A Letter to my Former Employer: I’m Number One

This is what I would very much like to say to former co-workers who had a part in my departure from this fast-food company I used to work for, either directly or indirectly. Maybe I’ll get the chance to say this one day. The company would actually be the perfect example of horrible business strategy: poor understanding of the target demographic, hostile work environment, poor work culture, sexism, racism, poor management, poor organization, frequent lawsuits from partners, crude training, no innovation, no to low standards, lack of collaboration, etc. I am trying so hard to think of one good thing about the company that it is giving me a headache, so I must stop.

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Dear All:

I want to thank you for letting me go. I had wanted to quit since after the first month, but I stayed for the money. I convinced myself to stay for just a few more months, just long enough to settle some debts and establish a solid savings. I then got the corporate card, and put off leaving until after the corporate card was paid because I was all to familiar with how well-organized the company is. Then I though it might be nice to have a corporate job on my resume for at least a year, and then that would coincide with bonus and the Olympics, so maybe I should stay a little longer for that whopping week vacation.

I had a friend looking for a job. I was honest with her and told her that I would only refer her so I would have company at work, but that I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy. From day one I felt like an outsider. From people name dropping universities, incorrectly, by putting a near by state school and MIT in the same breath not understanding that those who attend the latter have no idea what the former is, AT ALL. The way people looked at me as a minority female and really made me want to start swearing in the 5 languages I know, carry around my top tier diploma (top tier meaning “top ten of the ranked”, not just bragging about it being ranked), brag about my two degrees of separation from the president, Donald Trump, and even an MVP quarterback, and my one degree of separation from a Principal at McKinsey.

You told me the numbers were bad, the partners complained, my attendance was poor, and the little bimbo in HR dropped something about the company being “results-driven.” Where did she go to school again? While she was playing with finger puppets, I wrote a 60-page thesis, which later became a published book now available on Amazon. From what I could see, I had the best numbers period, not just for a female. As I understood the company more, I could see why that might be a problem.

The company value was falling, but that was going on prior to my arrival. I had looked at the financials hoping to talk about rapid growth, but was surprised to find none. With regards to the partners, one woman was mad that she did not get what she wanted and deleted emails to support her claim that she was being ignored. I had all the emails. Even while out for bereavement I responded, but I guess you must have believe the gossip that I was on vacation, hence “attendance issues”, despite the fact that I frequently stayed late too. The partners were frustrated in general because they were given the run-around and saw that internal communication was poor and I neither denied it or affirmed it. I tried to fix it, but as my colleagues spoke of things like “sink or swim” and “passing the hot potato” it appeared that the problems were just supposed to be swept under the rug while at the same time trying to find a scape goat. Que me.

I was your scape goat. I worked my ass off to be the best in the midst of poor organization and people running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to be the best and trying to be the elite when they can’t even distinguish up or down. You blamed me for issues with a large partner that wasn’t even mine to control. You all would have known that if you had bothered to be organized and have decent managers. Or maybe you did know. Now your rhetoric, the same one that includes “meritocracy” and “results-driven” has blown up in your face.

Before I left the bimbo from HR told me I would still have health insurance. I didn’t really believe her. I requested written confirmation and got no response. Once I needed the insurance I thought I’d call to see the status: inactive as of the end of my last month with the company. More rhetoric, but yet in the U.S. there is this thing called COBRA. Since I’m not the HR bimbo, I know what it is. Since I am not the HR bimbo, I can pull up my records where I reached out to her for confirmation of health insurance and she never responded. So I hope you enjoy the fine you will be receiving from the U.S. Department of Labor and thank you also for confirming that I was in fact surrounded by idiots while working for your company. Also, consider this payback for not paying the corporate card on time, but I will also be doing everything within my power to get you blackballed from recruiting on elite campuses, no that will not include that little state school you are so fond of.

And then there’s your little cult mantra that includes “meritocracy”. Typically companies with strong, positive cultures that are in fact meritocratic do not need to advertise this on every wall… I saw that my salary and bonus was used nicely to give raises, namely to those who didn’t ask questions and behaved like good drones sucking up to their male superiors and talking about how the little wife is at home wishing he would come home early from work because she’s been waiting for him all day to take her shopping.

Next, my favorite, “results-driven”. During my exit meeting I had nothing to say at that point because it didn’t register. It’s not that I needed time to process, my brain could not compute that NONSENSE.  That’s your company’s mantra and then you let me and countless others like me go, or they leave. It really seems like you and I were just playing a game of chicken. The bimbo tells me the reasons for letting me go was because the company is “results-driven” but yet I went to a top 10 private school, a top 10 university, a top 10 graduate school and have a résumé would confirm the fact that she was sitting in class playing with finger-puppets. Borrowing, and modifying a line from Captain Philips: I’m number one.

