Friday, April 22, 2011

Epic Fail

One of my former professors has this image on the door to his office. That's just his sense of humor. I used to laugh as I walked by, seeing all of the snarky cartoons that he had posted. Today, it just makes me sad - because I am getting to where I understand how the beaver must have felt. Trapped under the weight of its decisions ... knowing there is no help, and he has to get himself out or perish.

True, this isn't a real image, but the metaphor is still there. And given that I just got another "Sorry we have decided to hire someone else" phone call this morning, the topic this week is appropriate.

I wish I was the type of person where I could role with the punches, and just shrug things off. That I could accept the job wasn't meant to be, and simply keep going. I admire those people. They seem to have all their shit in gear, and know where they are going in life. Or at least, that life is only a one shot deal and we had better enjoy it while it lasts.

Unfortunatly, I suffer depression. Failure for me means a downward spiral of unending what could I have done different, where did I go wrong, why didn't I do this instead self-analysis until I want to retch. Knowing there is a pattern, you would think I could stop events from happening.

Yet, once again, I sit here feeling like an epic failure. Now don't get me wrong, I don't like pity-partys. I detest all that "oh whoe is me" crap some people pull. Instead, I am a analytical failure. I tear apart every little word I said, every little thing I did, my clothing choice, the letters of reference I provided, etc. I kick myself in the ass for not going one way in college instead of another. I write lists. I will go through a packet of post-it-notes. And by the end of it, I will have listed out every possible scenerio and have a path for the next time.

It's just that time in the middle, while I pick it all apart, that tears me up. Failure is not a good feeling, and I am just enough of a perfectionist, that I feel failure is not an option. Yet, it is!

There are two things in this life that I have a passion for: writing and teaching.

Writing has been a no go for about a year now. With student teaching, and getting everything in gear to graduate, then trying to find a job, and all that, I haven't had much creative feelings happening.

Teaching is also a no-go right now, thanks to that lovely phone call. I am subbing, and it looks like that is what I will be doing again next year too, since school districts are starting to narrow down candidates already, given there are just so many teachers looking for a job right now. In the mean time, I am going to work my ass off to get certified in other areas this summer. The more I can teach, the greater my options. I just need to get my foot in the door ...

So I am sitting here, just an hour after that last phone call, and I am reminding myself of what I do have. A family that loves me. Friends that care. I am very fortunate. I know that.

But damn, it hurts.


  1. Oh, Michelle, you have my sympathy. I never found the public school system a very friendly environment, or one that facilitates real learning. (Of course, the school system that ejected me is not the same as the one you're trying to get a foothold in.) The university where I teach now has become my second home. Maybe you haven't found a work environment that deserves you. :)

  2. Michelle, dear,

    It's hard enough to deal with the real world implications of unemployment - shortage of money and so on. On top of this, our culture largely equates success with gainful employment, so when you can't get work, it's all too easy to blame oneself. I remember being on unemployment for eighteen months during the last recession. I really had to fight the notion that there was something wrong with me - that I was washed up, too old, not adequately specialized, etc. etc.

    Ultimately, that experience led me in a different direction, to move to a new country and into a new job niche. I'm happier now than I ever was in my former job. I know this sounds PollyAnna-like, but in fact there WAS something better for me than the path I was treading at the time.

    You're hugely talented as well as persistent. Don't think of your current situation as failure. Think of it as somewhat delayed success.


  3. Michelle- I had massive problems getting my foot in the door when I started teaching. But it WILL happen, I swear it will. I got my foot on the ladder teaching in the lowliest, most awful college teaching position in existence, then afterwards, suddenly, I couldn't stop the work offers flooding in. As soon as you do what others won't, and get that experience, you're golden.

  4. Actually you don;t sound that discouraged - you sound very determined to me.



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