Today I had an informational interview with an executive director of an organization in my city. She seemed very unable to offer any advice. She kept saying that I should seek out non-profits that are legal related, which I guess is the only advice she could give me, but quite frankly, I have no interest in the law or working in any regard with it. I never thought my law degree would cause so many problems. I can't get past the interview when the employer says, "you're overqualified." I explained that to her, and she didn't know what to make of it. When she asked what I was doing now, I said interviewing for retail jobs, so I can work them at night and intern during the day, in the hope of building relationships. She said basically how unfortunate that was. The whole conversation made me feel really, really bad about myself.
I guess that's another plus for medicine: you're in a path towards a job. You have job security. You don't have to go through all this of wondering how you're going to use your skills. I have no skills, basically. My legal skills will not come in handy for whatever job I end up doing this year. Argghhhhh! The job search is so frustrating!!!!!
As I was working on sending out resumes just now, and looking through a list of alums from my undergrad school that I have contact info for, I started thinking about the concept of the breadwinner. Seeing as nearly all the alums are male (in the legal field that I'm currently sending out resumes for), I started thinking about this concept.
When I was in college, and up until around age 22, I never once in my life gave any thought to the concept that anyone would question my committment to a career due to my gender. Gender was never an issue in college. Had I stuck with the pre-med path in college, I would have gone to med school. Since I chose the lawyer path, before starting law school I imagined myself as a successful lawyer at a firm, working my way up the ladder.
It was in law school that gender first became an issue. I remember a conversation amongst a small group of classmates in the hallway, where the men in the group admitted that they wanted wives whose careers were "lower on the totem pole" than theirs. They said point-blank that they wanted to be the breadwinners, and that they expected their future wives to stay home or have a low-status career, because they felt the only "right" way to do things was for the man to be the breadwinner. I was aghast. I had never heard anyone talk like this. I could not believe what I was hearing. As time moved on, gender kept coming up over and over again. A friend in a chemistry Phd program said that her faculty encouraged the men more than the women to excell, and she also expressed lament that many women in her class were dropping out once they got married. We had many conversations about this, and she agreed that gender was becoming an issue--either in conversations with family members ("when are you going to get married and start a family?" to unspoken expectations from her advisors "why not look for less high-powered positions so you have time for family," etc.)
And I even get this from my own parents now. Statements like, "there only needs to be one doctor in your household and your husband fills that role. Why don't you just stay home?" Or, "med school is so hard. I don't think it's for you." Yes, my parents have said these things and more, despite their sending me to top-notch schools all my life. What have they been grooming me for if not for a high-powered career?
I think when a woman reaches 24-25, her "worth" as a breadwinner starts to lessen. She's expected to find a husband, and at that point whether or not she wants to work suddently becomes "optional." No one seems to blink an eye at the fact that I have a JD but don't want to practice law. They say things like, "well, you're married now," and that seems to be an okay justification. However, if I were a guy, I'm sure I'd be viewed as "flaky" or "not assuming my responsibilities as a man." Honestly, I do think that if I were a guy I'd be viewed as a total loser (working at the mall with a grad degree while searching for a job). How would society treat a guy who was in my shoes? I shudder to think, but since I'm a woman no one seems to take issue with it.
This is so aggravating. I think it's very sad that women are not encouraged to be the breadwinners more in today's society. Why is this? I personally have always felt a drive to be the breadwinner, and I'm experiencing a lot of personal angst because this is not the case.
Lately I've been feeling very "deep." Maybe it's the quarter-life crisis really kicking in now. I don't know. But whatever it is, I am really tired of stagnating.
I wish I could get some sort of "life makeover" coach. But I know they exist and they're really expensive. I just need someone to help guide me as I try to make some life makeovers. It's hard, though--for instance, this job search. I feel like I'm getting really burned out. I feel like I've tried everything. What are people supposed to do for money while job searching? Some crappy minimum wage job isn't going to cut it for me--I've got bills and loans to pay. But that's all there is, really.
Argghh. Today I was talking to my mother on the phone, and I mentioned my annoyance that the job search is yielding nothing. She suggested having a baby. But the way she put it, "you have nothing to do now. Why not pop out a baby?" really got to me. I really didn't appreciate what she said. I'm definitely not ready to have a baby at this point. Maybe a few more years.
Read through your diary (hope that was okay)...and just know there is someone (me) going through nearly the exact situation...wanting a career in medical school, family issues, married, late-20s, etc. Trying to work through all of these decisions is exhausting at best. Although I can't give any advice, just know there are folks going through the same thing.
Of course it's okay if you read my diary!!!! That's what it's hear for. I loooooove feedback. It really makes my day. So please, keep the private messages coming!!!!!
Anyhow, when I looked at the last time I posted, I can't believe it was a little over a week ago. I am slacking. In the same vein, I think I've only been a mommd member for a little over a month, I feel like I've gotten so much out of the site in that month.
