"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?
I think you did it because of Alex Blogg.ReplyDelete
Well said and extremely well written. I keep getting flashes into the future of being married to my job as a journalist, and showing up at my friend's weddings with botox and a personal assistant.ReplyDelete
Even if I did do it because of Alex Dodd (and yes, of course he was a factor), is there anything wrong with that? Maybe. This is what I'm struggling with.ReplyDelete
So when do I get to borrow that kickass necklace?ReplyDelete
Anytime baby! I'm not sure that I'm woman enough alone to do that fashionable chunk of metal justice. I think I'll need your help.ReplyDelete
This is nice writing about a difficult decision. I wish I could write the same way about a similar decision I had to make last week. I have been silent since then.ReplyDelete
I think that you're right - we're encultured to believe that fulfillment in life requires certain material successes and that these successes have something to do with happiness. I'm glad that you didn't buy all of that and took one for the happiness team. (as an aside, there are a lot of feminists and a lot of feminisms out there that do take a much broader take on gender empowerment without focussing so much on the career issue - hurray for empowerment in accordance with the heart!)ReplyDelete
Does this mean you won't be available for a wedding this summer? I had really hoped to be able to invite you ... my heart is brokenReplyDelete
Whose heart am I breaking? I'm just going to Alberta. I'm not dying.ReplyDelete
It's not because of me. She already told me she's limiting me to one visit a month, and that I have to keep my phone calls to once a week so that I don't smother her independence.ReplyDelete
I have to call you once a week? I don't remember agreeing to that.ReplyDelete
I'm feeling claustrophobic!
Are those hives?
To "NK": Every time I go to your blog, but I can't comment. This simultaneously infuriates me and pleases me. And I think there's a point there, somewhere in between.ReplyDelete
Without the heart factored into any plan, one can argue that the other option is never worth it.ReplyDelete
Life is meant to be lived..enjoy it.