6.11.2012

Missing: Perspective

It's not a surprise to most of you that I'm not working my dream job right now.

When I sat down with the HR guy to go over paperwork when I was hired, he scanned my application while I was signing my life away on what seemed like hundred of papers. At one point he looked up at me and said

"You graduated from college with a 3.7 GPA?? Wow. So....why are you here?"

It felt like a slap in the face. I know he was trying to be nice. He told me he had a daughter roughly my age and I could tell he was just concerned I wasn't reaching my potential. I appreciated his concern, and in a way it was a bit of comfort to me that someone else thought I was capable of more. But it didn't stop me from crying the whole way home that night.

It's been about thirteen months since I've graduated from college. I was so consumed in all my school work and wedding planning I honestly didn't give much thought about what I would do after graduation and the wedding. When we got back from our honeymoon I spent hours job searching every day. To be honest, I didn't think I would have too much trouble finding a job. I mean, I graduated Magna Cum Laude, I wrote for my college newspaper, I was a French tutor, and I had several good jobs on my resume. But I got zero interviews. Zero phone calls. Nothing.

Several months later I got my one and only job offer. I knew it was a job I wasn't going to like because I had a friend already working there, but I took it because it meant I could move back to Ohio. I got a job as a Customer Service Rep for Verizon Wireless, which meant I basically answered phones all day, explained bills, did some tech support, and mainly got screamed at every day. Not going to lie, I was a bit embarrassed to tell people my job. But at the same time, I knew I was lucky to get a job offer.

The job had 19 weeks of training. The first 6-7 weeks were great. I was only on the phone a handful of times, and the people I worked with were so much fun. I'm a bit of a techie at heart, so I really enjoyed the tech support. I thought I could handle it.

But then it got so much worse. We had a 12 week period called transition. It meant that we were on the phones 8 hours a day, but we had people constantly with us to help us and answer questions.

Those weeks were some of the worst ever. I'm a pretty sensitive person, and I don't have the thickest of skins. Yes, I did develop one, but it's never easy to have people constantly tell you you're stupid. I could handle the mean, catty women, but so many grown men called me derogatory names, and told me I'm stupid and worthless. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think men should ever speak to women that way. Ever. I constantly wanted to remind them that I'm someone's wife and someone's daughter. How would they feel if someone spoke to their wife or daughter that way?! I know my dad and husband would have physically harmed some of those men had they been able. And let's be honest, I would've helped!

After several months of being told I'm dumber than a monkey, I'm stupid, I'm worthless, etc., I started to believe it. It was like a broken record in my ear every day. Plus, our performance was based on surveys from the customer. I once politely refused to give a man a $250 device for free, so I got a failing score (which, by the way, on a scale of 1-10, anything below 8 is failing). Several elderly men failed me because they didn't understand how to work their phones. I once got a phone call from a store agent to confirm someone's address. When the customer got confused about who the survey was for and failed me, management wouldn't overturn it. More than two failed surveys a month means you become "developing." If you're developing for more than a couple consecutive months, you're basically fired. My stats were horrible, despite the fact that I did well on the phone (which is a miracle for a shy girl like me). I started crying every morning before work, and I hid in the bathroom stalls and cried during my breaks. And it wasn't just me. So many other girls were struggling the same way. The last few weeks I became physically ill from the stress and emotions. My stats and survey scores had gotten so bad, I knew I needed to quit before they fired me. I spent the mornings at interviews for other jobs, and the afternoons and evenings at work. I prayed like I had never prayed before. I desperately wanted to find a job before Christmas, because Verizon was going to have me work Christmas Eve & Christmas, and New Years Eve & New Years. The week of Thanksgiving I was finally offered the job I have now, so I took it. And I left Verizon. And it was the best feeling ever.

Though I kind of hate this job too, I would still take it over my previous job in a heartbeat. And on bad days here I only have to think back to the days at Verizon and I instantly offer up a prayer of thanks.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I still can't help but think this job isn't right either. I am grateful to have a job in this economy. I am grateful to have health insurance and not cry every morning before work. I am grateful I no longer deal with the general public at work (who, by the way, I officially hate). But I also feel like there was no way I was put on this earth to make people copies all day. But then I internally punch myself for sounding so prideful and ungrateful.

But then I sit at my desk under the seventeen fluorescent lights and think back to how hard I worked in college. I poured my heart and soul in my school work. As much as I hated it, I loved it. I spent nights and weekends at my white desk, mug full of coffee, and wrote. I wrote stories and poems and french research papers. I loved it, and I miss it. And sometimes I wonder if all that hard work was in vain. I mean, I know it wasn't, but sometimes it feels like it. I know my English degree is not very marketable, but I also know if I could do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing other than tacking on another foreign language minor. But where is it getting me? And grad school is not financially an option right now. If anyone should go to grad school, it should be James.

