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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Wooing is okay, pressuring is not.

So I am both being pressured to take the job and wooed. As it so happened today, the work space I usually use to edit was being used, so my supervisor set up a laptop in ... what would be my office. I have a view from that office of the tallest building in the city (even though I'm only on the third floor). That’s pretty cool. The office also has amazing bookshelves – but I got sad today realizing that this is not apposition that would encourage the purchase of books – or at least not books I would love.

At the same time, I am being pressured – I am getting daily lectures about how great the director is and all the wonderful things he does. That’s fine – but that’s really not a part of my decision-making.

And he is a good guy – but he is a railroading kind of guy. He is intimidating, a very quick thinker and a big talker. I am more reserved, I like to mull and muse, I like to think before I commit, and I am an internal processor. He tends to overwhelm me and make me anxious. One could argue maybe I would learn assertiveness skills or learn to be quicker on my feet – but I would argue that I am at a point in my life at which I know myself and am tired of trying to fit in. Instead, I want to find people and environments that fit me.

One thing I really disliked about how I was approached about this job was that my appearance is being taken into consideration. The director made a fairly derogatory comment about my appearance and noted that I would be working just in the office – not actually meeting people – as I just don’t have the look for that. True or not, I don’t want to be in a job where my appearance is taken into consideration, in which it is discussed, or where what I look like puts limits on my work. I guess that’s one thing I like about being a shrink – I think my appearance is helpful, not harmful. I think it makes me approachable, not avoidance-inducing.

I also felt very hurt because that morning, before the offer, the director made some negative comments about my work. In hindsight, I think it is because he hadn’t really read my work yet – but still, his words stung me all day. He criticized the editing job I was doing because my words were different and it made it sound like an “English major” came in and wrote parts of the grant – and obviously, that is heinous. For the record, I didn’t major in English. Also, the ad for this position said that they were looking for an English major or someone with good writing skills. They didn’t advertise for a med student or a science student. They sought someone in the liberal arts.

Now, later in the day he noted that part of why he wanted me to work there full-time was that he believes that I have actually made the grant cohesive and comprehensible. He noted that just a few weeks ago he had been completely unable to read through any of the grant because it was completely incomprehensible – but because of my work and my questions, I’ve helped shape it. I think that because this is so not my area, he is impressed at how much I learned in such a short period of time, and my ability to write and to see the big picture.

But then today, one of the student employees (who I think is weirdly competitive with me – she’s the only other female working there – I say weirdly because I AM NOT COMPETITION! I know nothing about this stuff – I’m just there to help write!) asked me what I was working on. I said I was helping with the section on apoptosis. She asked if I knew what apoptosis was (see?) I said it was a form of cell death. She said, “yes (as in “duh!”) but do you know what it has to do with the grant?” I said, “Nope, I sure don’t!” and walked away. Mostly I don’t feel stupid for not knowing this stuff – I know stuff, just not this stuff. But, that kind of thing smarts a little.

There are two big reasons I don’t want this job though (all the above is just frosting on the cake): 1) it is at the school I was going to – the school from which I was kicked out. I cannot tell you how much it would suck to have to work there – much less try to get people to donate to it – thus try to sell it! And 2) because even more than that, it sucks to feel like I cannot do the job that I have wanted to do pretty much all of my life – and that I have always feared I was incapable of doing (being a shrink, that is). My big goal was to just try to get a job in my field – just to show myself (and I guess my evil advisor) that I could do it (although she only quibbles with my ability to do research – not my clinical skills). It depressed me more than I can even tell you to feel like that won’t happen.

And sure, I could do the job for a year and then do what I want. But, I worry that being out of my field that long will make it really hard to get back in. Sure, I could take classes in the meantime, maybe get some licensure, or some sort of advanced training – but maybe this job would not allow that (although that is something for which I will bargain – flex time to take some classes). But none of that really matters – what matters is that I feel like I am grieving that the thing I have wanted all my life, and worked for for so long will never happen – that I will never be who I want to be. And that makes me feel like a complete loser.

On the plus side, I am talking to the person who does the hiring for my dream job tomorrow. Let’s hope it works out.


At 5:50 AM, Blogger StyleyGeek said...

I really really hope your talk with the person who hires for your dream job is fruitful.

I am horrified that they felt they had the right to make any comment on your appearance.

And I can totally see why you wouldn't want to be trying to sell the school that kicked you out. That would just feel crazy on so many levels. And I'm sorry that you are feeling like you will never get where you want to be.

(I bet you will, though. You are smart and ambitious and from what I can guess from your comments on people's blogs---especially when they are going through hard times---you are an awesome shrink. Sometime soon someone is going to see that and give you a job you deserve.)

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I hope that you get the dream job as well -- here's some good internet mojo for you :)....

Assuming your read on the situaiton is correct, I'd be wary of getting into that position -- and even if it is incorrect, the fact that YOU feel that way is a problem, even if you are not correct.

Bottom line, if your immediate supervisor is someone you have a hard time working with, I wouldn't go there. I've worked in that situation and it was more trouble than it was worth.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

All of your reasoning makes a lot of sense to me. Ugh. I would not be able to sell people on that school. Also, that just makes no sense about what they said about your appearance. That's just rude of them.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Ianqui said...

I know you really need the money right now, but your attitude toward this job already makes it sound like it would be a very bad decision for you. Given how crappy your boss is toward you know, would it really be good for you if he depended on you even more than he already does?

Besides, if you don't think you'd like fundraising, then I wouldn't even chance it.


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