#FiveYearPlan

My little sister is pregnant and I’m having a hard time being happy for her. I have to admit that I’ve always been jealous of this particular sister. In high school, I was envious of how she was skinner than me, had a cute boyfriend and seemed to be known and loved by everyone. She eventually pursued a career that I thought about chasing myself, got married and resided in city that I have dreamed of living in. As I’ve gotten older, I sat with these feelings and learned where they came from (my own insecurities, unnecessary parental pressures and judgements, etc). These days, I’m wise enough to know that I can’t compare my life to anyone else’s but this news still hurts. I want that life. My life is supposed to look like that… but it doesn’t.

I’m still in the middle of job hunting and I spend each morning asking myself interview questions to prep. My “favorite” question (and note the quotation marks) is where do you see yourself in five years? As much as I practice the answer to this questions aloud, I still have no solid, concerete idea. If someone asked me this question in 2015, I would have never have thought, “I’d be in quarantine from COVID-19.” Although I can’t exactly see where I am, I can imagine the way I feel in 2025- I’m feeling supported and successful with my job. I’m happy and in love in a romantic relationship. I’m enjoying the comforts of my apartment, the companionship of friends and feeling mental and physically strong.

It’s halfway into the 2020 and I know that the majority of the world threw out their yearly plans with the rise of Coronavirus. I know that I have. I feel like I have thrown away most of my plans since arriving to Texas almost two years ago (ask me why I call Austin, “the curse”). I recently figured out while it is good to have plans and keep planning for the future (especially financially), life happens. Epidemics happen. Job loss happens. Break ups happen. Bullshit happens. And that’s okay. I had this exact plan of how I wanted things to develop this year. None of those plans came to fruition so I’m just letting all of that go. As much as I love planning every single detail of my life, I’m just going to be for a while.

I know what I will- one day- get the job I’m desperately seeking, that dreamy relationship, my future family, etc. It will most definitely won’t go the way I plan but I feel like I’m half way there to what I’m envisioning for myself- I’m here in Austin where there are a lot of opportunity and I have a solid group of friends here and around the globe. Regardless of what my life feels like it lacks, my life is full at the moment and it’s only going to feel fuller. I just need to relax, be patient and keep ever so slowly pushing forward.

How are you taking a step back, dear reader? Do you have a five year plan?

#NotToday

I’ve been looking for a new position for the past several weeks. I’m getting interviews, LOTS of interviews, but nothing has cemented. I’ve been racking my brain to understand why I’m not getting asked back for second or third interviews and I think that I finally figured out the culprit. Say hello to my little friend: impostor syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern when an individual feels like a failure or doubts their accomplishments, often having an internalized fear of being called out as a fraud. And I’m not alone- 70% of all people experience these feelings at some point in their lives. We get consumed with all these thoughts of inadequacy: “I’m not good enough.” “It was just luck.” “Anyone could’ve done that.” “I have no idea what I’m doing.” “I don’t deserve to be here.” These words run through my head as I stumble over my words during phone interviews. I have a difficult time talking about my professional accomplishments and about myself, in general.

The imposter has followed me throughout school (since at least middle school) and the majority of roles in my career. I think about one of my previous roles where I spent the first two weeks of the job, convincing myself that my boss made a mistake with hiring me. They would find out that I can’t write nor perform any other one of my job responsibilities because I was “stupid.” That feeling was so overwhelming and hovered over me throughout most of my time with that position. I never felt like I belonged there even if I was producing good work. Even now as I wait tables, there is something in my head that tells me that I’m a terrible server. I screams loudly saying that my customers hate the service I provide them (and won’t tip me)l that my coworkers think I’m incompetent and I eventually will trip on an untied shoelace and spill trays of food all over the floor. That is far from the truth- I’ve had some of the most wonderful interactions with my customers. I haven’t spilled anything yet and I can’t control my coworkers thoughts so whatevs.

As I try to unpack where exactly these feelings inadequacies steam from, I don’t want to do another phone interview where I feel like I’m lying about my talents and my skills. So, how do I beat this? I battle the feeling by reminding myself that not only am I smart but I am capable of doing the work efficiently and effectively. If I don’t know something, I can learn how to do it. I’m a worthy hire and a goddamn good employee. I’m great; I know my stuff and I can do this.

I believe my own experiences stem from the “need to be the best” and the fear of failure. But I’m learning how to recognize the imposter and push it out of the way. I started talking myself up before interviews as if I was my own personal cheerleader. If you’re always telling yourself that you’re not good enough and that you don’t deserve anything, then you’ll never feel worthy of anything life gives you. If you say negative language to yourself often enough (like me), you will start performing in a way that hinders you, possibly hurting your career and furthering your illusions. Sure, I know that I’m not the smartest, most skilled person in the room but I am still pretty brilliant in my own way.

Talk is great but taking action can work wonders, as well. I need to own my achievements. I recently updated my website to reflect the amount of work I’ve had published. Sometimes, its takes a visual representation to convince yourself- wow! I’ve done a lot of good work. There is the proof! I am able to see that I wrote one solid piece and people continued to hire me for my writing. Better yet, people still read my pieces!

But now, if you could excuse me. I have an interview to prepare for. (Wish me luck!) How do you battle your imposter syndrome, dear reader?

#JobHunting

Job hunting… Ugh. Am I right?

In the last week and a half, I’ve applied to 41 jobs- positions ranging from marketing to editorial in various cities across our great nation. While I haven’t received any formal offers, I have done four initial interviews, one second interview and received six rejection emails. My days and (often sleepless) nights consist of scouring the internet, seeking opening that pop out to me- ones where I can use my skill set, ones that I have a company culture that I admire, ones that just sound cool and promising. This process has been frustrating. I’m not going to lie- there’s been a lot of tears and lots of comfort snuggles from my cat. But I know that something great is on the horizon, just right within my reach.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a writer. That’s it. I was an editor on the school paper and I loved every moment being one. My senior year, I dreamed about writing for Vanity Fair and Vogue. I had a plan. Right after I graduated from college, I would march right up to Anna Wintour’s office andd- BAM! I’d interview Beyoncé. I would also get paid a ridiculous amount and see my name on a byline in one of the most famous and beloved magazines in the world.

I was stupid in high school, and didn’t know how life worked.

Resumes and applications. Networking- LOTS of networking, both in person and online. But it’s now an applicants market. In the United States, unemployment is at a low and the jobs are a plenty (i.e. there are over 11 million active open job adverts on LinkedIn alone). According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 44% of the businesses surveyed are looking for full-time employees while 51% are planning to hire temporary employees. However, nearly half of all the hiring managers surveyed said they’re unable to fill positions. So, they jobs are out there. The question is are you applying to them?

I spent today updating my resume and cover letter to reflect the many job descriptions I’ve read. It’s hard, digging through Indeed and LinkedIn, even Craigslist, looking for something that will make me happy at the end of the day, something that will pay my bills and allow me to have a bit of spending money so I can pay for my MoviePass subscription and a Saturday night of popcorn with lots of butter and a Coca-Cola.

Oh, you’re job hunting, too, dear reader? My advice for you is to keep  going. My mom said to me this past weekend, “Job hunting is tough. But so are you.” Don’t let the cookie crumble with its remnants blowing in the wind. Hang in there. You will find something, I promise. (And if you’re a hiring manager reading this- I’m awesome. I write well. I have a plethora of knowledge and skills. I work hard and I’m funny. If you’re interested in learning more about moi, check out my website and feel free to reach out at andreatyrell@gmail.com with questions or witty comments. Thanks for reading.)