Someone Wants Me

After upwards of 400 job applications submitted from the East Coast to the West Coast and the No Coast in between, finally someone wants me.

It took until the interview process to realize how much I actually want/need a job. I mean, I knew I needed one, but it wasn’t until something actually seemed promising that I felt that drive again.

I’ve loved the jobs I’ve had. And I haven’t had many. I started at Goodwill when I was 16 and worked there for almost four years, then at a car dealership for almost four years, then at NP Dodge for a year. Then London for three months while I finished my masters, followed by a couple years of unemployment and self-employment.

When the Target opportunity came up, it reminded me of the NP Dodge opportunity. When I was desperately trying to get away from the car dealership, I saw an opening for an escrow officer at NP Dodge and had no idea what that word even meant. I knew I fit most of the requirements and I knew that I was a quick learner, so I went ahead and applied on a whim. Much to my surprise, I was called in for an interview. I remember exactly what I wore. I had a great time in the interview and was told that they had a few others to do, so I should hear at some point. I went home and took a nap and was woken from that nap with a phone call: a job offer.

I ended up absolutely loving escrow and real estate. And I really excelled at it. After a few months, I was promoted to a salaried position and had a junior officer working under me. Soon after that, I was handling all of the REOs and FSBOs. It really killed me to leave. I know I wrote about it in here somewhere. It really did. I should have gone back, actually, after finishing my masters. I was just so sure that I’d land the perfect job in social media somewhere in New York.

Until I didn’t. I had quick-links at the top of my browser for HBO jobs, BBC jobs, BBC America jobs, AMC jobs, NBC jobs, ABC jobs, Discovery jobs, Time Warner jobs; pretty much every major network. I was on LinkedIn for hours every day scrolling through page after page of social media manager jobs and the like. I realized quickly that with the SM manager positions, they required anywhere from 1-5 years of experience. I applied anyway, but it was just one meme after another.

I had limited myself to the coasts, so I started pulling in from each direction. Okay, no one in New York or California wants me, maybe something in Connecticut or Washington? Okay, no one there, so maybe Colorado or Chicago? On top of that, I had started applying for whatever job was available at the places I actually wanted to work (the networks). Got a receptionist job open? Okay, hire me. Someone needed in the mail room? I’ll do it. Finally, I was applying for the same thing in Omaha, wondering if I’d ever be able to do anything remotely like I had dreamed.

When I moved to Minnesota with Andrew, I started looking around at anything surrounding me to see what kind of jobs were available. Lo and behold, the same IT/nursing jobs that were in Omaha were up here, too. i.e. nothing for which I was qualified. I found some social media or otherwise media-related positions open, but either I didn’t have the experience (cue the memes) or I just didn’t get the job in the end.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but just in case I haven’t: I know how extremely blessed and fortunate I am to having been able to support myself off of my savings/trust for so long whilst looking for a job. I wouldn’t have been able to do it, much like much else, without my grandparents having the foresight and ability to create such a thing. I think it also enabled me to not search as frantically, and it definitely allowed me to hold out for the right job. Even when I panicked and got anxiety about my dwindling savings, I knew I had at least another year, if I so needed. But then it’d be gone, and what would my grandparents say, if they could?

So in the midst of another mild panic attack regarding just that topic, I decided to see if there were any openings at this Target Express down the street. Yes, Target Express. Google it. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed with it. I’m possessive over it. I need one like, in my apartment. Anyway, there was a Team Lead position open. My first thought was, oh I don’t have any leadership experience – thinking, I’ve never had the title of ‘manager.’ But like the escrow officer situation, I did meet the other requirements, so I submitted an application.

Two days later, I got a call about coming in for an interview. That interview was life-changing, no joke. The woman I met with just totally turned my view around: I had loads of leadership experience, I had led many people and many situations. She told me to be confident in that. She even said that I was phenomenal. I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve never gotten that compliment in my life. I walked out of that interview with my head held so high. And I actually had hope again. I didn’t even realize just how hopeless I’d become until she gave some hope back to me. I doubt very much I’ll ever have an interview quite like that again.

After that, I interviewed with that woman’s mentor, who has been with Target for as long as I’ve been on Earth. Then I got to move on to the next one, and the next one, and suddenly, I’m at the First Ever Target to make sure I will be a good fit. When the store leader of THE Target said she’d love to have me as part of her team, I legit got choked up right there in her office. Someone actually wants me. Someone actually sees value in me. Someone thinks I’d be a good addition to their team, their company. It had been so long.

I walked straight out onto the sales floor and bought a few pairs of khakis and a few red shirts.

