"Yes, Jessica? Did you get my e-mail?" the woman asked, "I was just wondering if you will be taking part in the application process?"
Three years ago, when summer was drawing to a close, I went out for a walk with my mom. When I started talking with her, I began to realize that I genuinely loved my job and believed in it. Through our conversation, I began to develop a three-year action plan to get my dream job: I wanted to become the Canada-wide media liasion for my employer. With little interest in straight-up journalism, I wanted to dabble in PR and in representing a cause I believed in.
After going to Vanuatu, I hadn't entirely forgotten about the plan, but I'd given up hope on it. After all, I don't speak French. And I had only worked for the employer for one previous term. There was no way I had the credentials.
And then, I got the e-mail. "Dear Jessica. We are inviting you to take part in a competitive application process for the position of nation-wide media liasion." I couldn't believe it. I was being invited to apply for my dream job. I hungrily read through the e-mail, until I got to the section that I knew would be coming: "the job location is in Toronto."
My heart dropped. I'd already accepted a job in Cold Lake and although I haven't booked my flights yet, plans are in motion for me to head home for one last summer before I graduate, and chances are, before I leave the country for some random reason again. My gut told me that I wanted to go home. But my head was telling me that this would be a huge step forward for my career.
Every day, we're told, especially as women, (and especially at Ryerson) that we should sacrifice everything for our careers. It's never follow your heart. It's always follow your dreams. And if you don't follow your dreams and go to all ends to establish a career? You're a bad feminist. We're expected to sacrifice our personal lives to get a good-paying job. To get a degree. To work our way up the ladder, and up the social hiearchy.
I've always been of this persuasion--and it was easy for me. I had nothing to lose. I moved across the country for school. I work endless hours at a job I hate because I know that marketing experience makes me more employable.
But when do we follow our hearts? When do we sacrifice our careers for our personal lives, for our personal relationships?
I ignored the e-mail because I didn't know the answer to these questions. My head hadn't quite caught up with my heart. But when I got the phone call, it all fell into place.
"Thank you for the opportunity," I told the woman who called, "But I'm not going to be taking part in the application process. I've already accepted another position. I'm going home."*
On a completely unrelated note, I'm ridiculously in love with my thrift-store find necklace.
*Just for the record, although this decision was largely fuelled by wanting to see my friends and family, after doing the math I realized that I'll make more money in Cold Lake. So maybe I'm not such a terrible career woman after all?