I have used this blog to vent my frustrations, promote my books/podcast, and connect with so many different people from everywhere. It is a place where I have grown as a writer, and it makes me smile to see how far I have come when I click on old archives. It is also a place where I have felt comfortable being able to talk about issues currently facing well, me.
This is that time.
December 2016 I graduated with my Master’s degree. I was a happy, if naive twenty-six year old black woman who was determined to have a career in the workplace. Something I’d always dreamed of ever since I became entertainment editor of my high school newspaper. That January, I was ready. I prepped for interviews, applied to wherever a company would take a shiny-new master of science in human resource management degree holder. It took a few weeks, but I was able to get a once in a lifetime interview with the San Francisco International Airport. It was an eye-opening experience to be sure. I was selected for the prestigious position of San Francisco Airport Fellow and I thought it was the best thing in the world.
Finally, I would be joining hundred’s of others in the mad dash to and from work. I dressed smartly, even lost substantial weight which gave me the confidence I felt I would need to succeed. I had no clue what I was doing, but I figured, “Hey. school taught me that I can learn anything with studying, hard work, and dedication. So anything is possible, right?”
That mindset was true in some aspects.
In others it wasn’t.
It was a year program, that not only exposed you to the aviation industry, but helped train you for a position at the airport. Everyday for one year I told myself if I could just get to the end of the program I would be okay. I could make it. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about money as much, and I would be happy. In all my favorite films, it’s what happened anyway. The lead protagonist would work hard, handle the fire-breathing dragon lady (The Devil Wears Prada) and at the end get the job he/she truly wanted.
Only that wasn’t the case.
I had a helpful advisor which was good, but the bad definitely outweighed the benefits in my situation.
The subtle micro-aggressions were terrible. Finding out that people were talking behind my back was like getting a slap to the face, but what hurt more than anything, was being made to feel as if I were stupid. These people spoke as if I was too illiterate to properly comprehend what they were training me to do.
Because of it my mental health suffered.
The program started for me in March, and I made it to the one year mark, quitting a couple of months afterward. I never thought one could feel PTSD from a job, but this was my first real taste of, “The real world.” My father, being a former supervisor for a very well-known company drove me almost daily to work. He saw my moods change the closer we got to my job and he would always offer a smile and say, “If you can’t do it anymore, then don’t,” before focusing back on the road. I always felt that he could look into my soul and see how much I didn’t want to be there.
But I still went.
Being the ever optimistic person I was I consoled myself with the knowledge that one day, I would finally get what I worked so hard for.
That day never came.
Circumstances arose in which I quit. I came home early, and I remember feeling so defeated. I sat outside of my parent’s driveway a lot, and sometimes found myself staring at the ground, the mountains, and in some cases nothing. I would think of something terrible at work and have sudden bursts of anger which was directed at my parents. They didn’t deserve my outrage, yet they took it in stride, always consoling me when I came down from one of my many episodes. Even my little sister who came down from college saw the hopeless despair I was wrapped up in and took pity on me.
I quit in 2018 and for several months afterward I stayed out of the workforce. I began to write feverishly, and it was the one thing that brought me immense joy.( Well that along with foreign soap-operas.) Through that pain I was able to create something beautiful. My very first historical romance book that I published myself on Amazon. I figured out how to create my website, and I was even able to pay for a PR company to promote it. I felt so proud of that I was able to do that, and it felt like a big screw you to anyone who thought I was incapable of accomplishing something huge. It was my passion, it had always been, but it took me facing what I thought I wanted to realize what I actually needed.
A couple of months later I figured it would be a good time to earn some money so I began a tentative job search. Much more aware I went in with the single-focus of working for money. I wasn’t looking for job-security or comfort. I wasn’t looking for friends, or a place to advance my career. I wasn’t affiliated with any organizations or sororities so I knew that I wouldn’t be making any advancements based on connections. I was just a normal twenty-eight woman looking for income to make her car payment.
Still, I found nothing.
