes in my car, currently filled with stuff like liquid nails, reinforced with chicken wire. My job at work (which is ending in approximately two weeks) is unsatisfying because I'm running out of things I can be doing and forced to "look busy" all the time. The twenty minutes it will take to write this is the only "alone time" i've had with my self in probably two weeks. I can't write music. Earlier in the day I lost a game of mini-golf after showing strong promise early on - which is a well-documented trend, in fact - vis a vis my current situation. I'm getting married in three weeks and I have to work very hard these days to focus on good things like that. Mostly I just wonder what the hell went wrong.

I think about what people say - "The winners are the ones that don't take it personally and get out there and keep at it," etc, etc... I have the kind of fortitude that would allow me to do that. But I don't want to keep at it, for the same reason I hold back tears while I drop Kristin off at home. I'm in conflict between a demonstrated confidence in my abilities, intelligence, and motivation and the situation that is so rapidly becoming apparent that no one can find something useful enough for me to do on earth that they would afford me the chance to live off it. Believe me, I feel like crying. And believe me, I'm comfortable with two conflicting ideas living together in my mind. This time, I just can't reconcile it. Either a positive attitude or tears would signify one idea winning out against the other - and I just can't decide which reality is most appropriate. For right now, I just feel like sleeping.

Obviously, I'm in a bit of a state. And it is NOT likely to be resolved until my life stops being wasted. If there are any older and/or wiser people reading this, blaming it primarily on that sense of entitlement noticeable in many recent college grads, I offer this in my defense: I do not expect a job to fall into my lap. However, speaking in fiscal terms, an education, however, is an investment, and if it produces no return (as so far it is failed to do), it is obviously not a very good one. At any rate, I feel marginalized, locked out of a social structure that I find appealing and unavoidable.

So next time you hear me sigh, this is what I mean.

Posted by pedalboy at July 18, 2006 1:47 AM | TrackBack

I can really sympathize with how your feeling, because I felt exactly the same way for most of last school year. I started applying for newspaper internships in September and to grad schools in Decembmer. Each successive rejection letter I got made it feel more like I just wasn't good enough to make it at the one thing I though I was good at. Every internship I applied for rejected me in a nicely worded letter. Every grad school did the same. Apparently I wasn't a very good journalist or a very good poet, or so it seemed. Finally, I thought I might get an internship in Danville. Not ideal, but something. I drove to Indiana to write a story for them. I drove to Danville to do an interview. I was rejected yet again. I felt even lower than before.
But finally, just after I got home from turning in the last project of my college career, I got a call from a paper who I'd sent a resume to weeks before. They wanted to interview me. I drove straight to the interview on my way home from Champaign after graduation. It went well. They wanted to give me a second interview. And I waited and waited and waited, and finally I got it. And finally I got a job. Not a great job. But a job. Is it the best use of my abilities? Who knows. But it's something.
I guess the point I'm trying to make with this long-winded comment is that I know exactly how you feel. I have a stack of rejection letters to prove it. What I'm trying to say, I guess, is hang in there. Something will happen. If it did for me, it most definitely will for you.
And you're getting married. That's amazing.

Posted by: Dan at July 18, 2006 1:03 PM

"I guess the point I'm trying to make with this long-winded comment is that I know exactly how you feel. I have a stack of rejection letters to prove it. What I'm trying to say, I guess, is hang in there. Something will happen. If it did for me, it most definitely will for you."

Yea, what Dan said. The road before you certainly isn't an easy one, but it is the one you're called to. There is a job out there for you, Matt, and God knows what it is and He will lead you to it, but not a moment before you're supposed to be there. For now, perhaps you should consider the lilies (Matthew 6:28) ;)

Posted by: Kristina at July 18, 2006 2:50 PM

Oh the limbo that is the 6-12 months following college...the situation is bad enough to depress a hyena.

I am an older "viewer" but would never accuse someone as enterprsing as you of having an overactive sense of entitlement. The job search process is not set up to make you feel wanted. Its set up to make you feel reluctantly greatful for the job you grudgingly take to pay the bills. And then the soul-sucking daily grind begins. At least those of us in education have the start of the school year as a job hunting "deadline." I imagine the fear for you guys in other fields is that you'll simply never find something.

My advice to you, instead of telling you the standard "chin up" is to try to de-emphasize the importance of each individual interview/application. Job hunting is stressful, as you know all too well. And the longer we are on the market, the more we assume that there isn't a place for us. And this can lead us to adjust our interviews, resumes and even what we consider to be an acceptable job.

DON'T let this happen to you Matt! Be honest with yourself and what your strengths and desires are. And when the right job comes along, which it will (as Kristina says) at the right time, give all of yourself to it knowing that you didn't settle and that your life and future are better for having lived through the trial.

And, even if the work you get is in the field of music, be sure to allow yourself the time to MAKE music of your own. Just being around it isn't enough...I learned that the hard way.

Best of luck sir...I trust with all my heart that the better part of your search is over.

Posted by: Ralph at July 19, 2006 4:06 PM

Hi hon. I'm sorry, you're having icky luck. But I just wanted to point out that you are registered at amazon for a Ronco Food Dehydrator, Yogurt Maker and Beef Jerky Machine. I am really considering getting it for you. That's all.

Posted by: Allison at July 19, 2006 8:51 PM

What about the battle tank, Allison?


Posted by: matt rebuts! at July 19, 2006 9:01 PM

No, I'm getting the tank for you, Matt. You guys are just going to have to wait a LONG time for it. Maybe by your 20th wedding anniversary I'll be able to afford it!

Posted by: Kristina at July 20, 2006 9:16 AM

Hey Kristina, if the food dehydrator doesn't pan out, I will go in with you on the tank!! (Then maybe we can get it by their 10th anniversary. )

Posted by: Allison at July 23, 2006 11:59 AM
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