Last week, I had a preliminary interview with a media conglomerate for a role that sounded great on paper. I was a little surprised to get tapped because I don’t have a journalism degree, haven’t interned in a newsroom or paid my dues at The Ortonville Independent or a place like that. I worked my way up through the student journalism ranks in college. I took a little time off from writing to work in international development and have balanced freelancing and corporate work (and now entrepreneurship) for the last five years.
The hiring manager (a senior editor) called back because the HR rep I had spoken to had forgotten to ask me about salary. He said I had a lot of experience and he didn’t want me to get deeper into the hiring process without hearing what the job paid. It wasn’t enough and we both knew it. I thanked him for his transparency and he thanked me for my frankness. I told him I was flattered to have made the shortlist out of the hundreds of applications he received.
Five years ago, I probably would have kept pursuing that job and tried to make the salary work. I would have considered it the break of a lifetime. Now, I’m okay with taking a pass. I’ve built kind of a thing for myself and have capitalized on opportunities that have come my way and I have a good sense of what my work is worth. In letting this one go, I realized that at some point I’ve stopped looking for someone to give me my big break. I’ve stopped believing that the only way I can have more is if someone gives it to me. I’ve stopped looking for a benefactor, a patron, a champion. I’ve accepted, without really realizing it, that if I want more, I can go get it. I have the tools and the knowledge and the experience to figure out how to get more money, more time, more experience, more life for myself and by myself. I don’t need to wait to be chosen and to hand over the power of that choice to others. Life is much more like a lemonade stand than the senior prom.
Recently, someone told me I was a successful adult woman and I deserved to think of myself that way and structure my career accordingly. I was making my life more difficult by denying myself this reality and the things that go with it. “You don’t need to buy a $1500 St. John suit, but you do need to get the USB ports on your Macbook fixed.” was the precise quote. I reminded myself of this after I hung up with the hiring manager. As a resourceful adult, I can afford to pass on opportunities that aren’t right, because I have the ability to create better ones for myself. There is a sense of peace in this thought.
Generation Meh turns five years old this month. I feel like the blog and its author are growing up.