butterflies and unemployment

Here is what I know about applying for jobs: it ranks right up there with my freshman year of high school. I know that everyone likes to talk about how they were the most awkward or most unattractive and I’m not here to debate that. You were probably uglier than me. Whether or not you felt uglier is debatable. Whether you managed to accentuate your lack of grace and beauty with glitter and hair clips the way I did is not. I inadvertently did everything in my power to paint a huge glittery sign that says, “I am so uncomfortable in my own skin that am borrowing clothes from my best friend who is 6 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter and pretending I’m her.” Who is buying it?

Hear that silence? MY POINT EXACTLY.

Do you remember those butterfly clips? Not clips with butterflies on them, but clips that actually were butterflies. Their wings, ironically, had teeth that held your hair in place. I’m fairly certain you could buy a jug of them at Claire’s for a quarter. Those butterfly clips were “my look.” I could style my hair to look like 100 permutations of a plastic monarch colony. Some nights I’d go to bed only to find that a stray butterfly had nestled it’s way deep into the frizz and imbedded itself into my skull upon impact with my pillow.

A personal favorite, and go-to style for a casual everyday look, were the upper-middle class, white girl cornrows. These involved framing my face with rows of twisted strands held in place by one butterfly. Somedays I’d go monotone, others I’d have a rainbow of plastic insects in my hair. It was worse than when a friend comes back from Jamaica with those little braids. (I don’t know what happens to people in Jamaica that makes them think it’s okay to do that, but it’s not. No matter how many times you get accosted on the beach, you need to remember that you are going to look stupid and your friends aren’t going to want to go to dinner in public to hear about your trip.)

The key difference between my years of butterflies and job hunting is that everyday when I got home from school, I didn’t have to wait for someone to call and tell me how stupid I looked. I went years thinking I was the hottest shit around. I actually believed people when they told me I could be a professional stylist. I eagerly shared my secrets for where to score the best clips. And no one ever told me later that they were just being nice.

Job hunting, on the other hand, is brutal. You can look forward to waking up to a few emails about how nice it was to read your resume, but how, bottom line, you’re just not good enough. Occasionally you’ll get the, “oh my god! I LOVED your resume and would love to just be friends.” WHAT? NO! This is not a dating site, it’s a job hunting site. I don’t want to be your friend! I want for you to get me a job! I AM GOING TO END UP LIVING IN THE PINE STREET INN! SOMEONE IS GOING TO EAT MY CAT!

Then there is the reality of meeting a potential employer, likely someone you will report to, and realizing they are retarded. As you sit there imagining how much money they make, it occurs to you that not only will you not be getting the job, but someone else with a half of a brain will be. Probably someone related to the person you’re attempting to communicate with. That’s always nice.

I can almost imagine the annual job-hunting year book signing. Unlike my freshman year, when people wrote nice things like, “UR hair is AWESOME! Stay cool.” and “2Cool 2B 4gotten”, my job hunting year book would have things like, “UR not awesome enough for us!” and “2Bad UR not an MBA.”

But the worst? The ones that really sting? Those are the ones you love. The ones you’re sure you’d be a super fit for that don’t feel the same way. Then you really are back in high school again. You’re sitting across the table from some super cool guy who you are SURE would think you were the cat’s meow if he’d just hang out. If he’d only take a second to realize that you’re a little shy and that’s why you come off so… strong. But he won’t. And you go home and don’t say anything, but eventually your dad comes into your room and for no reason at all tells you that he thinks you’re the most beautiful girl in the world. And while it doesn’t make it better, it makes it bearable. And you actually believe him when he says someday everyone will see how beautiful you are. He says that even though you look like the ring master at a My Little Pony Circus.

But when you’re all grown up, it’s highly unlikely that dad’s going to burst through the door and tell you how you’re gonna kill the competition. You have to look yourself in the mirror, remember that those butterfly years didn’t hold you back, and hopefully neither will these. You have to open your computer and keep sending emails, keep asking people to give you a chance. One cool football player after another.

And hope that one of them really will give you a chance.