From December 2014:
I had dinner with a friend of mine over the Thanksgiving holiday. My mother doesn’t like her at all, and she very rarely has strong opinions on anything, let alone my friends, especially at this age. My mother never liked my friend, we’ll call her L. My mother has very good reason not to like L and after I speak with her, I constantly ask myself why I am friends with her. I remember one time, L made rude comments about the dishes in the sink and the mess in the car. I said something of course, and am wary about introducing her to other people I know. But also, her family was/is not as wealth as mine, so I played it off as her insecurity, especially since I don’t really care for her opinions. As I think about why I still communicate with her on occasion and even maybe call her friend, I think it’s because I have known her for so long, and she’s one of my few friends from childhood, outside of school, that doesn’t have at least one kid out of wedlock and aspired to more than just graduating from high school and finding a man. As I think about it further, my mother also has a friend that I don’t like because she insulted me, maybe there is something there as well…
Anyways, L is arrogant and annoying, but also loyal and ambitious. She’s not one you want to talk to when your down, but she’s educated, so you can have intelligent debates with her. She’s also a snob though, but I would be friends with a snob over a bum. She was supposed to go to an Ivy League college, according to her, but she’s doing pretty well without having gone to an Ivy League school, according to her. She thinks she’s quite knowledgeable although most things she says have very obvious counterarguments. She went to a summer program at an Ivy League school, and she would tell me that because she went to the summer program she would undoubtedly be attending that college, despite the fact that the fine print said that the program in no way boosted one’s chances of attending the college. Because my high school was feeder school for Ivy Leagues, did not know the extent of it until I graduated, I felt I had to apply to at least one. If I could go back, I would apply to the other one, which might have actually been a good fit, but weather and location were very important to me (academic rigor was a given). All those years, I kept my mouth shut, again because my saying anything would come across as arrogant because I actually had/could’ve had the pedigree that she wanted. I’m a legacy, sorority and college, but decided not to cash in on that either, because I wanted to be my own person. My children will have no choice, or maybe at least two between myself and my parents.
L is in law school know and had a series of jobs as a legal assistant. I don’t know the extent of her employment history, but I do know she stayed close to home until law school, when she still did not go far. Again she wanted to go to an Ivy League school, but seems well on her way to have full-time employment as an attorney after law school.
I was going to say that I am angry because despite her arrogance, she still manages to have a job and go to law school. However, it’s not that I want her to not have those things. As I think about this, I am actually quite thankful that she did not get into an Ivy League school for undergraduate or law school because NO ONE would ever hear the end of it. Unfortunately, now she wants the responsibility to fall to her children…
As I think about the one job that I wish I never agreed to, I’m also very angry that they’re still employed. I am angry that the heads of the company went to Harvard and are wealthy as the operate a patriarchal organization whose policy mirrors the practices of their home country, which should not be part of the culture of a US company as the goal is to move towards non-discriminatory practices and more of a work-life balance, and not away from it. Then again, the people that I aspire to emulate would have never worked there. So, I guess, they can have that. For most of the people there, that was the highlight, for me it was the lowlight. I said yes for the money.
There are other things that I can be angry about though, like the fact that I have very limited control over what I applied to, recruiters who recruit without understanding the industry and who give false hope, and also being in a sea of people who are under-qualified and are being hired precisely because they are under-qualified.
I worked hard to graduate from some one of the best high schools, I worked hard to graduate from one of the best colleges, and I worked hard to graduate from one of the top graduate schools in its field. Despite this, I got told by someone who was pretty and had long hair that I don’t produce results. Of all the people I had worked with, at much more respected organizations, she was the only to say this, based on her feelings. I feel like the genius on Scorpion who got arrested in Arizona and said that he could not possible be tried by his peers because of his high intellect. I do not go around saying things like that. I never even considered myself to be all that smart. Yet, when people say they’re impressed with my resume and make hints at me leaving for something better, it makes me certain that I am not being hired because I worked to hard. I had an interview once with a global company and the head guy said that unlike most people he was not afraid to hire someone smarter than him. He also was refreshed to see that I had some “normal” retail experience.
So now, I have to find some way to try to make myself appear somewhere between normal and impressive. I leave things off my resume, change the titles, remove certain responsibilities, and leave off some of the languages that I know. I tried full honesty, and it’s no longer an option. I have to make sure I smile, and act more personable and demure. I sometimes wonder if having longer hair would help, certainly in Florida… For certain companies, I have even wrote the college name of my university and not the university itself, so it’s not that obvious and I don’t have to deal with concerns over pay, etc, and all the other stereotypes that come along with it… No one seems to care about my graduate degree though, whose institution is less known that the other, so I was hoping that would create some balance.
And then it’s like, what was I supposed to do? I needed money, so I went to places that I hoped would give me the best ROI, and that I happened to enjoy as well. And now, what am I supposed to do? I tried honesty, full disclosure, and being myself, but then I get people saying things like “we don’t care where you went to school”. The only people who say that are those who do. Just like the only people who say “we’re about meritocracy” are those who aren’t. Think about it: do companies/organizations known for being meritocratic and diverse proclaim it every chance they get, or is it found somewhere on their website, or in their actions?
I’ve been dealing with a recruiter who did not get back to me until I contacted my former boss. She told me to call today, but still no response. I do not want to be a recruiter because I prefer analytical work over administrative work, and prefer not to be in customer/client-facing positions. But I sometimes wonder, if it would be better to have the actual analysts periodically receive and review the resumes, but I guess that’s what a referral is, but I had a referral, I used to work for the company before and was asked to interview for a full-time position even when I did not apply for one. (That’s one of the things I regret, but I now have a better understanding of the recruiting process.)
Most days I feel like I’m suffocating. If I had followed my high school plan, I would have been in law school now, but I wanted to try things, ignoring the fact that most people do not try things. I have made another plan, which of course has to include borrowing more from Uncle Sam, but as I think about how much debt I will have at the end of it, how I would much rather work, and how I had a plan before that got completely derailed, I just wonder if this is all futile. Then despite my best efforts I still continue to breathe. I search for jobs again, and then I stop as I think that they’re just going to hire someone less qualified.