You all schemed, laid off, and spewed rhetoric to become number one, but I am number one. Thank you. I work for a billion dollar company. Your earnings only represent a tenth of ours. They give decent benefits and still have earnings that blow yours out of the water! Did I mention that my company is in fact number one? I don’t think I did. Just so we’re clear, this is what “results-driven” looks like, not whatever sham of a company you are running.

So, again, thank you. Thank you for helping me leave when I wouldn’t. Thank you for showing me what the bottom is and releasing me to be with my people, smart people, results-driven people.

Be sure to keep an eye out for that fine from the Department of Labor. I wouldn’t want you to miss it because they’ll probably charge interest, if they haven’t done so already. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Also, let me know if you want me to send you some postcards from my 3-week vacation in China. Oh, but they’ll be in Chinese. I hear Chinese is a hard language to learn. I wouldn’t really know though because I speak it 😉

 

Cheers,

WHL

We Deserve More

Once I got this new job that I love, I thought I’d pay it forward by helping others who have also been struggle to find decent work. I put in a referral for an acquaintance of mine from college for a job on the opposite coast from where she was located. Yet, after about two weeks I saw that they declined to interview her. I was disappointed. She has much more experience in this field than I do, and is willing to take less money. Between the college she went to, her background, and the referral, she should have at least gotten an interview. Yeah, she applied to a job on the opposite coast, but she has family there and was more than willing to relocate. I mean, are recruiters that close-minded to think that people do not have connections in different cities and are not willing to relocate on their own dime? This seems to be the case in Florida, but I have lowered my expectations for Florida-based companies, but I expect more from the west coast and the mid/northeast.

So when my friend saw that she was not selected for an interview, she called to follow-up with me. She said exactly what I thought, that will all she had going for her, she should have at least gotten an interview. Why no interview? She had a few positions where she was only with a company for a few months, but she has only been out of college for 5 years. She also went to a top 10 school. There is no doubt in my mind that she excelled where she went and probably learned in a few months what it would take an average person to learn in a year. I found out later that the recruiter left the company kind of abruptly. Considering potential internal communication issues, I thought it possible that the application got lost in the shuffle, so I worked with her to help her reapply.

I say all this to explain why I am not only disappointed, but also frustrated and angry. She should have at least gotten an interview. That’s exactly how I felt after I applied for hundreds of jobs and received no response: I should’ve at least gotten an interview, especially in a state with generally low standards that they broadcast to the world.

There are intelligent people everywhere, at all types of schools who work hard and work smart, yes. They shouldn’t be excluded just because they did not go to a “top” school. However, at those “top” schools, the intelligence metric is skewed towards the higher end, so if the general market is saturated with mostly average applicants, the top candidates should get an interview. A nice rejection email will not even suffice. So why don’t we get the interview? Recruiters feel intimidated (especially with the female applicants or minority applicants), recruiters/employers are cheap and assume we’ll ask for a lot of money (I ask for more now because I had bills that are past-due and I’m a little bitter. Back when I was chasing non-profits, I would have been fine with mid 30ks – mid 40Ks.), or hiring is done internally. In Florida, another issue is that people do not understand the school rankings, most likely because most of the people recruiting are not from the U.S. and come from cultures where simply going to school in the U.S. gives high class status, and also for some very strange reason, Florida is regarded as some type of Mecca where everyone is flocking to: Latin Americans, yes, Americans, no.

Since moving to Florida… I have been told that I am under-qualified to be an Administrative Assistant by the same person who had trouble making an international phone call and was more interested in hearing about my program at an un-ranked Florida state school than my undergraduate degree, and recently when I mentioned wanting to get a Ph.D. at a private university here to someone who attended the undergraduate school, the guy said it was a good school at then dropped its ranking in an obvious attempt to solicit a reaction. When you round the number you get #50. My undergrad is ranked higher. I said nothing. What was I supposed to say? What was he assuming? I was just trying to talk about the program, not the ranking…

So suffice it to say, Florida is a very special case, a twilight zone. But, going back to my prior point, when you make certain achievements in life, you deserve to sit at the table, and in this case, be granted an interview.

In getting back to the title of this piece, for me, my disappointment, frustration, and anger begins with myself and my peers not getting and interview and ends with being lumped together alongside of and compared to those who by our standards do not have the same intellectual capacity or even the desire to acquire it. The last time I felt above average was in middle school and then I would go home and my parents would give me impossible problems to solve and I felt challenged. From high school to (most of) graduate school I didn’t feel unique, and then after graduating, I felt my brain was dying for the most part of the time. Now, I feel like I am being told to slow down so others can catch up… maybe they need to move a little faster…? I had a few classes in college where I was falling behind. It was frustrating, yes, but I learned from it, and certainly did not try to slow others down because of me, and the professor certainly did not slow down for us slower students either.