So I've been working in my retail job, it's part-time (they didn't have full-time), and I must admit, much to my surprise, it's working out very well. At first, I felt totally out of place, because it's completely mindless work, but now I'm realizing that it's really helping my mental health. To refresh all of your memories, I've been unemployed since the beginning of April. So basically that's 3.5 months. But maybe April doesn't count b/c that's when I took the MCAT for the second time, and then we went on vacation right after. So maybe my job search officially started full-time on May 1. So that's 2.5 months I guess to be more exact.
This retail job is helping me feel less directionless. It's giving me a (small) income, is helping me plan my days better and feel like I have some direction, and it's helping me feel less lonely, because I'm working a lot of nights, which is when I tend to feel the lonelyist. The work is extremely boring, but I do enjoy interacting with others, and my co-workers are all very nice. I've been talking to one gal who's 20, and applying to dental school. So we've been talking about med school versus dental school and all that goes along with that, which helps pass the time. I'm not saying I don't look at my watch every five minutes, which I sure do, but at least this is better than a secretarial job. Sure wish it paid more than $9 per hour. But I am grateful for the job, as I applied to about 30 retail and waitress positions. This was the only one that offered me an actual position.
I'm continuing to job search full-time, I have a free career counselor through the city who's helping me with my resume, I have my days free for informational interviewing, which I've been doing a lot of, and I'm getting feedback on my resume, which is good. It's helped my resume get a lot stronger to have so many eyeballs look at it and give me feedback. I've been spending my days soul-searching and learning about careers, and I must say that for the first time ever, I've discovered some careers besides healthcare that I'd be interested in. I never thought that would happen. I always thought it was medicine or bust. But now I've developed a list of 6 careers that I could see myself in. And I feel happy about that. That there are more options for me. Problem is, often, more options means it's harder to choose. Hmmmmmm......
The lonliness thing is feeling a little better, both because of the job and also b/c I've made two acquaintances through Craig's List, who seem to be interested in making a friend.
That gal I mentioned above who's at my job and is 20 years old--as I talk to her I've been thinking a lot about what I would do if I was 20 years old again (I'm 28). Gosh, I'd do everything so differently.
First of all, I'd finish out college exactly the way I did. I have no regrets about my college experience whatsoever. I majored in a humanity, I studied abroad my junior year, I took no science but a ton of courses like American studies, women's studies, etc., that have made me a more intellectual person. So fast-forward to graduation. Instead of going to law school, I'd instead take one year to complete a post-bacc, take the MCAT, and volunteer in medicine. Then I'd take the next year off, and live abroad and work some menial job like bartending. I'd use the time to travel widely, and "find myself." Then, at age 24, I'd move to some great city, like NYC, and spend a year or so working in a medical-related job, to experience big city life and further narrow down what I'd like to do. Then, assuming I'd still choose medicine, I'd enroll in med school at age 26. I think this is the perfect time to start. I'd get into my state med school, to try and keep the loans down. I'd do well in school, land a residency in anesthesia (my top choice), somewhere fun that I'd like to live. I still have so much bitter regret about the path I did take--namely law school. I'm still bitter about having wasted three precious years doing something I hated on a daily basis.
The other day I bought a book called "20 Something, 20 Everything." It is truly excellent. It's all about the early mid-life crisis many twenty-somethings face, and what to do about it. The book has a bunch of exercises you can go through, in order to better find out what the nature of your mid-life crisis is. When I took the introductory quiz, that asked whether or not you're suffering from a quarter-life crisis, I found out that I answered yes to every single one, meaning I'm totally in crisis mode. Arggghhh.
Today, Monday, I felt really tired and sort of depressed. My day started with a phone interview with a company that I have no interest in whatsoever--but an alum sent in my resume and they called me. Crazy that it's the company I don't want to work for that actually calls me.
After that was over I went out shopping--first time in months--and got a few things on sale at my retail store, and got to use my disount. I shopped for four hours, and boy was I tired because it was so hot out!!!! Then I came home and just felt too exhausted to go to my class on Monday nights--normally I always go but today I just couldn't get moving when the time came. Instead I took a nap and watched as my hubby folded laundry. I was too tired to pitch in. Got dinner--chips and salsa and pizza--and then now I'm just procrastinating on the Internet.
I guess I feel bummed because I sent out tons of resumes/cover letters late last night, plus lots of requests for informational interviws with alums and I barely got any email in my inbox today. I guess today was just a setback, hopefully temporary. My hubby was so perky today, he got off work really early, around 2, and so felt like he had so much more energy than he usually does, it was really nice.
I also felt bummed when I was shopping in the retail store and talking to the girl I mentioned above, who works there. She's really nice, but next to her I feel really regretful that I didn't live my life a different way after college. At 20 years old, she's so incredibly driven, I was such a slacker in college, why couldn't I have had that amazing drive? It makes me feel really bad about myself.
Tongiht I'm just going to send out some more resumes, and that's about it. I'm still feeling really tired.