Life is a roller coaster: Just when I thought the tide was changing…

Been a bit quiet on this space again, I know.  Life is a roller coaster.  My job search needed to be a priority.  I had hoped with dogged focus and an unexpected burst of energy (propelled by desperation, really), I’d be out the door from my current situation and into a new job by November.  Well, that was a fairy tale.

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A few weeks ago, out of the blue, an executive recruiter sent me an e-mail with a new opening within my industry. I wasn’t interested. If you know my struggles over the past year and a half, seen my occasional disturbing tweets, you know why.  However, although I hadn’t heard from this recruiter in quite some time, she was actually one of the few I liked over the years, so I replied.  Over a series of back and forth messages, a call was arranged for the next day.

We talked. And we talked. I was in the middle of a full day conference and I missed over an hour of a session.  I made it clear:  I was only interested in looking at a new position outside my industry — still in a marketing and communications role, but not dealing with the types of people I had had to deal with for the past 13-plus years.  I was over that. I was tired. Not just physically, but emotionally.

In 21st century girl speak, I want my “happy” back.

She persuaded me to give the position one more serious thought overnight.  In her words, she said this opening was a rare opportunity since many people working there ended up staying for years.  They had very little turn-over.  This was a place where she proclaimed I would thrive.   They were eager to meet me.  (Huh?  Had she shared my resume with them?  No. But, she’d sold me to them, read off my credentials, talked to them about all I had done and my industry association volunteer efforts.)  I would be challenged, she said, and if I was ultimately hired, it could be a great springboard to even better opportunities.

The next 24 hours, my head was heavy.  I was off Twitter.  I needed to avoid noise.  I needed to think.  Do I pursue this?  I hate (yes, hate) the situation I was currently in.  My job had turned me into someone I didn’t like.  This pint sizer, born in the Age of Aquarius, was dying inside and maybe this was God’s way of helping me to save myself.  He was giving me a lifeline.  Should I take it?  In my heart, how did I feel?

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I rang her up the following afternoon during a very late lunch hour.  Our 35-minute discussion began with my decision which was “thanks but no thanks” and ended with “okay, if you address two issues (yes, I had issues), I’ll have a conversation with them”.  It was a strong “maybe”.

After another phone call the following day, the pendulum swung to a “yes”.  I agreed to an interview.  Two days later, I was in the middle of 65-minute phone interrogation.  I felt it went well.  But, as I told the recruiter when we had our post-interview conversation, I never truly know about these things.  When you think you do well, it may be all in your own head.

Three days later, I was sitting in a shiny conference room with one of the heads of marketing who would be the ultimate decision-maker about who would be offered the position.  Obviously, the phone interview had gone well.  Now I needed to pass interrogation number two.

In another post-interview discussion with the recruiter, I said these words:

“If we don’t hear from them by Friday, then I’ll know they’re not interested.”

Although the department head appeared to like me, appreciated my candor and could see what I had on paper was backed up by substance coming from my mouth, I felt disappointment was lurking.  The recruiter disagreed.  I needed to remain positive, she said, and do away with the silly Friday deadline.

Friday came and went and then into another week we came.  Still, no call.  Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday.

At 8:31 a.m. last week Thursday, I received a voice mail from the recruiter.  The company made an offer to the other candidate.  I was in competition with one other individual who, it seems, had less experience and who was more in harmony with their salary expectations.

I was this close.  It was over.  I was faced with the reality — again — that I would have to suffer through another holiday season in the place I wanted so desperately to escape.  I was going to experience another Times Square ball drop knowing after the hoopla of January 1st, I would be back in the office on January 2nd, 2014.

Just when I thought the tide was changing…

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You want to know what I’m really feeling and thinking?  I should have never bent.  I should have never listened to her.  How many phone calls did we go through?  Six?  Eight?  She’d sung me the song of, “They want you so badly…”.  I was wooed hard.  I got sucked in.

I knew this was going to happen.

I had been down this road so many times in the past.  I’m feeling all kinds of raw right now.  I’ve stifled my feelings since Thursday, but I’m hurt.  I put myself out there and I’m sitting on my couch typing a blog post wishing instead that I was typing a resignation letter.  I would be nervous about starting over in a new place, meeting new people and proving myself to a new set of powers-that-be, but I would be ready — excited at a new experience that lay ahead.

So much for that.

How many times do I comfort myself with, “Everything happens for a reason”?

I’m over it.

Man, new year, same old sh*t. Not a good way to start. smh.

Photo Credit: freeHDwallpapers.in

Photo Credit: freeHDwallpapers.in

With what amounted to 12 days away from the office, I wasn’t necessarily ready to return  to the daily grind on Wednesday, but at some point, I’d have to.  Better to treat it as a Band-Aid and ripping it off, rather than peeling it off slowly, right?   It made no sense to delay the inevitable by putting it off until the second week of January.

