A friend asked me if she could refer to my resume and cover letter in preparation for her upcoming job search. It’s funny to me that I’m regarded as some kind of job hunting authority but I guess I can see why. I spent Spring 2005 whoring it up around town at interviews on a mission to change career paths based soley on sheer determination and attitude. To hell with the fact that I wasn’t even qualified for half the jobs I interviewed for! It was nothing for me to go on three interviews in one day, while maintaining my regular working hours. And the even funnier thing is, companies bought into it. I could afford to be choosy so I dismissed several offers without so much as a blink of my eye. It all culminated one Friday at the end of May when I received three plum offers on the very same day. Two were in interesting areas of law at great boutique firms that I had actively pursued. And one was the job that would have changed my life – the job I accepted.
Words cannot describe how badly I wanted to work at that company. I memorized all their radio stations and their five corporate values. I Googled my interviewers so that I could ask them questions about their past work. I wanted it so badly that I went and got a crazy spikey, flippy haircut so that I would look more appropriate for the role. The job was fucking perfect. One foot in both entertainment and intellectual property law and one foot in sales. Unlimited potential. How could it be anything short of perfect when the guy who would be my boss asked me questions like, "What was the last concert you went to? What five CDs are in your changer right now? Oh hey, what do you think of the new Nine Inch Nails album?" Seriously, he asked me about Nine Inch Nails. I could not possibly make that up.
I was surprised when I was given a counter-offer but not bowled over by it. I knew my real worth because I had secured those other offers at smaller firms so I did something I didn’t know I had the guts to do. I negotiated – and I got a very nice deal. The decision to take the deal, was probably the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life. I held a round-table of girlfriends. I called Victor, my friend and go-to crisis guy. I made a pro and con list, one of only two I’ve written in my lifetime (the second was with respect to moving to Hamilton). The firm won by the narrowest of margins and I sold my soul to the devil. If this sounds like an exaggeration to you, then you have not worked in a corporate law firm.
So it was that I felt a bit bad when I kind of started ripping on my job upon being asked about it yesterday. It was my choice to stay, so I don’t think I have a lot of space to whine about it. A year ago, deciding to stay felt a lot like giving up. I’ve had to spend the last twelve months making peace with my job and I have finally waved a white flag at it. Truce.
Is this the job I imagined I’d be doing at 30? No. Do I want to do this for the rest of my life? No. Do I wish I had more autonomy? Yes.
But, also are my base needs (good salary, benefits, workload) met? Yes. Are there people here that are a heck of a lot more educated than I doing the same job? Yes. Are there people who actually go to college to do a job that I’ve simply landed in by accident? Yes. So then, do I think I need to shut the hell up with the moaning? Yes.
And truthfully this job has given me a lot too. If you knew me in high school or university, you know that I thought there was nothing worse than public speaking (strangely, I loved it in grade school) and I would do anything to get out of it. Now, I routinely speak to incoming co-op students about environmental law, the firm and our role in it. It’s usually just a little group, but it’s given me massive amounts of confidence. I have exceptional hours. I have a pretty great boss and I can’t even complain about the dress code because I secretly like to dress up.
My job. It’s fine, it’s interesting. But, Secretary – God, it’s such a dirty word. Not even accurate and yet I have to be judged by it day in and day out by people who would be in fucking tears if they had to sit in my seat for one day. It’s hard not to let it eat you.