My goal is to not only sail through training and rise in the ranks, but to hopefully express just how thankful and honored I truly am for this opportunity. I know I expressed in each interview just how much of a Target fangirl I am, but I mean, I’m actually sitting here in tears just writing this up.

Who knows what this opportunity has in store for me. And Andrew. And for us. I mean, this is going to help us with our goal to find a house in another year or so. This is going to save us so much money on groceries and everything else we need. Personally, this is going to give me something to do. Something to get me out of the house. Something to feel like I’m part of the human race again. I have worth again. I can get rid of the guilt I’ve felt for depleting my trust. Hell, I can better serve the purposes of Far From Everything Films. Just.. so many good things.

Oh, one of my favorite parts: I had forgotten to take my lip ring out when I was meeting with HR, so I apologized for it. She said, “so what? You can wear that here.”

I have half of my head shaved, gauged ears, and a lip piercing, and all of that is okay. (Here come the tears again). Seriously, it’s never been okay. I had to ask/beg permission to put blue in my hair while I was at Goodwill. I got written up at Woodhouse for forgetting to take out my lip piercing. The head on the stud was stuck and I couldn’t get it off without greasy pliers from the service department, cutting up my lip in the process. I couldn’t wear it at NP Dodge either. Nor do I remember having any sort of wild hair along the way.

Now it’s okay. Now I’m okay just as I am. Not like these things make me who I am, but they are part of me. And they’re okay. What a relief.

This whole situation is such a relief. Finally, someone wants me. Target wants me. And Target wants me for me.



Speaking of someone wanting me, I’m also blessed to have a partner who wants me, and wants me for me. In spite of the fact that I worry too much and I’m a shit and I’m petty and I hardly ever put any effort into my appearance (subject to change with impending job) and I never help with the dishes and leave hair in the shower and otherwise leave the house a mess and whine when he stays at work late and whine just a lot of the time, probably, and make the occasional comment about wanting a ring and a baby and a house and an additional dog (or four) and all these other things, he seems to love me and even like me.

I’d quote a bunch of Sara Bareilles lyrics now, but I’ve already wept enough during this post.

I Think I Know What I’ll Call My Novel

I had to reflect on my master’s program: 

“Well, it’s fitting that as the end is nigh, I would become ill. Nothing serious, but I think my immune system fought long and hard this summer and it finally failed me this past week. 

As I try to be, and as I’ve tried to be more as of late, I’m going to be frank in my reflections. But you can still call me Nina.

I’ll also make really shitty jokes.

I think it’s immeasurable – how much I’ve learned. Media psychology… I think it’s incredibly timely and will be; I think it’s so important because it’s in our faces every minute of every day; it has opened up new passions for me (thinking about getting a MAPP once I’ve recovered from this program); I’m just glad I found it. I still look back on that fateful night at work, talking to a coworker about going back to school but not knowing what the hell to study; begrudgingly deciding on general psychology, since I couldn’t think of a particular direction. I can’t even remember what I searched for exactly that landed me on Dr Rutledge’s article. It may have been the awful flourescents, but there was definitely a light shining down from the heavens as I dove into some frantic, excited Google searches. By the end of the night, I had an email chain with Dr Rutledge herself and an MSPP application half-filled out. I had a direction. So obvious, it was. A marriage of my passion/unquenchable thirst for film/television/media and my passion/interest in psychology. This was going to be perfect.
Turned out to be HARD AS HELL. In truth, for about the first half of the program, I was very cocky – getting by on raw talent like I always had before; struggling with writing academically, I’ll plainly admit, but still not asking for help. Clearly, I must have thought that I’d get by without it. Writing academically isn’t my style. It’s stiff and unfeeling and it’s not me and it’s not the way I talk. It’s literally pulling teeth to write that way and I’d rather have teeth pulled than write that way. But I have to. It sucks. I hate it. I can’t fully embrace it. I don’t know if I’m just incapable or strictly resistant. I never want to do it again. I hate having to cite every single thing I say. I feel like I need to put (, 2013) after saying “the sun is out today.” Once this twenty-odd-page paper is finished, I’ll throw up and go have a drink and then probably too many and then throw up all over again. 
I’m afraid of it because I’m not good at it. I’m afraid of it because it’s different than what I’m used to. 

