Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Year of the Self By: Karen Pilarski

My year has been tough in terms of life, love and career. I've made a point of consistently writing blog posts hoping it would build up my career and become a therapeutic tool. 

It has been a year since I completed grad school and I still have yet to find the job I want. I have networked, wrote emails, sent resumes, even contemplated going back for another degree. I surrendered to my fear of social media.

A novice at first, I have managed to learn the robes to the fast paced social media like Twitter and LinkedIn.

When my LinkedIn account was created, I observed several people saying they work at 'self.'

At first I thought that was silly. Foolishly I assumed it was because the person was unemployed or looking for another position. However, reflecting back I now think it is poetic to say one works at 'self.'

Who doesn't want to be in charge of their own career and life?

This whole complicated process has left me feeling like my former teenage self.  Self loathing of having restrictions and boundaries placed on my aspirations.

While I have many contacts and followers who find my heartfelt words comforting, I have also been bombarded by criticism and bullies (online and offline). A few times written words have been used against me.

A typical teen cares immensely about what their peers think and the desire to be seen as cool. I'm very guilty of possessing similar qualities.

Insecurity and wanting to be part of world of journalism has been commonplace. Often it is as if I'm grounded at home watching successful writers play from out the nose smudged window.

Second guesses about the amount of talent within me lingers in the air. The air becomes so thick with frustration and toxic thoughts.

Doubts slip through the cracks of the door and freezes confidence. Every rejection letter is a disappointment that barricades me in place.

I rather break the glass window and be done than continuing to struggle for breath. Wanting to give up, the pen is tossed on the floor.

Despite it all, with intense might, I still try. At times I can be my own worst critic.

On an especially grueling day I told someone about feeling depressed about the lack of movement in my career. His response? "Go into business for yourself."

He then told me how more and more people are building their own personal company or brand. The economy is in poor condition and jobs are thinning out. Employers look at extensive experience and higher degrees for hiring. It appears talent and determination are put lower on the list of great qualities.

Chuckling to myself, I recalled the term "selfie." The social media trend where a person (mostly teenagers) takes their own picture and plaster it online.
While some aspiring writers may give up the dream, I'm not one to surrender to fear and rejection.

Writers are special in that we feed off misery and struggle. As a writer, my mind figures out the mess and translates it into beautiful words. There is no shame of taking a 'written selfie', meaning posting our blogs or advertising ourselves.

Why not make 2014 about the self? If I can't secure a full time writing job, than I can keep working on my writing and supporting other writers. 

When all the doom and gloom is dusted away, it is realized the door was always open. A new attitude was the key to unlocking it the whole time.

Strife inspires me and shoves the dropped pen back in my trembling hand.

"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield