on the job hunt.

Since graduating college in 2010, by my rough gmail approximations, I've applied for roughly 200 jobs. I've had about thirty interviews, fifteen second interviews, interviewed thrice and rejected thrice for the same position, rejected as a finalist for three different positions i'd had multiple interviews for in three straight days, been rejected for jobs with organizations i'd volunteered for for countless hours, been rejected for internal jobs at places i'd put in a fair amount of work, rejected and told explicitly under not quite legal terms another candidate was chosen based on race/gender, sat in on steering committee meetings in which i was the only person in the room not getting paid, spent hours on applications that never even earned me an acknowledgement of receipt, sat in on steering committees in which every other person in the room had previously rejected me for a job, worked multiple sub-poverty level internships and part time gigs, came within hours of buying tickets to faraway nonportland cities to try my luck at crafting a career anywhere other than my hometown, burned through personal savings through the throes of unemployment at an embarrassingly juvenile clip, forgone trips with good friends and concerts and beers with friends, sat in offices where I watched supervisors offer positions to other candidates, spent $300 i didn't have on a flight home early for an interview for a job i ultimately didn't land, and spent a lot of nights listening to the rain wondering why on earth I was so snakebit and unable to meaningfully move the needle on what i felt like was the next necessary step on my quest to whatever quasi-adulthood north portland story I wanted for myself. I know that choosing to get involved with social justice movements and the nonprofit industry as a snotty millenial in Portland, the town of extended adolescence, was never going to be a cakewalk, and I was happy (and remain happy) to forgo personal financial profit and stability for the satisfaction of working for causes I care about, and I've never claimed to be anything approaching an "exemplary employee," but holy smokes. it's been profoundly demoralizing, and the search for a foothold to a career has undoubtedly been the most difficult, soul-searching, self-doubting experience of my otherwise privileged life. nothing - relationships, college, even the portland timbers miserable 2012 outing - has been as maddeningly difficult to come to terms with than my absurd familiarity with the "why aren't we hiring you" conversation. i've had varying levels of success keeping my chin up, but i'd be lying if i said i haven't over the past couple years felt myself increasingly tinged by bitterness at myself, my surroundings, my peers, and whatever i could even tangentially tie to my seeming inability to carve out the basic rent/beer/timbers money doing work i demonstrably love so much that I'd been willing to do for free for years.

so the fact that next month i'm starting a job that doesn't actually have an expiration date, that pays for things like health care and a bus pass, with an organization i've worked with in a variety of contexts since I was 16 that is undergoing a transformation to position themselves to politically empower a new generation of Oregonians for progressive causes, well, i was startled by the emotional release that came from receiving that phone call. i could easily list the dozens of you that have made calls and references on my behalf, forwarded me every mac's list posting you could find (and plenty of dubious craigslist gigs that inevitably involved bicycles in some sort), and i am heavily indebted to all of you; i'll be sure to do that privately over the next couple weeks. and for those of you still working to navigate portland's convoluted job market, I have nothing but remorse that the only answer I know how to give is to "keep at it; keep your chin up; keep networking" although those trite cliches feel disgustingly hollow coming from your employed friends when you're thoroughly miserable and doubting every ounce of your passion, your worth, your ability to meaningfully contribute to the things in life that get you excited; instill in you a reason to wake up in the morning; that cause you to gesticulate and talk with your hands wildly. I don't post this somewhat personal diatribe for any other purpose than to say that if Portland's finally getting around to hiring me, your chance can't be far behind, and that that sense of dissatisfaction and frustration is legit and emotionally valid, and we've all been there.

relatedly, is your voter registration up to date? if not, get in touch with me; i've got a lot of work to do.


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