Epiphany

Thanks to those of you who have been following me through this time and sending a few positive thoughts my way. I’ve come back from the dark place and have made a decision based on a pretty conclusive analysis on my current situation.

For those of you who are new followers, there are few, let me just say . . . you’re in for a ride reading my posts. I don’t hold much back, so if you’re sensitive to vulgarity and truth well, consider yourself warned.

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Anyway, I’ve been comparing this job position and my previous job position to see how such different positions could result in the same mental reaction out of me.

In customer service, I couldn’t handle the people. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression over the fact that the staff treated me as if I were mentally challenged. As if I wasn’t giving my all every day, as if it was okay for them to continually call me quiet and shun me because of the fact.

In this job called Cash Control, our contact with people is minimized. I see the same faces every time I work. My social anxiety is at an all time low in this environment, which is a first for me.  It’s taught me how to take charge of my own tasks, a new skill I cherish, and it’s helped me take criticism a little better–it’s an environment where you are going to be wrong all the time and when you are, you have to have the ability to take it and turn it into a learning process. There are a lot of positives about this position.

But I realized today, as I spent three hours washing and waxing my car, that it’s not my anxiety that’s causing me to want to leave this job. It’s the fact that it’s just not a fit for me.

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My previous customer service position was too many people. This position is too many procedures, too much pressure, and honestly I’m over it. The people gossip too much, we aren’t given enough time to learn the thick ass book of notes they want us to memorize, and I’m not even a business major! I don’t give two shits!

Although, I did handle 75 thousand dollars the other day.

It doesn’t really register how much money you’re touching until you leave the basement and realize damn, that was a lot of money.

I know this blog is generally anonymous, but I don’t trust the internet. Someone, somewhere could find out where I work and the department I work for and that is the reason I can’t share with you the stuff we do at cash control. I was informed not to speak about it anywhere, so I respect them. They were almost robbed at gunpoint last memorial day.

But let me tell you, the procedures are endless and the perfection is required.

cross-the-lineMaybe my anxiety is contributing to my uncomfortability, I honestly don’t care anymore. I just want out. The pressure is going to my head, it’s so fast paced and fuck man, answering the phones? Fuck it, I’m out. That’s just crossing the line with me.

So I’ve applied to a position I’ve been chasing for a year. It’s a lab assistant position at a biotechnology lab in town. I’ve been waiting for them to post the opportunity again and they happened to do so a few days ago.

As much as I dislike cash control procedures, this shit looks bomb on a resume. I may just have a chance.

And, as I said, the skills you learn are pretty valuable.

I applied to be a delivery driver for a cafe. You go to the farm location, put the food in your car, and take it to the cafe. I was stoked about the opportunity until I saw this shit:

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For fuck sake man, I have to drive this? Are you kidding me? I’m used to my low to the ground, space ship looking frame with my tint and my chrome wheels and my booming bass.

That thing is . . . it’s . . . it’s a cockblocker. It’s literally the definition of it.

I applied anyway.

I also decided to put in some volunteer hours.

It might seem as if I’m trying to take on a lot, but honestly I feel good about it. The more confident I’ve become (which I owe the majority of it to Cash Control these last two months) the more I’ve wanted to get out in the world. My social anxiety isn’t gone, but I’m forcing it down. The depression is another story. I’ll deal with that later.

Right now, I feel good. I feel determined and ready to take on the world. It’s 2 AM and I’m hype. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to try something new, Cash Control is boring, I’ve mastered what I can and I don’t want to learn anymore, I want to try something new and exciting like delivery driving or cleaning beakers in a lab.

I put in an application with the Sheriff department. Never mind that my car looks like a drug dealer’s and I do often have marijuana in it, and I make friends with the homeless pot heads at the car wash (I met Juan and Robert today, they really loved my car and how I take care of it, they thanked me for doing such a thorough job on it) and that I could be a criminal mastermind if I wanted to, I’m going to work side by side with the Sheriff.

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Which Cash Control will also help me get. We work very closely with security and security works very closely with the police station. We’re walking out in public with 40 thousand dollars for fucks sake.