I feel that I am being told to slow down, and even indirectly being held back because they’re little for me to learn from those in my same role. In our initial training, we did some things in Excel (my mother does everything in Excel, so she made me learn it) and this one guy could not find the “sort” feature. Ok, maybe he did not learn it, but I consider that to be basic Excel/Office, and so did my brother who is an Excel pro and makes fun of my minimal knowledge (not in a mean way), which compared to the guy at the office is probably advanced… Anyways, there’s the issue of him not knowing where the “sort” feature was, not searching for it, and not asking someone, another Florida thing, with the machismo (“gag”). So, I know Macros/VBA because I went on YouTube. I did this lovely Microsoft Office test where I had to create a Macro, which I did, by following the directions. This other lady comes out and says it was asking me to do stuff I had never seen… Follow the DAMN directions!

My other colleagues do not appear to be familiar with checking email regularly… We get things through Outlook that they don’t see until late, I was scheduling the meetings, and then this other person just copied and pasted directly into the Macro and not the function bar, repeatedly. Do something once, or twice, okay, but then troubleshoot and do something differently. Ironically, the stuff that I know in Outlook is more in line with being an Administrative Assistant (you know, the thing I was under-qualified for), but somethings I just happened upon by being curious. In high school, when we first got our email accounts, we went over email etiquette. Until Facebook happened I was checking everything daily, and now I’ll look through it, but only my work emails usually get a response during the week, and then on the weekends, good luck.

So maybe they don’t know these things, but while they figure it out, I can be promoted and given more money, not told to slow down while people learn things that I learned years ago. And then the issue with troubleshooting. My high school, college, and parents taught me to be analytical, and I guess I was probably born inquisitive too. I cannot not be analytical, which is why my writing tends to go in multiple directions at a time because I see various topics that can be further explained or further analyzed. I cannot not ask questions. I cannot not solve problems (I love jigsaw puzzles by the way). I do not understand people who need constant instruction and cannot take the information given and run with it. I do not understand people who cannot isolate the variables to determine the cause either on their own or with others. It is basically a higher level of thinking that I was surrounded by that I need near me again so I can stop coming home and being shocked by how little people actually know how to do. Well, I guess this also speaks to the gap in education quality between institutions and regions, but that’s a separate topic.

Again, back to the point of this post. My job is amazing because of the company and the people I work with you are all very nice. I actually get along with the Managers and the people not on my team a bit better. The concept of networking seems to be lost on some… We had very comprehensive training and there is all sorts of information we can reference and people we can contact if we have any questions, but ultimately, we were given the tools and told to run with it. There was this new training recently that was more lecture-based, more European/Latin America style, so I am going to have to review the information on my own. There was no PowerPoint presentation. I feel like that really makes me sound like a spoiled, privileged American, but presentations should have PowerPoints with key takeaways. You doing something and me watching you is horrible for me and not the environment that I am used to, and arguably an environment that has proved to be the most successful.

So continuing on from that last point, I feel that it will be therapeutic for me to tell the recruiters who did not get back to me and my former employer who proved there is hell on earth exactly how I am feeling at my new billion dollar company that makes them look like fools playing in the dirt. My parents would advise against is, but the Scorpio in me is telling me I should do it. It would be smug, Bill Maher-style, but I will feel good once I write it. I did this 3 times already. One I actually regret, and another I really don’t. The third ons is not worth mentioning. For the one I regret, I misread the email… The recruiter was checking in with all applicants saying that they need more time to review the applications. I misread it, and said something like, “Thank you for letting me know and for helping me realize that now is the best time for me to move.” My moving deadline was either before or at the same time they intended to make their decision. For the other one, it was a top management company looking for bilingual Spanish speakers with Portuguese being a plus, for their Latin America team. They emphasized that the person must have a university degree from a top university. This is in Florida, and I am really sensing that here, “top university” is synonymous with Florida college/university. So, they sent me an email saying I wasn’t going further in the application, and I responded, in Portuguese, telling them they are going to have a hard time finding someone better. They’re still looking…

I most likely will write back to those recruiters who wasted my time asking for foolish things like a high school transcript. But in the next post, I will write what I want to say to the worst company/management I have every worked for. My intention is not to send it, but I make no promises.