I applied to so many places yet they all turned me down. Gave me no specific reasons, other than they moved forward with other people. I was baffled at the response and even told some managers to please check my credentials and reconsider, but the answer stayed the same.
A big resounding NO.
I do remember that I applied to a job near my neighborhood during that transition period. It was a management position, entry level at a clothing store. The interview went surprisingly well, and I thought it was a great way to get my foot in the door of management. But, I showed up the next day not for management work, but for a regular sales associate position.
Now I want to be clear; there is nothing wrong with a cashier position, but my job history and resume alone would make me over-qualified for that particular position. I worked at that store for one day and never came back. I thought I would cry my eyes out, but I found myself feeling the opposite. Instead of tears I became upset, and slightly bitter. I worked so hard only to be given a position of putting clothes on a rack. Six years of school just down the drain in my opinion.
Since 2018 I have steadily looked for work in between writing, but no one ever thought to hire me.
Then the pandemic happened.
Citizens were worried about money and work, but I found that year to be a relaxing one. I had been through so much, and now the world was on pause, forcing people (including myself) to re-examine their lives.
I found myself writing more.
I published three more books, and I spent more time with my family. I finally realized what was important, and that was worth millions to me. I still held out hope that someone would hire me. After all, everything had switched to remote so I was in the same boat as everyone else, right?
There was a brief bout of hope on the horizon, though.
In July 2021 a company reached out to me. It was a start-up and the goal was to help students with college preparatory. I was excited because after I was hired I was given the position of online English Instructor. I was thrilled. To have the chance to finally be in the education field had been my dream. The former supervisor explained to me that they were waiting for students and for the school year to start, so she urged me to be patient. I had been waiting for years, so I didn’t mind waiting several more weeks.
But the waiting turned into months.
Which turned into the former supervisor quitting and me finding out about it two weeks ago (Yep seven months!) after inquiring myself.
I found that job on LinkedIn and figured while waiting for the education company to start I would look for something else. I completed the entire profile, the app called me an all-star profile and I was starting to get views. The website even matched me to other jobs that I qualified for.
Except I got no call-back.
After several months I started to see that no one was calling me back. The news on the television wasn’t matching my own efforts of looking for work, because I did want employment yet no one would give me a second glance.
I am no one special. I am just a thirty-one year-old educated Black woman. However, I started to do research and was finding out that a lot of other black men and women (millennials) were facing similar situations such as myself. I didn’t want to be one of the people who kept allowing this to happen only to break me. I even saw stories where other women went insane with the constant back and forth from companies only to be let down and unable to properly function.
So, I decided to become self-employed.
I created a more professional website for books. I have always loved poetry and I am so proud of my podcast Expressions and Definitions finally getting the attention it deserves. And I am proud to be making certain financial moves with my family which makes me thank God for giving me the family that I have. It’s not at all what I thought I’d be doing, but I find myself loving writing and create fun and new podcast.
I came up here today to say that I quit.
I finally quit believing in the hype of corporate America. I quit believing that my, “dream job,” is at some company from nine to five. One should not dream of work, but of a passion that they can turn into profit, or a way to live comfortably.
I deleted any app that would be linked with a job.
I deleted my LinkedIn post.
I deleted my online portfolio and gave away my professional clothes.
This year in 2022, I will do what makes me happy and not what society tells me. I will not be forced to work in subpar conditions that affect my mental state and I will not be spoken to in a way that deems me less than human. Because I am human, and I deserve respect.
I don’t know if this helps anyone, but if you have gotten this far and are reading this, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are special, kind and you are loved. You are smart, and you can do anything you put your mind too. You are not being too difficult for demanding what you deserve because baby, you are so worth it.
I love you all so much and we will talk soon.
One thought on “Unplugging From The Matrix….”
So proud of you! I lost my job during the pandemic and I know how hard the job market can be right now. It’s still crazy in my opinion. Good on you for stepping into the world of self-employment though! Can’t wait to see where this takes you.