I want to either be the Fleet Maintenance assistant in which I drive the police vehicles to repair stations, document the repair, and bring it back to headquarters, or I want to be the Citizen Patrol in which I go around in a volunteer sheriff car trying to find abandoned cars or checking up on vacation homes to make sure no one is smoking it up in there. I wouldn’t carry weapons or be trained as an officer, I’m just the eyes.

I realized the positions I’m applying for, volunteer and otherwise, are independent focused. I like to be by myself. In the lab I’ll mostly be working by myself or with three or four people. As a driver I’ll be driving by myself. As a sheriff volunteer I’ll be driving by myself and taking the cars to the shops by myself for only 4 hours a week. That’s the position I need. The people don’t matter, it’s the insatiable need I have to be alone.

Cash Control is not isolated. You don’t have contact with the public, but you’re constantly around other people. I can’t even take my break by myself for God’s sake. For my personality it’s just not a feasible position. Someone is always watching you, always listening to you, and that makes me paranoid. It makes me anxious.

I have a lot of respect for the people in this department. But it’s just not for me. Now I understand why I’ve always craved a career in which I’m my own boss. It’s not about power and authority (okay, maybe a little), it’s about the freedom to be mostly independent. I’m the only one watching myself.

I don’t mind working in teams, just don’t stack endless procedure and perfection and phone calls on top of that.

I hate to leave a job so early again, which is why I refuse to leave the position until I have another job lined up. I’ll endure this until I can’t anymore, and I will leave correctly this time. The next time I have alone time with the director, I’m going to have to express how I feel. I want to let him know I’ll be leaving soon, and that it just isn’t fitting with me. And that’s okay. No one has my feet welded to the floor. I’ll always be welcome to come back and maybe I will at some point when I feel I’m mentally able to.

I have to remember I have options in life. The world isn’t going to end because I can’t handle this job. It doesn’t matter what other people think and I won’t let my trainer convince me to stay. It’s my decision and no one else’s. And that realization is why I feel so much better today.

Shout out to Robert and Juan. They my new homies.

 

How Intelligent Are You?

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I need to speak about this.

This may not be as whimsical or joking as my other posts, because I’m disturbed. I’m deeply disturbed and actually a little hurt. Not for myself, but for the people who have been reaching out to me specifically and confiding in me. I see a disturbing trend in a subject that’s only ever touched on briefly in the media.

I’m on a website to help people dealing with depression or crisis or other mental health issues. (Yes, they train you, but what better training is there than having been in such situations yourself?) I spent a few hours today talking with a deeply saddened individual who was cutting themselves as we spoke and I stayed on the inter-web line with them until I could confirm they were safe to the best of my abilities. I also gave them resources links. I’m used to speaking with the deeply depressed and hopeless.

What I was not prepared for today was the influx of high school students applying to college, and undergraduates.

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Obviously that’s a stressful time in many people’s lives: it was stressful in mine because I realized spending the last two years of my high school career smoking weed in the back of the school wouldn’t help me get into Stanford and that I was stuck in my home down for another three years. Who would have known? Life is a mystery.

I’m sure you’ve all heard recently that this generation of college applicants and high schoolers are under the most amount of stress yet. I’m sure you’ve all heard that because that’s all you hear–that one line. Maybe they mention the price of tuition (which, by the way, I was seriously considering sawing off my left leg and sending it in with one of my applications just to see if they’d willingly accept the payment) or the average required G.P.A (U.S.A standards here).

We don’t talk much anymore about how we force kids to intertwine their identity with their grades or about how we constantly compare their grades to their level of intelligence and therefore knowingly pressure them into perfection? Something we tell them from birth doesn’t exist

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I went through college prep; the class was small and I felt generally comfortable around them. We knew each other all four years. They stressed a 3.5 G.P.A and above, labeling 3.5 as the absolutely worst you could do.