Unfortunately,  a dark cloud from 2012 followed me right into the new year.  Things are already tense in the office with one of the chief executives.  So incredibly tense that I thought to myself:

The writing’s on the wall.  I’m not sure I’m going to have a job for long here — and they may just let me go.

It’s almost too difficult put it out into the universe because I have this fear that if I put it out there, it will come.

It’s no secret how I feel about my ex-bosses, both of whom held the position I hold as chief marketing person.  They got away with a whole lotta sh*t.  I’ll just leave it at that because if I say anymore, it will be vicious.  Anyway, after yet another tense exchange with said executive, I was just sick to my stomach.  How many times do I have go through dealing with someone who feels they have all the answers?  How many times must I have someone tell me what I know to be true isn’t?  How many times do I have feel like the job that I’m supposed to be doing has watered down to pretty much being a glorified f*cking secretary?  I feel my worth is like the worst currency.  I feel no trust.  None.  I’m not given respect as a professional with experience in a particular area, I’m just their go-to-gal that they have to do what they say when they say that gets paid — no questions asked.  Sh*t, only a whore works like that.  I’m not walking around with an advanced degree trying to be a whore.  I sacrificed too much to put myself through school for this craziness.

During a texting exchange with a cousin about the overall problems I was facing at the office, it brought up memories of the numerous all-nighters I pulled while pursuing my degrees.  Unlike the execs I’m working for who seem to know it all and are so desperate to chip away at my spirit and are determined to show me up in front of other execs to boost their egos, The West Indian Mother could not afford to assist with educational expenses — although she supported in many other ways.  I worked full time.  I went to school full-time.  I would never, ever suggest doing that.  It practically killed me.  You have zero time for friends, none to take care of yourself, you’re basically existing, going through the motions, like on autopilot.  But, I was possessed and determined.  I was a nightmarish Type A New Yorker.  And I need to put up with this sh*t?  There has got to be another way!

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I’ve been struggling with my updating my resume — absolutely struggling.  I refuse to use a resume service.  Hundreds of dollars and I don’t care what they say, it isn’t worth it.  The dollars I have in my pocket are the dollars I’m going to keep.  I plunk down hundreds of dollars, then what?  Does it guarantee a job?  No. It doesn’t even guarantee someone would even respond to the resume for me to even get an interview.  Trust me.  If there’s anything the last five years has taught me, there are a lot of extremely qualified individuals out there with say, 90%+ of what a company would have jumped at 6 – 10 years ago, but now turn up their noses because they don’t have everything.  Companies can’t be bothered to train prospective employees or waste time for them to get through a learning curve no matter how small.  Yes, I realize these times are tough for employees and employers, and the money isn’t flowing like it used to, but c’mon, you want me to work for how much less???  How do I pay for the roof over my head and the utility bills?  I’m not taking frivolous purchasing, I’m talking about basic living expenses.  I still need to get to work?  How do I pay for transportation?  You want me to do more with less both at work and in life, but I look around and there are still many at the top, including executives I work for, with their “homes in the country” and two annual vacations, and their wives staying home?  GTFOOH.  Ridiculous.

The hope I had about working with a career coach, well, that fizzled as quickly as it came.  I contacted the woman, we had what I thought was a great 30-minute conversation, she promised to send me an e-mail with information about, among other things, her rates.  I’m still waiting.  So, I’ve decided to reach out to an industry colleague who just a few weeks ago started a new job.  Her ability to get a job that had nothing to do with temporary retail work for the holidays is inspiring.  There is hope. Yes, there is.  Maybe she could give me pointers.

I’m holding off on contacting my industry mentor.  There’s no way I could arrange a follow-up meeting without showing up with a revised resume based on the thoughts she’d suggested during our first meeting  now months ago pre-Hurricane Sandy.  Also, the last thing I need right now is yet another person saying, “You really need to get out of there.”  Um, yes, I know.  I’m trying.  Saying that to a person feels like salt in the wound after the 100th time.  I’m not snapping.  Don’t take the statement in that way.  I’m just saying, when you’re not moving forward, it chips away at your self-esteem and all the confidence in the world that you’d had before.  Yes, the self-esteem issue, the physical exhaustion and mental exhaustion are real.

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These next three months — January, February and March, if I’m not shown the door — will be extremely trying.  The stress is not healthy.  I had these knots in my stomach for now five years, and this is no way to live.  I’m surprised I don’t have an ulcer.

I worked three days already in 2013 and already I’m ranting.  I’m repeating the more modern, not original, version of the Serenity Prayer over and over.

Man, new year, same old sh*t.  Not a good way to start. smh.

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Special Note, Sunday, January 6, 2013 (12:00 noon):  No sooner do I publish this post, I jump on Twitter hours later and see an article shared by Black Girl in Maine who I follow.  Remember what I said above in the statement that begins, “If there’s anything the last five years has taught me…”?  Then how coincidental is this?  “Job skills gap?  Skeptics say factors tell another story: The author says companies don’t invest in the work force and demand more that ever from job applicants, including a willingness to accept insufficient wages.