Recovery

It’s hard not to think about all the things that I could’ve done differently, but now I am in a better place. I am still struggling financially, but at least I enjoy what I do, the people I work with, and have steady cash flow. I wish I could’ve gotten here sooner, and I wish I could tell those people off who insulted me. I might just do that… (I heard that SNL overlooked Stephen Colbert and Jim Carey…) I could just send an email that says thank you for not calling me back so that I could work for a billion dollar company that makes your revenue look like lunch money…I’ll think about it.

Unfortunately, my feelings regarding towards Florida and mostly south Florida have not changed. I think they have actually been validated due to an article published in a Tampa news paper stating the state has agreed to lower achievement expectations based on race — as if the public school system in Florida is anything to be proud of, I guess unless you are from Latin America (http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/10/12/florida-passes-plan-for-racially-based-academic-goals/) — and my new job where all the higher level and non customer service positions are interestingly located outside of Florida, and in the Global North.

Regarding the article, which I actually thought was from 2014 and not 2012, this is all I have to say: Not surprising. I will be surprised when decisions are made based on sound empirical evidence and decision-makers stop thinking within a vacuum. I had to turn off a political discussion on the news the other day, attempting to be Meet the Press, because a woman quoted her source as “the internet”… If no one is vying to understand and emulate your educational model, then maybe there might be just a few other educational models out there that can be considered, maybe just a little. I mean, what if they were to consider looking into the educational models of this little unknown area far up north called New York. I hear they have a similar multiracial demographic in one of their smaller cities by the same name. The state might not be as established or well-known as Florida, and certainly people don’t consider it to have anything that could rival major cities in Florida, but I think they might be able to find a little something to work with.

In regards to my job, it is actually in an international affairs related field and I get to use Spanish and French on a daily basis! In fact, I am the only one on the team who speaks French! Also, it’s in the private sector and there appears to be genuine opportunity for growth. Another shocker, the job description was accurate, unlike that last place where I was called Business Analyst but was more Collections Agent/Customer Service Rep. Oh, and by the way, that company’s revenue has taken a hit, they’re overall revenue is only 1/4 of the revenue for my new company, which is in the billions, and I contacted the Department of Labor about them not sending my my COBRA information, so they should be hit with a fine of at least $100/day since my last day. Maybe that’s why the recruiter was checking out my résumé… 🙂 But on to the new job. The pay is low. It’s high for the area and if you went to state school, but as Florida is not the center of the universe from me, I cannot really join my colleagues in gushing over the salary and finally being able to give up their second job. This is what I made in grad school, without a degree, I declined two interviews for jobs that would pay me about $30K more — one maybe in the state of Florida, the other definitely not — but even with the higher cost of living I would still actually have a savings, and now I also have to look for a second job and possible relocation. The jobs I applied to right before I committed to this one appear to still be open, and if they’re still there in a month, all bets might be off…

In December 2014, I was ready to leave Florida and never look back. Neither my parents nor I had the money to fly me back home for the holidays so I was seriously about to spend Christmas by myself in this state that I am indifferent too (when it’s cold and people speak to me in English, its value to me plummets.) I could not do that. I sold the last of my stocks and got a one way ticket home. Right after I bought my plane ticket, I heard from the company I am at now, only a few weeks after I applied. I actually gave then the full résumé, except I left out my certificate in Chinese because it wasn’t really relevant. I played up translation and language skills because that appeared to be the tipping point, but now I am concerned by boss might think that that is my background… Anyways, I was supposed to have the last interview right before my flight, but it got changed, and I went north. I was there for two weeks before I did the last interview and received an offer. I lowered my salary expectations by $5K so I could get in the door, but I was told that there was potential. And the reviews on Glassdoor are amazing! As is the company. The low salary is a BIG issue though. The two companies who would’ve paid me more contacted me for interviews after I had verbally committed to my current job, but I did not have time to wait for a paycheck, and I was also curious to see where this would go. So, here I am back in Florida.

After this month, I will have been here longer than I was at that hellhole that I worked at when I first got here, and even the place I worked at through the temp agency. I met people at both those places who had a warped since of self, and just sometimes I wanted to be like, are you serious!? Now I want to be like who’s the one excelling in fast-paced environments will high revenue now. I’m still thinking about that email… It wouldn’t be beneath me because I am a Scorpio and I am human. I would channel Bill Maher’s smugness in my email. Anyways… My lease is up at then end of May and I have bills to pay. I am not going to pay a premium to sign a short-term lease, so I have to figure out where I want to be and where I can be. I would love to stay with the company, but all the opportunities for growth are elsewhere if I want to overcome the Florida ceiling. I might be able to negotiate staying here for one of the positions I am looking at, but then do I really want to stay here?