Because I had nothing else, and because it was the only thing the school and I felt I could excel at, I turned to academia as my savior. So when I went to college and pushed a 3.9 G.P.A, I had self confidence. I could do something right, and people respected me for it, particularly for my writing. Each essay I wrote had to be better than the last. Each paragraph I wrote needed to be ingenious, particularly since I wasn’t so great of a talker.

Part of my drive to become an M.D came from the fact that people expect me to do something they consider great.

I’ve since found my own reasons to strive for it.

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The Stamp On My Forehead I Wore Not So Proudly

It all fueled my self-esteem and I wrapped my identity around it all. So when my mental health decided to tear me down and my G.P.A fell from 3.9 to 3.5 I almost killed myself. I was self-harming like crazy, sitting in my room, the stress and depression getting worse the more I focused on it, figuring out ways to kill myself with style.

I wished I could have a gun, that would have been the ultimate way to go out, like the man who took his life right down the street from my house in his car. Quick and painless if you do it right. They say those who use violent weapons are generally self-loathing and I certainly loathed myself at that point in my life.

Slitting the wrists vertical was an option, but I couldn’t leave the mess. I considered jumping off that one cliff again but could never find the energy to drive out there. Perhaps I didn’t want it enough.

If I wasn’t perfect, I didn’t want to be alive. I hadn’t even turned 19 yet.

These are values instilled in some of us in this education system. If you don’t live up to these expectations, if you don’t become this, if you don’t get into this school than what’s the point of your life? You can’t get a job without college, you can’t be happy without college, you’re NOTHING without college.

I beg to differ. Greatly.

I spoke to so many students today who scored spectacularly on the SAT (perfect score I believe), maintained amazing G.p.A’s and did everything right. Most of them got rejected from the schools they wanted.

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Now let’s think about that for a moment. What does it take to get into an Ivy League school? Often money or Fame or family history or ethnic background help tremendously because let’s not forget that all too important quota to fill.

So the system they make us strive for perfection in, the system they say will guarantee us a good reputation (as if that defines our character), is one of the most imperfect piece of shit machines man has corrupted in the last few hundred years.

That’s how desperate we are as a society for perfection. It’s not what you do with yourself, it’s not how you handle or acquire the knowledge you do, it’s all about how it looks on paper. 

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This is why I loathe the reality of resumes and professional interviews; it’s all just a way to make yourself sound like some perfect, well oiled machine when you’re really just a ratty old human.

We’re obsessed with the idea and theory of intelligence, not so much the actuality of it. Everyone wants to be “smart”, but most people are conflicted on what that means. And for good reason.

I talked down another medical student ready to give up on life because he felt like his fellow students were more successful and perfect than him.

I saw an influx of people my age who could think about nothing more than their reputation, than who will be proud of them when they get finished slaving over a pot of grades on the stove of college, as if any of that determines a happy life. I took the time (a couple hours each person) to pull them from that warped mind set and got them into the present, talking about the good things about themselves, their personality, the other things in their life besides the pressures placed on them. I helped them see, for a brief moment, perfection doesn’t exist and I’m living proof.

gifted_childI don’t see this as much in people who were not pushed as children to be better than everyone, in people who were exposed to other things besides academic education, in people who were allowed to develop their own interests instead of their worthiness as humans being placed upon their unusual level of intelligence.

So, more than anything, this is a message to the future college students and current college students who feel that stress of living up to a certain reputation that has somehow been placed upon you. A G.P.A is about as relevant to your life as your I.Q. Your I.Q is about as indicative of your intelligence as the bottom of my shoe, the one that stepped in the dog shit.

I mean, think about it. IQ tests mainly measure processing speed and vague understanding, (as well as learned knowledge they don’t tell you about). But who said that was the definition of intelligence? If the validity of science is determined by what it can measure and what it can detect, and the measurement is horribly inaccurate because of that fact that what you’re measuring can’t actually be measured unless you yourself create the parameters and definition of said thing being measured (and therefore end up with a biased definition), than how in the world can you logically conclude you can pinpoint the level of someone’s intelligence?

My point? Live by your own terms. It saves a lot of heartache on your part.