“A year ago you did not know today. You did not know how you’d make it here. But you made it here. By grace, you made it here.”
I have to take a deep breath when I think about where I was a year ago. To put it lightly, it was not the best of times. I had just felt the sting of a potential job I was crazy about slipping through my fingers. Two weeks prior, I had received an email from the company letting me know that I was their top candidate and to expect a formal offer within a week. They were waiting for budgets to be finalized before they could present it. Two weeks passed and my would-be-manager reached out with a long, apologetic email breaking the news that they had lost funding.
I was crushed. Even to this day thinking about it makes my stomach tighten. I had envisioned being in this job so clearly that I convinced myself it was my big break; My ticket to a stable career path. I was more than ready to be whisked away from the uncertainty of job hunting. So clueless was I about the possibility of the job falling through that I already bought my first ($1500) Mac. A fitting reward for the amazing new writing career I was about to embark on.
That wasn’t the first time I dealt with disappointment with my job search. After graduation the previous year, I had landed in a full-time job at my alma mater; an exciting find at the time as I thought my calling was in Higher Education. Since I loved my campus jobs as a student, I figured what better place to start a career than the campus I had grown to love?
Lots of places, it turns out. I learned the hard way that anything can feel like it’s meant to be if it’s easy. And that is exactly the type of job it turned out to be: Easy. Safe. In every concievable way. I took the same route to work that I had taken for the past four years. Worked with the same campus administrators I already had relationships with. Hung out with the same group of friends I had in college because they studied down the hall from my cube (not a bad thing, but safe nonetheless). The kitchen staff even called my personal line on the rare occasions that they made macaroni and cheese pizza because they knew it was my favorite. Everything about the job was nestled deep inside my comfort zone. A place that soon started to feel stuffy and cramped.
Only six months in I found myself wanting something new; something challenging. It didn’t add up that my part time jobs I held in college had more room for growth than this full-time one. As terrifying as it was to look beyond my familiar campus, I knew it was necessary if I wanted to avoid that messy quarter-life crisis no-one talks about.
Flash forward to quitting that job only to have my dream one slip between my fingers. I was forced to face the daunting reality of being out of a job and searching for work full-time. Every interview felt like a lifeline and each rejection like a severed rope, sending me coldly back into uncertain waters. The hardest part was never knowing when the next raft would come along.
This desperate time pushed me to apply to some interesting places. Finding jobs was so difficult that when I did see one I qualified for, I would immediately begin drafting a cover letter without so much of a glance at company reviews. I got into such a routine of scanning job descriptions that I barely paid attention to the places I was applying to.
This is the only way I can explain my genuine shock at getting a call from a plumbing manufacturer for a phone interview. I racked my brain as I listened to the voicemail from a bubbly HR employee inviting me to give her a call back. I couldn’t help but wonder if I actually applied for this job or if they were those spammy companies that try random phone numbers they find on Indeed. I searched my Desktop for a cover letter addressed to this place and sure enough it was there. Written as if it would be nothing short of a dream-come-true to work for them. “Of course they called,” I couldn’t help but think. “I’m not getting traction from anyone except this random plumbing place.”
I just knew that this was going to be a boring job at a weird place and it would be disappointing if I actually got it because instead of a great writing career I would have a career in plumbing, of all things. But I did what you do when you have no other options and it’s your third month without a job: I called them back. And boy, I’m glad I did.
A year ago I could not have guessed where I would be today. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how or when I’d secure the job I was so desperately searching for. I would never have guessed that getting a call from a manufacturer would lead me down an exciting path of account management. I wish I could tell June, 2017 Kristy that things would turn out way different than I imagined, but that they would still be great. That despite missing out on what I thought was the start of my writing career, I instead ended up at a job that challenges me in a million different ways. One that allows me to write a blog I’m passionate about in my spare time.
A year ago I did not know today. But I made it here. By grace, I made it here.