By Lindsey Peters, IATG ContributorMay 27, 2016
My head was full of daydreams as I sat on the plane from Austin, TX, where I just finished my graduate school degree, headed to Chicago, IL, where I visited my family for two weeks, to Los Angeles, CA, where I was moving permanently. After eighteen – EIGHTEEN – years of school, I was finally ready to begin my career as a clinical social worker and become the girlboss I knew I was destined to become.
Well... it would have been really great if that worked out.
I applied to jobs daily for two months with no desirable interview offers. I have a spreadsheet cataloguing my application history that would make anyone sad. I was feeling exhausted and discouraged. I started asking myself questions, such as, why can’t I find a job? What’s wrong with me? Was my major a mistake?
In a desperate need to get out of my apartment and make some money, I interviewed with a temp agency and was quickly placed at a site doing full-time office work. The job was at a software company, and my role was basically glorified scanning for 40 hours a week. Within 2 months I transferred to the Human Resources department, which was an upgrade in terms of excitement, but the job still didn’t fulfill me. I wanted to be advocating for mental health, giving therapy, and helping people find ways to increase their quality of life. Instead, I was filing paperwork and filling in spreadsheets. I stayed at that temp job for 5 months before finding a position as a group therapist.
As I look back on it now, I can see that my time as a temp taught me way more than I realized.
My 5-month post-grad temp job taught me to accept life in transition. It’s natural to believe that we should have it all figured out, but the reality is is that things take time. We live in an era of amazing technological advances that have shaped us to expect instant results, but not all things work that way.
When we are in transition and working a right-now job, we should first accept it - remember that it’s only a passing phase and be thankful for the financial stability it’s providing us. Next, we have to be gentle with ourselves. So many people accept jobs that they aren’t passionate about to help them get on their feet before pursuing their dreams. It’s normal! No job has to be permanent, and we don’t have to get “stuck” in a right-now job if we don’t want to.
And finally, we have to find fulfilling things to do outside of work. For me, it was starting a blog about mental health. It helped me preserve my passion and feel connected to it. For you, it might be joining a choir, taking improv classes, creating a zine. Whatever! Just do something that allows you to engage in your passion off-hours. Don’t let your dreams dull while you work your right- now job – good things are coming your way.
Are you in a “right-now job” funk? Make a list of some things you're passionate about and start pursuing in those activities outside of your job!
Lindsey Peters is a Chicago-born girl living in sunny Los Angeles. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and is passionate about mental health advocacy, personal growth, self-care, and getting as much sleep as is humanly possible. Check out her blog dedicated to mental and emotional health at morningwellness.com.