I graduated over a year ago, and I still don’t have what people would consider a grown-up job that can, say, “pay rent” or “make a difference in the world” or “give my mom something to brag on Facebook about.” Though, the strange thing about this is that I like where I’m at. I just have trouble explaining that to people.
A year ago, I loathed myself for not having a job secured upon graduation, like so many of my non-filmic peers did. I became more and more disappointed in myself every time someone talked about his “big move to Seattle for a full-time job omg look at me I’m successful!!!” I would see Facebook profile updates regarding new jobs, and start sobbing until I found enough cat and marriage proposal videos to soothe my soul. Whenever my friends’ parents would talk about their kids’ thriving careers, I would sit on my hands to repress the urge to stick my fingers in my ears and sing “la la la laaaaaa.”
And then it stopped. After a couple months of therapy. And many talks with my boyfriend about how he thinks I’m good for something other than eating all the salsa in the apartment. And taking the time to figure out that everyone’s at different stages in their lives, and also, fuck Jacoby who works for Google because he’s a tool and I don’t know why I have him as a “friend” on social media anyway.
I’ve sat at a desk for eight hours a day (sometimes more because everyone says to be “the last intern to leave the office” but it’s hard when everyone else has heard the same goddamn thing), and felt the creativity and passion to make things slowly draining out of me as I headed home on the 10 East. I know that if lived like this for a long period of time, I would have money and bitches and good hair, but I wouldn’t be happy. I need to use my hands and mind to make things, and while some people can do this after a day at the office, I don’t have that ability. For this reason, I don’t have a “real job” and I don’t intend on getting one soon, and I’m okay with that.
So, when people ask me what I’m up to, it’s hard to answer. I could say that I’m “in between jobs” or “looking for full-time work,” but that’s a lie. I could say I’m “writing” or “making cards with Troll dolls on them,” but that’s usually followed by questions about who I’m working for and how much I get paid (but really, who wouldn’t buy a card with a Troll on it?). Typically, I just say something like, “I’m doing nothing,” which leads to pats on the back and comments like, “something will happen eventually.” Then they offer to pick up the bill because they feel bad, so hey, free meal!
But if I did get the sense that people really wanted to know about what I’m doing, and didn’t just want to make small talk or use my response to segue into one of their own humble-brags, and we had the time to actually talk before my meter ran out, I’d say this: “I get to wake up every morning, sit at my desk, and devote my time to making things I want to make. I don’t get paid, I don’t have health benefits, and I don’t get donuts in the lobby on Fridays. But I do get to do what I love, and for no reason other than it’s what I want to do.” However, this answer doesn’t get me free food, so I guess I’ll just keep it to myself.