First Jobs

I’m not sure that it ever gets any easier to mask the disappointment reflected in a child’s face when life screws them over.

One might anticipate that as teens move into adulthood their disappointments and failures would not cause as much pain to a parent. If you are a parent, I know very well that you have agonized over your child not being picked for the premiere lead in the school play, or felt twice as down as they did when they just weren’t quite first base material, but sent to the outfield instead to stand and wait and contemplate if they would ever get to play in the infield.

The pain may lesson some, but your child is always your child rather they are two, or twelve, or twenty-two. Youngest daughter Alison is just about done with her two-year internship with the USGS. A position came up for a post-Bachelors two-year position in her office. She applied. The decision was not left to her supervisor, but forwarded to someone higher up in the government chain of command. She has been waiting over a month for a decision to come down. Today she found out she didn’t get the position. She was well over qualified by about four governmental grade levels. The position was given to a veteran. The second veteran hired by this office recently.

I am all for this veteran getting this job. I am even more for the honest assessment of Alison’s level of competence and responsibility gained by working in this office for two years. She has learned skills that will be valuable to her next position. The work done in this office isn’t the type of geology that she really wants to do, but two more years there would have provided her with an adequate income and the ability to take some time to search for her ideal place. It was a safety net of sorts and familiar I’m sure. It’s easy to relate to that nervous anxiety, that unease when we find we have to start over.

Even though she didn’t want this to be her forever job, I know that she was looking forward to the independence it would allow. I think that is the biggest disappoint she is facing right now, and I’m sure it feels as if she will be stuck at home forever.

We both know that isn’t the case, and the right job is out there. I have always had this notion that she would not be long for our home state. She is an adventurer, and I still think that her true path is somewhere else, somewhere that will offer her even greater experience and responsibility.

Knowing that she will come out on top doesn’t make the look on her face today any easier to deal with.

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9 thoughts on “First Jobs”

  1. I’m sorry for her disappointment, and yours. It’s clear you’ve got the “perspective that helps one move forward” part down pat, which is critical. The other part I find helpful, in immediate aftermaths, is ice cream and a cheesy movie. (Though you posted this several days ago, so perhaps you have already passed the ice cream phase?)

    Best wishes to A.

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    1. Thanks, and rather ironically, there was ice cream involved, although no cheesy movies. At this point she seems to have moved forward, but she rather humorously asked that she be allowed to have her moments of bitterness toward both the government and the person who got the job. I think that’s fair.

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  2. Ugh, that’s so hard to deal with! And, it can be a tough thing throughout our lives.

    Last year when we moved out here, my husband got the great job that got us to Portland. Then, I was unemployed and had to pick up a retail sales job (something I hadn’t done in 5 years) to pay the bills while I was still looking.

    Eventually the hard work paid off and I got the job I’ve been wanting for years. It took a lot of determination, but looking back, I’m proud of myself for never giving up.

    All will be just fine for your daughter. That wasn’t the right opportunity.

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    1. Thank you, and I agree that she will be fine. I vaguely remember those feelings of desire to simply be doing what I dreamed my career would be, then realized that eating is good too 😉

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  3. No words here to make it feel any better for you or A. Along with the disappointment comes the comfort that the two of you are going through it together and will be alongside each other as A arrives at another attractive plan that will hopefully serve her even better than the position with USGS.

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    1. Thanks Bruce. Today is brighter for her than yesterday and she is pretty resourceful. She’s already on the road to sending out resume/CV so we’ll see what happens 🙂

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