Not to make too fine a point of it, but I am a Golden God.
No, really. Allow me to explain.
I made a startling realization the other day: it’s almost June. That means it’s been eleven months, give or take a couple days, since I’ve been gainfully employed. Yeah, I’ve worked for LA Fitness-nazis and McFatties, but I hesitate to call either of those esteemed placeholders as ‘esteemed.’ They’re certainly not resumé-builders, and once I’m fully ensconced back within the halls of academia I’ll no doubt forget them like those many foggy vodka-induced regrettable nightmares.
Anyway, now that I’m back in the swing of job applications and am surely bound to land a job I won’t be embarrassed to own up to any day now, I’ve spent a lot of time considering my not-inconsiderable talents, merits, and accomplishments. And with each iteration of my resumé and each cover letter, I find myself getting a little bit more excited by my own awesomeness.
Two Masters degrees and a progression of university administrative positions distinguished by rapid promotion and a strong performance record? Yup, that’s me.
Responsible for sponsored project planning, logistics, and coordination; prospective, transfer, and current student advising; creation and distribution of promotional literature, and student progress and database management? Whoa, that’s me too.
Organized and hosted public relations and outreach projects, workshops, recruitment campaigns, orientation, commencement activities and departmental tours? Huh, I guess I did do all that. I pretty much rock!
Well, duh. Right?
The funny thing (or not) about extended under-employment is this: there’s always the possibility that eventually, you might start to forget about your own past glories and future potential. Take penguins, for instance: do they ever take a look up in the clear Antarctic skies at terns and boobies (heh) soaring and wheeling around and have even the remotest inkling that they’ve lost something? Do little tiny lizards ever think to themselves, if only I were a big ol’ fierce dinosaur, I’d show that stupid puny mammal something?
Okay, I know they don’t, but still…
The fact is, eleven months of no call-backs, rejection letters, and dead-end interviews do leave one’s ego a bit worse for wear (yes, even mine…though it’s still admittedly quite large and robust). Yeah, I know we’re in a big whopper of a recession. I know I’m one of three hundred-plus mostly-qualified applicants for every position I submit my name for, and that it’s a small miracle when I do make it to a first-round telephone interview. I know I’m good. The last time I found myself on a terminal contract (which was totally not my fault, by the way), I applied for three jobs, was one of the top two picks for two of them, and landed a good position not only before my contract expired, but with two months and a planned vacation to spare. And that was in an already-faltering economy and in a town with a preciously small and competitive job market. Boo-ya.
And finally, in my last position (shortly before the position disappeared, natch), I received a damned mother-effing university award complete with a shiny plaque with my name spelled right on it for my efforts…and I’d only been on the job for six months at the time. So not to boast too much, but yeah…I fucking rock. And this under-employed thing right now? So totally not indicative of my abilities, character, or anything else.
But still, it’s easy to forget I’m not reading a piece of fiction or somebody else’s job experiences every time I go through my resumé. To some extent, I’ve become that penguin.
When I was a wee small high school kid, I had a triple-whammy going against me. I was skinny and ugly, I had poorly-honed social skills and no self esteem, and I had a big-ass brain. One fateful day, I realized it just wasn’t cool to be a smarty (especially one with glasses, a wardrobe, and a personality to match Steve Urkel’s), so the summer after graduation, I revamped myself. No glasses, a new wardrobe, a butt-load of false charm and bravado and shiny new grooming habits got me noticed, and a nerdotomy and new smartass personality got me noticed. So did a healthy addiction to the weight room at the gym. As long as I kept that brain carefully hidden, I was the hot popular kid. Somewhere down the line, that persona just…stuck…for a while.
Why the hell did I need to be smart when I had a rockin’ bod and this face??
Fortunately, grad school came along and kicked me in the seat of my complacency, humbled me a bit, and made me remember that this pretty head was meant for something more than a substrate for expensive hair product. Local hair show and freelance photographer model gigs were cool and all, but they didn’t really impress my medieval lit professor (the stupid douche). Brain, welcome back.
Fast forward to now, and…I guess it’s just sorta happened again. I’ve become the snarky smartass writer who blogs about vodka-induced shenanigans (but they’re so fun!), lawn maintenance mishaps (but leaf blowers are so fun!), and the ever-constant quest for better abs (but they’re soooo friggin’ hot!), and who pays the bills slinging fries and selling burgers.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. It’s just that I’ve been out of the smartly-dressed professional role for so long now that it’s easy to forget that I’m pretty friggin’ good at that, too.
And now that I’m hitting the job market hardcore again, it’s time to remember how goddamned golden I am.
I promise I won’t let it go to my head…much.