Honestly, for $15-$20K more and maybe also an analytical role, I could make it work, at least until I get engaged/married. I connected with someone the other day who is about to get married and he said that he could not raise his children here, and I completely agree. I came here for the weather, the beach, Latin America, cost of living, and to meet a multilingual foreigner (not fresh off the boat; Americanized), but I honestly do not want my children to be subject to the low standards and delusions of south Florida. (I also really want my daughters to go to my middle school/high school.)

UCF, UF, or one of these large Florida state schools was included in some list of public ivies. I found that list and understood why some people actually refer to then as Ivy League schools. But why do they do that? I mean I know why, but they are really serious about it. Always be proud of where you went to school if you must, honestly, I have mixed feelings about most places I attended, but don’t be disillusioned because then you look/sound ridiculous. “Pretentious” was an abstract concept until I got here… I did not go to an Ivy League school just to be clear. I’m always amused when I talk to my friend who went to MIT about the “Ivy League” Florida schools here by their acronyms and she has no idea what I am talking about. I do feel bad about this deep down, somewhere, but it helps me keep things in perspective. Everyone around here knows was MIT stands for, or at least has heard of MIT, but I have to tell her what USF, UCF, FIU, and FAU is, or for fun, I just make her guess… And then FIU has these new entry standards for their graduate school that would actually make her ineligible to apply, lol, while she actually got into Brown and Vandi. When I drive and think about things here, I just go WTF and just move on because my brain hurts after awhile. Cambridge has a cutoff like FIU, but they’re Cambridge, they can do that. When you have degrees that are known to be well transferable outside of the city/locale of your college, you can do that, it’s annoying, yes, but you have that established reputation.

So, so far Florida is more ridiculous than not #FakeorFlorida, but I am still here because I got a job and because of the multilingualism. I think I also might be here because my very self challenges the general population’s perception of who I should be, and it amuses me when I cause them confusion. I think that’s also the same reason why I must leave at some point. Probably just for my sanity: I can’t work with pretentious people, those who embrace the status quo, have a warped sense of self, and believe in strict gender roles. I guess I should also mention that my company is not based in Florida.

New Hobby – Alcohol

So, I spent most of the day crying. I managed to not cry at my desk, but I scheduled some time to go cry in the background. I also completed some job applications, but what is the point? I’m sending these things out, hoping for something to happen, but it hasn’t happened in four years, so why should it happen now? True, I almost got a job offer at a place I could’ve been happy at as a full-time and was happy as a part time, but it did not required any foreign language skills and had nothing to do with Latin America. I thought I would fare better in the Latin America in the U.S., i.e. south Florida, WRONG! I was told, oh, you resume is so great, you speak so many languages, come to South Florida, WRONG!. They only want their own, people who have never left this god-forsaken area. And it’s a disadvantage that I am not exactly Latin American…

So, I didn’t exactly get offered the full-time, but I was being interviewed for it and it seemed very likely. They want me back for a part-time, so I guess they were the only ones who didn’t lie to me. My old boss said he would want me back if I was still unemployed, so he got his wish. I do appreciate his honesty, but what about my wishes? Er, past tense, the wishes that I had, because now I am done with aspiring to be anything. What exactly is the point of that? I down-played everything on my resume and got an interview for a Reservations Manager at a hotel. I chose the hotel because of its’s expensive clientele. I’ve been told that I am easy on the eyes, and sense that is the only thing that I can market these days, why not market it hard? There’s a part of me that regrets turning down an offer to be one of many girlfriends for this unattractive old guy I met at the pool. He had money, or so he said, and he was European and mentioned marriage… Damn you self-esteem and pride for turning down money and European citizenship! *cringe*

I’m a bit buzzed right now, yes. I was saving the cachaça for a happy occasion, but then that requires some type of hope for a better future, so why not use it to make the occasion happy? I feel good. I haven’t felt good in a long time, and it feels good. I wish I could go somewhere, but I know no one to ask, and I can’t drive. Even in this state I know my limits.

But where was I… I have chosen to be atheist, not that wasn’t it… I turned down a job to experience south Florida. FAIL! With a master’s degree, I’m overqualified. By not being Latin American, I’m under-qualified. I do have a job waiting for me beginning January, but I have to move back and I have no money. I mean, I have enough to move back, as a long as I don’t get a demand letter…

The buzz is wearing off… Time for another drink…

Ok. Ice and cachaça is not good. I’ll need to get some fruit juice tomorrow…

So, there’s a position open overseas. I hope to be considered for that, but I was told I have the wrong citizenship. I know someone else who also has the wrong citizenship working in the same city, so why not me? But there it is, it has always been not me. I regret not going for that full-time job, but silly me wanting to use my language skills which are worthless in the US. Also, I was offered the ability to interview for the full-time and I didn’t even apply because I was focused on moving to Florida, a-n-d thought I had no change because I had applied to other full-time jobs in vain. I also think one of the reasons they were interested because I had that I was attending a MSc Economics program. That came up in the interview… maybe I should put that back on, but seriously, I will since I am technically just on a “leave of absence”.

