So, the reason I haven't been posting isn't due to any exciting news on the job front. It's been a combination of insecurity and lack of direction and/or motivation. (Yes, this is one of those self-important posts you should probably skip.)
I went to New York last week and found myself talking to two people living in two cities I adore. They are both unemployed. One, my friend John, lives in Brooklyn in a great, cozy (yes, that's a euphemism for small, but it's so damn nice!) apartment. He graduated from UVA, is an accomplished writer -- WAY more accomplished than I am -- and is jobless. How can it be? He lives in the media capital of the country. His rent is doable, but the prospect of being unemployed in New York City terrifies me. I thought it'd be a place where I could certainly get a job, albeit a low-paying one. The reason I wasn't rushing to move to New York was the weather, the harsh competition, and the rents, not the prospect of unemployment.
My other friend, Alex, lives in Portland. He's been unemployed since August. Again, he went to a good school, has had two prominent internships working with places like Yellowstone National Park, and he cannot find a job. What gives? If they can't do it, how can I? I've had one good internship and a tiny handful of jobs that are semi-relevant to media (though more geared towards web design, which I'm trying to get away from).
Moving to either place (or anywhere) is making me flutter with insecurity. With my luck, I'd be doing the same thing I do now: applying to jobs all day, every day, to no avail, only with the additional stress of rent. I'd be in a cool city, yes, but if I'm spending most of my time on my computer, is it really worth it to pay so much for ambiance? I thought moving to the physical location I wanted to work would surely get me a job, but my friends show that's not the case. But then I think of the alternative: living at home, for not-too-many-months longer (my dad is moving to Florida soon), and maybe getting an internship (unpaid of course) in a place like DC, which I hate.
For now, I want to go to grad school. "Want" is perhaps not the correct way to put it, but I feel it's a viable alternative. Plus, now I have to go, because I paid $140 to take the GREs in April and spent an additional $90 on practice materials. (I have to admit, while I'm giddy at learning new vocabulary, the prospect of doing math sends my anxiety through the roof. I get nervous enough writing, and I'm pretty confident in my spelling abilities.) But most of the grad schools I'm looking at (The New School, NYU, Columbia, CUNY, Berkeley) have admissions deadlines in December and January. If I take the GRE in April, what do I do after that?
I was thinking about getting a sublet someplace cheap, like Portland or Richmond or, yes, maybe Brooklyn. At least that way I would have my sanity and could potentially find a job, either short- or long-term. But that requires spending money and I'm terrified I'll blow it all. My parents are no help, either, at least when it comes to emotional support. I'm supposed to have known better than to get a degree in a social science. I "should have" been an engineer.
My original point of this post was not to bitch and whine about not having a job. It was to bitch and whine about being so awkward. While I was in New York, I had a good time, but I felt so anxious. I do not do well around "new people", even if I've known those people for several years. I just didn't know what to talk about. Do I bring up being unemployed for the millionth time? Do I talk about music or politics or whatever and risk embarrassing myself with misinformation or plain ignorance? Do I talk about fashion and risk looking entirely vapid? I am socially inept.
My problem is that I think too much. I'm no genius, but I worry worry worry, think think think, ruminate on all that could go wrong, in life and in simple conversation. If I could just take some chances (like my friend Amalia, who just up and moved to San Francisco), things would be a lot easier. I make things complicated. I'm a product of my generation, because it's not like there's a clear-cut answer here. We're told we can be whatever we want to be, do whatever we want in life (as long as we're law-abiding. My mom's response to this, "But I was told I could do what I wanted" is that I should have known better.) Now that I'm wishing I had a simple clear cut path, but if there was simply one clear, viable, appetizing option, I'd suck it up and go for it. I like having choices, but it's paralyzing. I promise, this is not going to go on much longer. I'm going to make some decisions. I just don't know who to talk to about my predicament. (Can anyone recommend a free life coach? Oprah, I need your help.)
This post has no direction and, while sloppy, is a pretty good metaphor for my life.