Saturday, January 21, 2012

On being angry.

As I lay awake last night thinking how crappy it was to listen to the neighbours having what sounded like an aweseome party that I wasn't invited to, I guess I got a massive lump of the post-academic blues.

Yesterday was my birthday. For the entire week before hand, I was sick as a proverbial dog (what does that expression even mean?). I was so sick I had to cancel the party I had planned. I was so sick I had to carry kitchen towel with me to the interview I had so that I could periodically rip sheets off and wipe down my sweat on my way there (I even had to stuff pieces under my armpits, not that it acheived any better result). I was so sick I couldn't do any cleaning/cooking/looking after myself/job applications/exercise. I just lay in my own filth instead. Disgusting. I was so sick, that even when I went out for brunch yesterday for my birthday, I couldn't taste anything so had to give up on the idea of any other plans involving cake, wine or dinner.

Anyway, you get the point.

I am kind of glad I didn't have a party in the end, 'cause I realise that I am in no mood for explaining to people why I don't have a job, what kind of jobs I am looking for, and trying not to feel resentful at those happily employed people who make well-meaning but deeply hurtful suggestions about things that I could be doing better/differently/instead.

Like the person who said "oh, don't worry about your career. Just let your boyfriend support you since you're so lucky to have one."

Or the person whose first question everytime we speak is: "Have you got a job yet?"

Or the person who suggested I move back to my home town and get "an entry level job".

Or the person who tells me: "You know, if you were like other girls you would carry a make-up kit around with you and have that swirly stuff that would have made you look so much better for your interview the other day."

Or the former student buddy who said "Oh don't give up writing!" while telling me about all the cRAzy work that they're doing (unpaid). 

Or the person who said "Oh don't give up on an academic career - you're so good at it" at the same time as mentioning that they've switched to an adjunct position.

There's more along these kinds of lines, but honestly, I can't be bothered going into it anymore. I guess late at night these things seem more important than when you put them on paper. (That's a good sign!), but honestly folks, here is what I want to say:

a) I am a career girl. Work, autonomy and being financially independent are important to me.

b) It takes time to find a job. I have been working on a very solid plan of action that will produce a good outcome in due course.

c) I am not that desperate. Yet.

d) Since you know so much about being a woman, why don't you take up cross-dressing?

e) I haven't given up writing. I am writing job applications.

f) I know I am good at it, but there are no jobs. One cannot live off air alone.

Reading between the lines (and the insensitive comments) there seems to be a theme here - not one of these people appear to actually care about what I AM doing and aren't actually very tuned into what I have been saying and doing for some time. I guess I am struggling with the lack of support from people who I wish could be a bit more tuned into the realities of the situation I am in. I am probably being unreasonable in expecting more sensitive treatment, and I am probably being over-sensitive myself, but... well...

but nothing really. I am just sulking. I am angry that I spent so much of my time working towards a career that is not going to happen. I am angry that people who know how hard I have worked towards this goal don't seem to realise that it's depressing to not achieve your goals and that I might need to be treated a bit more gingerly. I am angry at the suggestion that if I was just a little bit more... (fill in the blank: grateful/feminine/productive/ committed/whatever)... then everything would fall into place.

blah blah blah... I guess the anger is just part of the grieving process that other people have mentioned about making the transition from building an academic career to working out WTF comes next. Plus I hate being sick. 


  1. Hello! I hope your sickness got better! You wrote a great text and I feel with you. All the best wishes!

    1. Thanks - I am feeling much better finally. I am so rarely sick that when I am it feels like I am dying and I will never get better. Drama queen that I am :)

  2. You took these thoughts straight from my head and then blogged them much better than I ever could. :) Great post!

    I'm sorry you felt poorly for your birthday. It reminds me of last year when I threw out my back the day before my birthday, thereby effectively ruining every birthday plan I'd made for that whole weekend. I say "do" your birthday again when you feel better.

    My birthday is next week, so soon we'll see if I manage not to injure myself royally this year.

    1. Oh no! That would have been worse!

      Happy birthday for next week :)