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Lafayette is Embracing Me

July 12, 2013

A weird thing happened to me last week. I went on a job interview. I sat across from two young, professional women and talked about myself and showed them my work.

They were impressed. They liked me. They told me I set the standard for the other applicants. They said I was relaxed and calm and my sense of humor came through. During the interview I felt appreciated and respected.

Yesterday, I met the director. He was also impressed.

I got the job.

I have a new job. With a salary that’s appropriate for my skills and experience. I have a title and a salary at a professional organization. I might be able to sustain myself on my income.

This is freaking me out a little.

I went on several job interviews when I first moved back to Lafayette. I was broken and scared and desparate. I had the same skills and portfolio as I do now. But I wasn’t myself yet.

People who’ve gotten to know me this past year or two have told me that I should be earning a lot more money. That my work is worth something. I didn’t believe them. I felt stuck at the museum. I was clear with my boss about what I needed and wanted and he kept brushing me off. I didn’t know if I could do any better.

I designed a business card for an acquaintance recently. I was nervous about showing him my designs. He really liked them. I showed them to Liz. She was impressed. She sent me an e-mail telling me that I was talented. She reminded me that I wasn’t the same person I was when I first moved back. She said that my “exterior projection now matches my interior design aesthetic.” 

When this job description popped up on facebook, it was like reading my resume. It was perfect for me. On my facebook page, I posted a solicitation for advice on resumes and cover letters. The help I got from family and friends was worth the process alone. Everyone was so kind and supportive. I sent my resume and cover letter in and got invited for an interview. I found out later that the director had asked the interviewers to narrow the selection to three. They told him, “We’ve narrowed it down to one.”

I almost started crying in the second interview. The director was concerned that based on my experience and skill level, this entry-level job might be beneath me. He was worried that I was compromising. How could I tell him what a miracle this was for me? How could I convey the change I was experiencing in that moment?

I might not have applied for that job if I were still with my ex-husband. I would have told him about it and he would have tried to be supportive but he would have made little condescending comments and seeds of self-doubt would have taken root in the fertile ground of my brainwashed, dying brain. “You know it’s going to be a lot of nights and weekends right? I’ve heard it’s crazy over there. Are you sure you can handle that kind of work load? So and so said it’s a high pressure environment. I just want you to know what you’re getting yourself into,” he might have said.

For so many years I had agreed to the bullshit that he told me, that subtly convinced me of how little I was worth. If I had still been in that environment, I would not have had the self confidence to apply for that job. And if I had applied I would have gone into that interview a completely different person. Those women would have met Mrs. Ex. Mrs. Ex was unsure of herself because she wasn’t respected as an equal. She wasn’t seen as valuable. Her talents were dismissed, patronized and resented, even. The person I was during those first interviews, a year ago was even worse. The fear must have oozed out of me. My aura was a dull grey of desperation and insecurity.

Instead, I walked over the arts building from the museum in my pencil skirt and blouse that was a little too big for me and my new lucky pink purse. I walked in knowing that I didn’t need them to tell me I was talented. I didn’t need them to like me. It was enough to be asked for an interview. The process of updating my resume and website and collaborating with friends and family had already put me ahead.

They interviewed Kitten. Kitten knows who she is. Kitten has surrounded herself with people who like her, who want to be around her, her think she’s smart and pretty and funny and talented and tell her so all the time. Kitten has a handsome young man talking to her every day from the other side of the world who can’t wait to hold her in his arms again. Kitten blew them away.

I wrote the blog, Lafayette is Rejecting Me, in March, 2012, sixteen months ago. I was living in a room in a friend’s house. I was fighting depression. I didn’t know how I was going to survive or what was going to become of me. I didn’t know how to live.

I start a new job on Monday. I have a title and an office. I have respect and appreciation.

For the first time in a very long time, maybe ever…..I feel like I’m being who I’m supposed to be.

So, Lafayette, thanks. It took you a while but you’re no longer rejecting me. I’ve danced in your dancehalls, I’ve listened to your music, I walk in your park, I’ve dated a few of your cute boys, I’ve reuinted with my own family here and you’ve given me some great friends. Now, I’m a part of your arts community.

Let’s do this, Lafayette!


From → Rantings

One Comment
  1. John Schumacher permalink


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