So I believe in God, I guess, but now I am atheist because God does not believe at me. I worked for some conniving bastards who are not number one in their industry, but are still making money, so if God really cared, that would not be so, right? And here I am contemplating living out of my luxury car, which I bought, used, because I basically said f- it. If I am going to be on the brink of poverty because of student loans and dreams, I might as well splurge so people can say it’s because of lavish spending. I love my car. I could live out of it, but I am a female, and I don’t want to be raped. Someone at my last job made a comment about the company raping its franchisees, I think he is still employed. God, maybe now would be a time to step in…

So, still feeling happy off the juice. I want to get some actual juice so I can bring it to work with me to keep me going, or… this can be that aspiration that I need. I can go to work looking forward to the paycheck and the drink, because they paycheck isn’t enough, I need something to make me happy. That’s an idea…

Another so… So, to wrap this up, I’m embracing the effect of alcohol, or specifically, rum, cachaça, and tequila. Plus I need to lost weight to actually get one of these modeling gigs I have been auditioning for, work at the strip club if they’ll teach me to dance, get one of those suggardaddies off the internet, and go to this cattle call interview for the Reservations Manager. The positions is more than respectable, but I know they’re looking for someone pretty and respectable. That’s what they want here. The languages help, and I learned along time ago to hide where I went to college. I did not lie: I went to a specific college within the university, so I just put the college. You can probably deduce now, that it wasn’t Yale or Harvard. But I played the system and got the interview. I downplayed my other positions, emphasizing the customer service, I’ll ask some friends to be the recommenders, and hopefully this works. This worked for Victoria’s Secret, although I disclosed my MA and the job titles. I was also lied to and told I could be on the Manager track that would come two years later… So basically my education counted for nothing. Why was I going to stay at a place that basically told me I wasted money on college?

I mean seriously, I just can’t anymore. I can use the alcohol to give me what I need to put on a happy face, and be the pretty, dumb girl, because that’s what people want. People at my job today were talking about my old place of work, they didn’t have all the facts straight, and I thought about saying something, but I held back. I’m supposed to be the admin asst without any aspirations, who didn’t finish college or high school for x, y, z reason and has to be told when to do things despite being able to cuss you out in five or six languages you don’t know and create macros around your ass… So I said nothing, and stayed in my lane… I stayed in character.

Everything else has failed me, so I will allow the alcohol to let me stay in character. It keeps me going. Alcohol, soup, and water is my new diet for happiness and weight loss. And I’m limiting my phone calls. My parents preach this foolishness called hope, and my friend wanted to advice me to gain more work experience instead of getting an MBA while I had my first job at 14 and she had her first in college or after, I have a grad degree and she doesn’t, and the preBusiness advisor at our college was only concerned about my quantitative deficiency. When she asked me about grad school I based it on MY OWN EXPERIENCES IN GRADUATE SCHOOL. Her “advice” was based on her feelings, no doubt corrupted by South Florida, assuming I did not work while in grad school. Yet she got a scholarship to Columbia. So, I guess it’s back to the alcohol, the only thing that makes since, because doing the “right” thing sure as hell doesn’t. FYI, if I got knocked up I would be able to get welfare, but since I do not desire to be a baby-mama, I get penalized for not having a ward for the state to take care of… Food for thought.

Also, I know I veer on the line of bitterness and contempt, which is why I have prescribed myself at least one cup of hard liquor per day to help alleviate those symptoms… indefinitely.

From Then Until Now

So many things to say, but where to begin… I just could not bring myself to write for the past month. I had thought I was doing well, but today, with so much on my plate between housework, job applications, and planning for an upcoming trip, I’m feeling a bit unmotivated.

In the past month, I’ve had two jobs and started taking anti-depressants, the social worker I’ve been seeing says that they help to level out my emotions/feelings. I have been using what I learned in AP Bio to process what’s happening to the neurons and I think they have helped. I think with the medication I was able to get out of my head and focus on other things, be happier about life, and be able to encourage others. For a while I did not have crying spells, I cried a little today, but nothing near like what happened before. That reminded me too that the pills cannot solve everything. What they have done is help me to be more open to and accepting of life. I was even able to have a spiritual breakthrough and am glad to report that I no longer have thoughts of suicide. But now where do I go from here…

Now, it’s just a few days over a year since I graduated with my Masters degree. I was actually looking at some pictures with my parents the other day, and we were all so happy. I’m grateful for the accomplishment, the experience, and the people I have met, but I had hoped it would make it easier for me to get a job, which it has not. Statistically speaking, it has made it harder. I have a specialized advanced degree and at most 2 years experience in a market looking for more experienced workers, or people with just a Bachelors. That’s frustrating, and causes some anxiety, but because of the pills, my reaction is more mellowed out.

