43 Word documents in the "Job Search" folder on my computer (cover letters, tweaked resumes, writing samples, etc.)
22 job applications
REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) - Sales Associate
REI ranked 12th in 2009 on FORTUNE magazine's list of The 100 Best Companies to Work For. Health insurance for everybody, plus unbelievable perks, ranging from FREE equipment rentals to discounts on weekend adventure trips, from 50% discounts on REI gear to partially subsidized bus passes and gym memberships, from personal athletic event sponsorship to free chocolate. Plus a 65-foot climbing wall, 25+ hours of paid training and 300 like-minded Seattleites to befriend! + Walking/biking distance from my house. Basically, I get to work at Disney World for Grownups.
Check it out>>>
Kaplan Test Prep - SAT/ACT Tutor
Intense job application process! Online application + initial teaching "audition" in front of a Kaplan representative and a group of peers + taking the new SAT Writing test to score qualify + second interview with Kaplan representative. My writing score actually took a ten-point dip from when I took the SAT II: Writing test at 17 (putting that $200K creative writing degree to work! Haha.) Never would have guessed my standardized scores would win me a job opportunity, but now I can work totally flexible, set-my-own-schedule hours helping people learn and pursue their dreams...what a job!
Check it out>>>
Outdoors NW - Freelancer, Intern
Well, this one's kind of informal, but I'm working out different ways I can collaborate with the magazine - writing stories, small editorial projects, learning more of the sales/marketing ropes of the publication business. My first official print bylines will be out in the upcoming Sept/Oct issue, and I'm downright thrilled to be working with a magazine that's so in line with my passions.
Check it out>>>
That's a sunrise over downtown Bellevue, as seen from Seattle
I even got to be picky enough to cancel future interviews I'd set up and reject job offers. Initially, I was thrown by the sense that all my efforts and carefully crafted cover letters were just disappearing into a dark, empty abyss. I thought I couldn't be picky, that I'd have to take whatever scraps of opportunity anybody threw me. Nope, absolutely not. It may be an employers' market, but I refused to settle. The result is that I feel absolutely fantastic about what's actually worked out, and though a couple months of unemployment and two cross-country road trips has wreaked absolute havoc on my bank account, I am more content than ever. But...it's taken more energy and positive focus than I can articulate. A dig back into a journal entry from several months ago can vouch for that:
May 14, 2009
Wow. Again...life! I feel unbelievably good in this moment. Nothing has fallen into place whatsoever - Reed fell through, didn't get the Communications fellowship either, backed down a bit on the summer scholars internship in Oberlin, flat out ignored job offers with the Oberlin City School district, and my home base in Kansas is disappearing - but I feel better and more settled in this moment than ever. I am going to Seattle. I just decided, today. It's as good as done in my mind, and I am so happy. There is so much pulling me out there, it's crazy.
I sense so much "right"ness about not getting these jobs, because something, some force in the universe, is pulling me to Seattle. I was talking to Jason at work a few days ago about the job frustrations, and he went a little into preacher mode, but I really did find comfort in his message - something to the effect of "God's closing doors on you for a reason, because he's got got much bigger plans for you. You just can't see them yet." He went on to say, "You're a smart girl, Yitka. Things will work out for you. Just have faith that they will." And that I can certainly have faith in. Rejection stings, but with the Watson, Reed and the Communications job all under my belt, it's getting better. It hurts less each time, makes me feel more confident each time that I'll be better equipped to deal with rejection in the future. Nobody became successful without getting rejected a thousand times along the way. As Sid nailed into my head, all success is really just a product of persistence. I CAN DO THIS.
I know the job market's going to be awful once I'm out there - Zephyr confirmed thus today on the phone - but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Thank you, Universe, for closing the necessary doors now and opening (I hope!) the right one, somewhere on the horizon...