I've applied for other jobs, but all I can seem to qualify for are jobs exactly like the one I'm doing right now. And I don't want to keep job hopping to the same job at different companies. And I know we've all read the articles about how recent grads are unemployed or underemployed. I know it's not just me in this situation, but it doesn't make me any less restless. I feel like I have untapped potential, and I don't want to rot and throw talent away at a place like this.

So I think, do I quit and pursue writing? How does one even do that? Or do I stay until I get pregnant and then stay home with babies? And if I do that, why does it feel like I'd be throwing those years away? I know...try to write while keeping this job. I've tried. But how does one work a full time job, be a wife/friend/daughter, cook, work out, clean, and pursue another career? I know my limits. And that's past them.

And I think about how my dad always says the world needs ditch diggers too. We can't all pursue our dreams, can we? I mean, someone has to do these jobs. I guess I secretly was hoping it wouldn't be me. And it has nothing to do with getting rich. I don't care about money. I just want to do what I'm meant to do, and I know this can't be it.

And then I read this quote:

"We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."
-Oswald Chambers


And I'm as confused as ever. And I get frustrated because I feel like maybe I should stay here. And I don't want to. All the doors opened at just the right time for me to leave Verizon and start this job. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God put me here. But I'm getting that itch again to leave, and I'm not sure what to do with it.

Sigh.

Thanks for listening, friends. I love you guys.

20 comments:

  1. Girl, you and I are in the exact same boat. It seriously feels like I'm reading a page out of my journal. Even though the situation sucks, I'm glad to know that there are others out there that feel the same way as I do. :(

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  2. Once again, we're #twinning.

    I worked as a Development Assistant for a motivational speaker after I graduated from college. I cried on my way to work everyday, too. Awful. I hated being on the phones, trying to get her gigs, with her sitting right next to me, judging every word I said. Luckily, she moved to California - and helped me get the job I have now.

    Which, I also hate. I've applied for other jobs, and have been on a couple of interviews, but nothing I wanted. I know I need to get out of the non-profit world, and will soon, but I need to wait until after my eye surgery so I don't lose insurance approval.

    I can't imagine working for Verizon. After hearing your story, I understand why they are all so miserable when I call. I wouldn't be happy, either!

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  3. My heart breaks for you reading this. I'll be praying friend!

    My only word of advice is pray. I'm sure you're already doing that! In those times of confusion or feelings of being lost that's all we have. Though it's hard, take heart in fact that God is leading your path. My favorite all time verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

    I think everyone struggles with what you're going through at one time or another. I know I did about 3 years ago when I was working full-time as a nanny and feeling overwhelmed and unhappy all of the time. I too would cry before work, cry while at work and cry when I went home. While I do feel there is some merit in staying somewhere, because it's where God wants you. I also feel that God gives you those feelings for a reason. That could be His way of speaking to you. I'm glad your at least "happier" at your currant job then at Verizon, but God wants us to live this life to it fullest. While I agree with your dad that there is a need for ditch diggers too, that doesn't mean that you aren't meant to go for your dreams. Nor does it mean that those "ditch diggers" aren't going for their dreams.

    As I said, you'll be in my prayers!

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  4. You just broke my heart in pieces. Everyone deserves to follow their dreams. It's just that for some people, work is less important than the other dreams they have, so it isn't "giving up" or "settling" for them to have those more menial jobs.

    We are in this place right now too. I am absolutely blessed I have the job I have, but it is a lot like running on a hamster wheel... I will never get any further in it than I am at this very second. But until A finishes college, we need me to keep this job. While I would love to go back to school full-time for my accounting degree, all I can manage right now is part-time. So I'm doing my best to remember that if it weren't for my job, we wouldn't be able to have A in school full-time. That he would be working part-time and going to school part-time if it weren't for this amazing opportunity I was given.

    But soon, Michelle... soon you and I are going to have our chances to chase our dreams. Hang in there, it will get better.

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  5. oh you poor thing. i don't think that you're missing perspective at all. i think you're seeing things quite clearly and want it to be black and white. i think it is possible to be thankful that you have a job but wanting more for yourself. it makes perfect sense that you don't understand how to have a full time job and be a writer as well as not having the first clue how to get writing assignments. figuring out who you are and what you're supposed to do isn't an easy thing. my husband is in a similar boat. he doesn't like his job and is looking for a new one and nothing is panning out. it is a long, frustrating road. i think your quote is right. you're supposed to be at your job right now. God wants you there and He wants to teach you something. the only reason maybe for you to figure out that it isn't what you want and that you deserve better. my friend, you are not a ditch digger!

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  6. Oh girl! Really I understand.
    I am too thankful that I have a job but I am longing for more... a new location a new well perspective.
    I am praying for you praying that the Lord make doors swing open or SLAM shut...abundant clarity.