What boggles my mind is all the steps I took to ensure that by now I would be gainfully employed, with benefits, preparing for another trip to Brazil, to only be at this point and see that those steps taken were in vain.

My senior year in college, I was so sure that I was going to graduate school that I did not start looking for full-time jobs until around March. My peers had interviews setup in the fall and by spring knew where they would be working full time the following fall, with benefits. Most of them went into investment banking and consulting, where they are now, and then there’s me.

I had gone to career fairs on campus since my junior year, maybe even my sophomore year, looking specifically for internships. My senior year I went back to the fair and was just focusing on finding an internship for the summer. So I got a head start on the job search, and was on LinkedIn by senior year if not before, but then I got the graduate school rejections, the scholarships rejections, all at the same time. This was March, and I started looking harder for jobs.

I was saddened by the rejections from graduate school, and especially the scholarship rejections. At this point, I feel like I’m glossing over some things, but I just don’t want to dwell on that time anymore. I didn’t read the fine print on some of the applications that said don’t apply for a Masters in Latin American Studies if you already have an undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies. I was mostly agitated by myself for missing that when I’m usually very good a spotting the fine print, and wasting my money, or should I say opening up a credit card just to pay for those applications. So then I was finally wait-listed at one school, accepted, but broke. I got money for a summer study program, and actually got money for that, and then found out I got a part-time job by the end of that program to help pay for expenses in grad school, so that was definitely the silver lining. At this point, I was definitely optimistic about my future despite the other rejections I had faced. I had more than managed before, so why not now?

I was determined to do better in graduate school: higher GPA and have a jump on the job search. I had a job in government and a 3.5 GPA at the school that waitlisted me. When I graduated and my GPA dropped to a 3.3 because of administrative error and over-ambition on my part, I found out that most of my peers had 3.8 GPAs. What did I do wrong? I took Arabic, a summer course, and worked full-time, and also trusted the wrong administrative person. Some people can juggle a lot of responsibilities, but that is not me. But looking back, it’s kind of funny how the thing that I enjoy, languages, has also led to more anguish. I don’t know if I have already mentioned this, but I have approached the CIA and the NSA, and they are not interested… despite the languages.

But going back to graduate school…

I started looking for jobs either the summer before my last year or the fall of my last year. If it wasn’t the summer, then it was definitely the fall. The big name placed I applied to are: CFR, Brookings, NDI, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. I applied to other places as well, well over a hundred since then. I applied to places that showed up on LinkedIn, and I networked, or tried to network through there. It does irk me when people my own age don’t respond, but then again, they are gainfully employed… And probably not the best people to network with anyways because they have little pull. I got no response from CFR or Brookings. Oh, and I applied to the Freedom House and got no response from them, ever. I found out that they’re a sucky place to work at though, and pretty homogenous for a group interested in equal rights and opportunity, as is the Center for Global Development. I applied to them more recently. The World Affairs Council is also another place that does not respond to people. My thing is, if I can get to the president of a top 10 university, and get a letter from the NSA or JP Morgan saying they’ve picked another candidate, why can’t the World Affairs Council or the Center for Global Development do the same? Limited resources, maybe, but it shouldn’t be that complicated to send a group email.

So the time I spent with NDI was interesting. They contacted me for an interview while I was in Cuba, and then was just after submitting my application online, no networking. I said I was in Cuba, and we set up another time to talk when I got back to the States. My first encounter with them was for an internship just after college. I got to the second to last stage, and they decided to go with someone else. I was cool with that. I ended up studying a language over the summer, and then later getting a job, or jobs, that paid more and lasted more than a summer.

So I interviewed with someone from NDI for a full-time position around January/February of my last year in graduate school. There was a portion in Spanish. Easy. They asked what my availability was, and I said I was writing a thesis, so part-time until May. They said we want someone full-time now, and decided to move on to other candidates. I reached out to that person again when I saw other openings a little before I graduated, as she said I should, and no response. And then I applied for an internship for the fall, in addition to a full-time position. Again, no networking. I got an interview for the internship only.