Besides the many weaknesses I’ve discovered of myself along the way, I’ve discovered my resilience, also. Either that or I’ve just strengthened my stubbornness, but whatever. For example, I got a C in one of my classes and didn’t know that was a failing grade. Obviously, I glossed over that part of any syllabus. After the procedural drama, I had the option of taking the class as an independent study either at the end of the program or on top of the program. It was never an option to me to take it at the end of the program. Even if it would be a pain in the ass to do two things at once. It was my fault I was in that position, so I couldn’t complain about the consequences too much. I surprised myself by coming back and getting an A on just about everything since then. (Maybe not every single thing, but just about). I’ve never been one of those students who has to get an A. I am just fine with mediocre grades. Unfortunately, I learned the difficult way that  mediocre is failing in a master’s program. But hey, I made it here. Just have to rewrite my comp final and then do the capstone project. Oh, and the online portfolio. Yeah. See, I’m no stranger to failing, nor am I ashamed of it. That’s what the underdog does. In the hero narrative. (Can I get a “well played”?) 

I wanted to do the online master’s program because A: I didn’t want to move, B: I’m so lazy about physically going to class, and C: I absolutely abhor group discussions and group activities in class. When I read that very first syllabus, I just had to laugh. So. I’m stuck in a perpetual group activity with five strangers and they’re all way more accomplished than I am and I’m going to have to ‘discuss’ shit with them EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I mean, with my language? Sonovabitch.
What’s funny is that I honestly can’t remember anything up until we met at Dirk’s before graduation. I remember reading some things and thinking, wow, they’re really fucking smart. I couldn’t even match the level of replies I was getting. I felt like all I could say was, ‘I love that! Awesome idea!’ In other words, no real, constructive feedback at all. Then again, I hate peer reviews also, because I figure that I’m not going to change my writing based on a peer’s opinion of it, so why would anyone else? Now I’m getting into something else entirely, but I don’t know, I’m just rambling and I’m a horrible student, let’s be honest. Anyway, the days leading up to Boston. I’m chatting to Brett on FB, going, are you bringing your parents? Because I’m probably bringing mine.. I mean, I’d hate to get into Boston, check them into the hotel and then bugger off to this party and just leave them. We agreed we would bring our parents. Dirk said bring whoever. So we’d be the interns bringing our folks to the company Christmas party. At least we’d go down together. (In re-reading that, it sounds too harsh, but I’ll leave it, because I don’t mean it harshly. I wasn’t ashamed to bring my family, and I really wanted them to meet my classmates. I just felt like it kept me on that level of being the runt playing with the big kids. And as it turns out, I was just being a judgemental ass). 
I get to Dirk’s place with my family and we ended up walking in right behind Debbie. Right away she recognized me and gave me a hug and welcomed me into Dirk’s house. I immediately relaxed. Then we walked out back to where everyone else was. As soon as I rounded the corner, Kim jumped up and gave me a hug. Oh thank God, I thought; this is like seeing people I’ve known for years. Then I got to meet Dirk and Brett and everyone’s family. We had such an awesome night. Then Matthias showed up and everything was really complete. It’s absolutely incredible how quickly we fell into a rhythm – yeah, we’d been talking online for months with school-related stuff, but now we were friends over being classmates. 
Gents first:
Dirk is entirely too intelligent and on top of things for my liking. Makes me look even worse. He’s sarcastic and hilarious and I’ll always be so thankful for him hosting that pre-graduation party, because that changed everything for me.
Brett is also too intelligent and on top of things. He’s been there to answer my panicky questions and for some reason, I believe him when he says that I’ll get it done. I have really enjoyed his focus on video games throughout this whole process. 
Matthias has like five hundred scholastic degrees and the cutest German family in the world. Might just be the nicest, most unassuming person I’ve ever met and I think my mom has a slight crush on him (she seriously just mentioned him the other day). 

Debbie has been like my cheerleader and mood-booster. She’s always supportive and plays to my ego, telling me I’m kicking ass and that I’m an inspiration and I totally have a chance with Benedict Cumberbatch. Okay, I’m lying about that last bit, but I’m sure she’d say it if she knew it’s what I needed to hear. She’s got that story-telling/rambling gene that I’ve got, also 😉
Kim has put up with the most shit from me throughout this program. Neurotic texts about assignments or grades, endless clarification questions, taking the piss about her Bahstahn cah pahked down by Hahvahd Yahd. She always takes time out of her hectic life to tell me to calm down and breathe. 

All of my colleagues are so above my level, out of my league, insanely intimidating, professional, academic, driven, knows what they’re doing, etc – essentially everything I’m not. I’m not being self-depricating to be depressed, it’s just the way it is. I can’t believe I’ve gotten to this point, but I know why I have – it’s them. If it weren’t for Dirk’s party – really being able to build that camaraderie – who knows, really.”


So I post my reflection and then read everyone else’s – seems like no one else could be arsed to write a goddamn memoir like I did. Story of my life. I mean, really, when I get the green light to be gushy and honest, I will put the pedal through the floor.

When I write my novel, it’ll be called “You Shouldn’t Have Given Me Free Reign With This Whole Thing.”

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