    :)
    if all else fails there is always Chipolte and Mad Men :)

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  7. Darling, think about it this way. If the itch is there, isn't that there for a reason similar to the ones that caused the stars to line up when you left Verizon? There's no reason you should give up on your dreams. They are your dreams for very real reasons. I know this much, beautiful, we're not meant to hate where we are. If you hate it, it's not where you're destined to be. I hope something comes to light for you soon! <3

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  8. I think you know that there isn't any easy answer. Everyone deserves their dreams, and some of those ditch diggers are exactly where they want to be. My hubby is going through a similar situation and it is heart breaking for me to watch him be so stressed about work all the time. I have told him to quit, but like you, he understands that he is lucky to even have a job (he has a journalism degree and is a writer for the local paper.) Praying for you!

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  9. Ugh I hate all that for you (and those mean Verizon customers)! Okay, I admit I am a Verizon customer but I've never called for customer service so that means I'm still nice right? Lol. Poor logic, I know. I really hope that God either opens doors for you soon. I've had crappy jobs for what seems like forever but I know that they will eventually lead to something I'll love. I hope the same happens for you :) (but sooner than later).

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  10. I so have faith in you. If anyone can and should be a published writer, it's you, dear. And if it helps any, as much as you might not like where you are at this moment, I would do nearly anything to have that English degree- even though I'm 99% sure I wouldn't use it, and would still be staying home with Millie. It's such an accomplishment, no matter where life leads.

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  11. Wow can i just give you the biggest hug ever!! I am on a similar boat then you with similar thoughts but that quote was right on, and what I needed to hear. God puts us where He wants us. Sometimes we forget that God can give us an amazing job but He has where we are for a reason. Thank you so much for this reminder.

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  12. girl...i am aching for you, i can't can't can't believe you were told you were dumb or worthless, honestly? i can't handle hearing that.

    I have faith too that it will all work itself out in time. In my post today I talk about how in times of great suffering and trial and confusion, so much is to be gained, and I know you'll look back one day and see it this way! Remember, God could or I should say IS building your character and is most likely wanting to teach you something!!! Hang in there sweetie, I am sorry for this, and I wish I could hug you too!

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  13. Girl, we need to talk! Mr. TBS and I have had so many talks about the future, our careers, when we might move and where it will be to, saving money, etc. When an opportunity I really wanted in my company came up two weeks ago, we had a long talk about it, because it would have meant moving again. He also saw an opportunity he wanted in another city (but still in TX). There were two things that we both wanted but would mean major changes for us.

    After nearly exhausting the issue, I came to the decision that I wouldn't apply for the job. We have spent the last six years dreaming about living in a country setting, having weekends off (which I have NEVER had before and he hadn't had in ages), and finally doing better than "breaking even". NOW we are finally in that place! We may not have our dream jobs (FAR from it), but you know what? I feel like the Universe has rewarded us and brought us to this point, and while we can continue to reach for more and better ourselves, I think we're meant to just enjoy THIS. Right now. Enjoy where we are and breathe. We're both so ambitious that we're constantly look for MORE, and I think this is a lesson in patience and enjoyment for me. I've always been taught to seize opportunities, and I'll continue to do that. But right now, I think I'm learning that success doesn't happen overnight. I'll get there, but right now isn't our time to move and start over again. That time will come, but it's not right now.

    If only we we fortune tellers we could put our minds at ease, right? ;-)

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  14. I can so relate! I graduated in 2009 and followed my husband around the country pursuing his career. Thus, I have basically been unemployed or severely underemployed for 3 years. It's heartbreaking. I've had to readjust my view of what my life should be. It's getting better and I have new dreams now, but it's still hard. Thanks for sharing!

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  15. somehow, i missed this post until now.

    i can relate to a lot of what you're saying. and even though i'm in a different season now, i still struggle with some of the same thoughts (in terms of writing). i've had some pretty awful jobs. but then, i've had some pretty amazing jobs, too.

    and this is coming from a girl who's major was creative writing/journalism. so, have faith that there is merit in your english degree. :)

    i've learned over and over that God puts you in specific places throughout your life for purposes that are above your own perspective. it may be to grow you in certain areas, to make you even more grateful when he opens the door you've been waiting for, or even just so you can be a light to those around you.

    as a christian, you are called. you are part of a larger, beautify story of redemption. there is joy to be found wherever you are, when you think of the larger picture. and remember. this is a season. it won't last forever. and you will be better because of it.

    praying for you, friend. ♥

    p.s. i think we should start a writing club, to get our butts motivated. :)

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  16. there is no way to sufficiently tell you how much this post 100% describes where I'm at and how I'm feeling... all the way down to my husband getting to go to grad school first. thank you for this. and best of luck to both of us!