I saw the interview more as practice, and after conversing with one person in French, I saw it as a joke. My French is advanced and has been better, but the girl who interviewed me, I’d probably put her at intermediate, and she was supposed to judge my ability. I did not trip her up intentionally, but I tend to speak more formally in my interviews and I could tell she was having some challenges. A friend of mine joked that she would intentionally use more complicate French just to get the interview over with. Wow. So I got the internship, but I was waiting to hear back from another job, and I also would not be able to afford rent with what they were providing, it was mostly the later, so I turned them down. I have not looked back. After 2-3 years I’ve had enough of them and other similar international non-profits like Freedom House, and those other two in NDI’s cohort.

So, of course the other job I was hoping for I did not get. I actually ended up connecting with the person who did get it on LinkedIn, before I knew she got the job. They actually changed the title around. She’s a native Chinese speaker too, so I can’t compete with that. I’m being serious here. I had no hard feelings, disappointment? yes, but no animosity. I was still in good spirits and thought I’m good at finding jobs that pay, not the most enjoyable ones, but I can get by, so I went door-to-door and dropped off cards, resumes, and applications.

I interviewed with G by Guess which I was very relaxed about, it was a group interview and I was asked about how honest I was. I have a clearance and my fingerprints are on-file, I will be found out. I interviewed with Sunglasses Hut, the guy was nice, but the interview was poorly structured. I had a great interview at Victoria’s Secret and then worked there for about 3 months until I had enough money to get by and couldn’t deal with it. None of my experience transferred, I was hoping for at least a supervisor position especially given the quality of some of the supervisors and managers there, and there was no room for even just a little growth. I also had interviews coming up for full-time jobs that I had hoped would amount to something, but they didn’t.

After Victoria’s Secret I lived off of some money I earned translating, and then went back looking for a right now job. Wow, that wasn’t really too long ago… I went on LinkedIn and looked for internships, I applied for a MA in Economics at two schools at the last minute. I had to take the GRE again and ended up missing the first one because I tried to cut myself the day before and was taken to the emergency room and was still trying to recover from that on the day of the test. It was after I tried to cut myself that I started seeing the social worker.

I went to visit my brother for a little bit and applied to this contracting job I found on LinkedIn. Thankfully, and to my surprise, I was hired within a week. It’s in management consulting and the company’s actually kind of a big deal, which I didn’t know until after I started. Since it’s contracting though, there are no benefits and I’m hired when there’s a project available. I panicked when I didn’t hear anything for two weeks and took another dead end job. I had to wear a uniform. Most of the people i worked with were nice, but there were some I could do without. Also, there was too much down time, and some silly formalities. I would motivate myself to go to work and then about the perks, but at the end of the day I would just cry as I drove home. I would then sit in the car for a little bit and just cry. I would think about driving off the road, or into a pole, and just cry some more. I should also say that I was misinformed that there were opportunities for growth. They also messed up my paycheck and tried to say it was my fault, after I had left.

I couldn’t get out of bed one day, so I called in a quit. That is not my nature at all, but I had to do it. And then the next day I heard from the management consulting firm and also realized that I should have just called the staffing agency back.

When I couldn’t get out of bed the day I quit my last job, and then was just rocking and crying in my room the next day, I called my doctor’s office to talk about anti-depressants. We had talked about it before, but I just felt that all of my feelings and thoughts were out of control. There was nothing I could do to make myself go numb and just stop feeling, stop hoping, and stop dreaming, so I had hoped the anti-depressants would help to keep me at a more steady state, which they have.

I am in a better state of mind. No more suicidal thoughts because the medication allowed me to be open to a spiritual breakthrough. I had my hopes up over the past few days about jobs I saw, but later found do not exist, and cried just a few hours ago, but I can feel sad. Now, I can also move on. Why? Because life just is. Right now it mostly sucks for me, especially when I think about where I used to be, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I have a trip coming up that I can focus on, and then a 3 week job, and then after that, who knows. I’ll have to do something because I’ll run out of money again, but that’s my life now and I can accept it without breaking down into tears. People are always looking to hire people on a daily basis for less than they are worth, so I can go to the staffing agency and work for anal, incompetent managers stuffing envelopes while making $11/hour. I live with my parents and don’t pay rent, I’m far from my friends, and my loans are in deferral, so I don’t really have any additional expenses. My credit cards will never get paid off though, but that’s more a nuisance because I don’t need the credit right now. And as far as the management consulting job goes, it’s a lot of cold-calling, which I’m not really skilled at. I have tried, and done well at times, and they have been patient with me, but it is not a good fit, so I’m not sure how long it will last. Either way, I have a trip to focus on a maybe meet someone who can rescue me from this, and I’ll just try to get more skilled at living day to day.