Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees, so goes the idiom. Sometimes we get caught up in what we want to happen; hope springs eternal, said Alexander Pope. And sometimes we just need to take a hint. Have perception. I actually came up with a mantra that I try to invoke in my life: presence, patience, perception. Perception of others’ wants and needs, perception of the implications of my thoughts and actions. Sometimes it leads to over-thinking, but more often than not I think it’s healthy, grounding in some way. But being human I find it very hard to not get caught up in what might be. As I’m a daydreamer the possible gets in the way of the realistic sometimes. Well, more than sometimes. But being that I’m a rather dry, sarcastic and cynical fellow, I usually pop that dreamy balloon before too long.
I’m going through the throws of applying for big boy jobs these days. In a saturated and highly competitive market where everyone else appears to be more qualified than you – or perhaps the more preferred gender or color – I’ve been faced with constant letdowns and frustration. This process has been going on since the summer of 2014. To date, I’ve had 16 phone interviews and been invited onsite 5 times. While I’m still waiting to hear back on the recent visits, the process is grueling. And this isn’t to say that all of these places I’m looking at are gems; far from it in many places. It’s just that the line of work I’ve trained for and seemingly want to do requires me to go wherever I’m lucky enough to get an offer. I’m truly at the mercy of the market. It’s tough. When you’re faced with few options and much of those options aren’t ideal in many ways (location, regional aesthetics, social opportunities, etc.), you get left feeling like you have no control and the future ain’t as rosy as you once hoped it would be. Then again you get grounded and realize that having a positive attitude might help. Place is a subjective reality largely dependent on expectations, so adjust my expectations, right? Probably so. Good advice. Thank you, me.
Nonetheless, that still leaves me waiting for that offer. Until then I’ll continue to shuck and jive and dance for my peanuts. I’m putting on performances, answering the same questions in different ways to appeal to others’ subjective desires, and trying to paint myself as a winner all at the same time. Hard to do when you don’t feel that you’ve won anything in a long while.
I’ve been experimenting on this online dating stuff, too. Been a while now, actually almost as long as I’ve been applying for big boy jobs. So damn near 2 years, you say? Why, yes, that’s about right. Clearly not much lasting success there either. Thanks for pointing that out… I’ve been on countless first dates and been in contact with numerous other ladies. I’ve engaged in online conversation threads (for weeks in some cases) for that setup of the first meeting only to be cancelled on the day of/day before – at least three times. I’ve sat at bars/coffee houses waiting for people to show up and when they do its 20 minutes late. I’m a punctual fellow, that doesn’t fly with me. That one was over before it started. I’ve had several ladies show up looking significantly different than their pictures. Clearly they posted images from 5 years ago. Clearly they abandoned their workout routines and subscribed to the bonbon of the day club. It’s grim out there, I tell you.
I’ve seen those ladies online that on paper are perfect – for me. I reach out and find out that I’m not perfect for them. Radio silence. Oh well. Sometimes I’ll let that mental wanderlust take over and I’ll see my life unfold (see the article on the ephemeral crush for more); and then, pop! It all flutters away… This is true for those jobs I’ve been applying for as well. I’ll see the perfect job in the perfect city with all the other perfect variables rounding out the package. Then I apply and wait, only to eventually get a form letter rejection email or never hear anything at all. Pop! It flutters away…
Perception is something that is honed. And I’m working on it. But you have to live some life and take some lumps before you’re wise enough to really embrace and embody perception. It is sad that wisdom comes with age because we sure need it when we’re young. I’m basically middle-aged now but I’ll consider myself young for this moment. I guess that way I can think that I’ve got my whole life in front of me, which I do, technically. It’s just that there is far less room for error these days. Don’t want to have to move back in with the parents at thirty-something, you know? I spent one summer at home after my freshman year of college. That was the last time I need to do extended time under my parents’ roof. I love you though, mom and dad!
I need to learn how to take a hint. Those jobs and pretty girls that on paper look perfect are – just not for me. I’m a blue collar, run-of-the-mill, average guy. I should save my energy and stop aiming high. But when you make the decision to settle, what does that say about the rest of your life? I think that’s the beginning of the end, no? When you stop thinking you’re capable of the best then you stop being so. It’s tautological. But that doesn’t translate to more notches in the win column, just more effort and disappointment. It’s like Sisyphus pushing that dang ole’ rock up the hill and watching it roll right back down only to do it again. I guess Camus was right; life is absurd. As long as we accept that then I guess you might as well have fun, even if it’s only in the fancies of your mind for a few moments. Live in those thoughts and you have that dream job and that beautiful lady, even if it’s only for a few seconds. The alternative is to take a hint, and that’s no fun.
So I’ll try to continue to apply that mantra to my life, but I gotta say, maybe it would be better to perceive that I will get that job and that girl, and that it will be a fairy tale ending. It may be foolish to do so, but it’s all a manner of self-representation and mind over matter. Confidence permeates, confidence sells. Confidence is a pheromone. We all smell it. So maybe the hint I need to take isn’t that I’m grasping for things out of my reach; maybe the hint I need to take is that my mindset is disallowing me to grab hold. Perspective. The fourth P. You can have the hint, I’ll just take the perspective.