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  17. This post is amazing. So honest and real. Thank you for sharing all of your concerns and heartache and confusion with us! I felt the same way. That I was wasting away at a job with untapped potential. I still feel that way, though I've been at my current job for four years. There are perks to working here, but I knew that I wasn't happy and I needed more. I started grad school and I love it! I'm so excited about my future career as a counselor. I know you said grad school isn't an option for you, but is there anything about your job that you do like? I think sometimes it's so easy to get bogged down in the negative, especially coming from a very negative environment like you did at Verizon. It's hard to get out of that funk and it took me a long time too. I still have moments/days/weeks of funkiness.

    Can you start something in your office to make it more fun? To engage with your coworkers a little more. To boost morale? Like monthly potlucks? It's hard to get out of your funk if you're around other people who are in a funk too. Maybe you need to start a fun squad. I'm on my offices fun squad! It's something silly, but we have fun planning different events for coworkers like showers and potlucks, etc. Morale can be very low sometimes, so it's nice to have a pick-me-up. And maybe something like that would help you to start seeing your place of employment in a more positive way until something better comes along or you can pursue your writing career full time.

    I know what it's like to be so busy you barely have time to think for yourself. But maybe try to schedule in writing time into your weekly schedule to help release some of your untapped potential and do something you love.

    But I think sometimes we have to take our turn as ditch diggers so that we can fully appreciate when a fabulous opportunity comes up. You will get there, hun. You're not that far out of school, so don't get too discouraged! Maybe you're not looking for the right type of job or not giving a particular job due diligence because you think you'd be unqualified. You just never know until you try. Sounds like you've tried before and failed, but you did get one phone call. And that's all it takes.

    Keep your head up! I know it's frustrating sometimes, I've been through a couple rounds of what you're feeling, but the opportunity will present itself exactly when you need it :)

    P.S. I like Ash's idea of a writing club! That could be fun!

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  18. I just found your blog, so I'm getting caught up. I love that you see the humor in your job even if you hate it and it's because of that that I think there MUST be something better out there for you. I don't know you, but your writing has the ability to make people laugh (and cry), and that is a true talent.

    I graduated from undergrad with an English Lit degree, and, like you, I really didn't think about what I wanted to do after the big day when I got my diploma (from OSU!). I mean, I just like reading books and writing essays, isn't that enough? After a few years of random jobs (construction, candy/popcorn factory, bartending) I decided one day, after many months of back-burner thoughts, that I wanted to be an English teacher. It was an odd moment of clarity that I couldn't have predicted in a million years, and within 2.5 years I had a Masters in Education, applied to 50+ jobs, lived in 2 different states, and ended up in Idaho teaching middle school English. Whaaat!?! What I'm saying is, that moment of knowing what you want to do doesn't necessarily come when it's convenient or when you expect it, but it does happen. I think it will happen for you. Just keep your head up. Oh, and keep laughing at your coworkers. Nothing makes a bad situation better than seeing how ridiculous it is and laughing at it!

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  19. I'm so sorry...this post made me so sad and flew me back to when I was in the same position with a job. When a job makes you cry every day, it's definitely time to leave. I'll be praying for you-- job stuff for me is kind of up in the air these days too so it's nice (kind of?) to read about someone who is in the same boat. :)

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  20. Oh my God girl. Wow. I totally and completely feel you. I my first adult job after college was like--a total let down. Didn't they tell you that you get a great job when you get out of college? Its like all that hard work was FOR NOTHING. I cried. I thought my dreams were over. My first job after college was at the Virginia Tech food service, working from 6pm to 2:30, 3 am. I hated it. I saw so many drunk college students. I made one million chicken sandwiches. It was so late. I gained so much weight from weird eating and sleeping and I never really saw my boyfriend and it was like living in a totally different world. Like there was no hope. Everyone else there had worked there for so long and it was like all their dreams were crushed. It was awful. I did that for two years until I couldn't take it anymore and I begged my boss to switch me to days, and so I had to give up my "full time with benefits" position and go to crew, but it was worth it. It was a little better, even if I gave up my health care and hours and I only had a job as crew during the school year and had to make due during breaks. Then I got a job at a call center. I totally know how you feel. The yelling. The agony. The ANNOYING people. I learned to not pay any attention while they were yelling. I would let them yell and surf the internet. Seriously.

    Its so weird, most of my friends don't have jobs in their major. I actually know like one who does, besides my husband. I also filled out a million job applications, and only got one call back, from VT food service. Hah. Sigh. O_o I think they need to tell people more of what its like in the real world while in college and not give us all these dreams of a great job. I am grateful for my jobs--and I know I wasn't the perfect employee, and made a lot of mistakes and I complained a bit sometimes. Now that I'm trying this "creative" thing, I've never been happier. I'm glad I get to have this period in my life... HUGS.

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