Soggy chicken tenders.

Every time I get a new job, this is usually how conversations go down:

Me: I got a new job!!!!

Friend: Congrats! Is this job #5?

Me: No!!!!! …..number 4. *mumbles*

Friend: You cray.

Basically, I’m always working. Ask anyone.

At this moment, I have a thousands of things going on. There are event emails I need to answer, contracts and proposals to draft, marketing databases to organize, blog reader questions to answer. I am always on my phone and/or laptop. When I’m not mindlessly scrolling through Medium or snapping pics of my feet against an aesthetically pleasing tile floor, I’m working, researching, and/or recording random thoughts in my notepad to save for later.

I have a journal. I call her Nora. She’s teal with a brown floral design etched on the front. Why do I cal her Nora? After Nora Ephron, of course. Who’s Nora Ephron? *sigh* Google her. Then read her books and screenplays. She’s the O.G #girlboss.

I open from time to time whenever I’m feeling ambitious. It wouldn’t make sense to anyone else who reads it as there is no real rhyme or reason to it. Inside is a bunch of bullet points and banter about things I want to do with my life. At times, it doesn’t even make sense to me. What does “A.M.L.F” stand for? Why did I write that? Who is Hank from Deloitte and why did I staple his business card in here? Who was that random “inspiring bar guest” who gave me “super awesome life advice”?

I think that one of the keys to achieving anything is visualizing it. Whether that means writing it down or day dreaming about it, it needs to stay alive somehow. Ideas may not always turn into a reality, but sometimes they do.

Many of you have followed my journey since day 1 of moving to DC back in August 2015. I don’t feel new to the area, but people still consider that to be the case.

You read about my decision to leave Boston behind and the guide on how to move away unemployed. I wrote a letter to the dude who tried to use me to cut the line, and then one to the city I left. There are countless posts about my unexpected future, the multiple jobs I’ve juggled, the various men that have come in and out of my life.

It hasn’t been a ‘steady’ journey…but you probably already knew that.

Oftentimes I feel anxious about my nonconventional ways of doing things. It’s unpredictable and scary at times (especially when you have predictable bills coming at the end of the month), and having the safety belt of a corporate salary would be nice, I must admit. My life at the age of 24 has been a consistent game of hustling…one that I’ve become quite good at.

At times we have to settle for mediocrity to get to where we want to be. But again, you probably already knew that.

Call me a ~dreamer~ or call me just another lazy millennial who wishes things but doesn’t put the work in. I don’t know where I fall on the spectrum of #girlboss-ery, or if I even fall on the spectrum at all. Somedays I feel insignificant, other days I feel like I’ve made a mark on the world…even if it’s microscopic.

I want to be my own version of Nora. I, too, want to be a #girlboss.

I didn’t start Nora to read back on it and be disappointed about the things I haven’t accomplished. I write in Nora because it helps me visualize where I want to be. Constantly juggling a thousand things a day makes it easy to forget sudden aspirations or ideas that come about.

Nora keeps these ideas alive and makes me remember why I had the ideas in the first place.

Back in October, I had a bit of a breakdown about what in the hell I was doing with my life. I believe it was after a bartending shift where someone through a toddler-like tantrum because her chicken tenders were “cold and soggy.” At 2am, I got home and opened Nora. Why the fuck do people care so much about goddamn chicken tenders? I aggressively scratched on the page, can I last another shift with another person complaining about goddamn chicken tenders? Find something else to be upset about other than cold and soggy chicken tenders!!!!! 

The next morning, I woke up and headed to my regular coffee spot to work on job applications. Hours passed by and my patience with writing cover letter after cover letter was wearing thin.  The struggle of breaking into the media/PR world with no agency experience in a city where everyone seems to be more qualified than you are has been so real. I had reached a point in my job search where I wasn’t really sending my applications with intent. I would apply, but accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get a response. I would think, there is probably a better applicant out there. Which there usually was.

That’s the real world; a tiring game of being good enough, but not quite good enough. Or, as Dita Von Teese puts it:

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

I didn’t even feel like a peach. I felt like cold, soggy chicken tenders. Like, the ones that people throw tempter tantrums over. Realllllll temper tantrums.

I hosted pity parties for months. Doubting my abilities. Blaming the patriarchy. Losing faith in what I was capable of. Hating on people who lose their shit over chicken tenders (well, I still do that). Wondering when or if I’ll ever figure it out.

Perhaps if my attitude had been different I may have had a bit more success in the job search, but I can’t be sure.

I needed someone to take a chance on me. I accepted the fact that I might have to take an internship or a contracted position, but I was willing to do it if I knew it would lead to me something better down the road. I envisioned my five year plan, but I need a right now plan to get there.

I found this agency through Instagram and had DM’ed them several months back because their feed is cool AF and I really liked their work. I received a message back thanking me for the message and offering to hold my resume on file in case of an opening in the future.

Yeah right, I thought. I sent it anyways, because, why not? To be honest, I sorta forgot about them as the months passed.

About two weeks ago, an Instagram notification message popped up on my phone from this same media company inviting me to come interview. She acknowledged the fact that she loved my feed and has been following my work (blog posts) and thought I’d be a great fit.

Whaaaaaaaat.

I walked into WeWork Manhattan Laundry on a Friday afternoon wearing nude heels paired with black pants and a white blouse. I had low expectations for myself because I had just been discouraged by yet another promising lead the week prior. It had been the 17th rejection and I was quite sure that this one may be the 18th. Yes, I tallied my job rejections in Nora because I’m a sad human. A sad and soggy chicken tender-like human. 

The interview went well and felt less of an interview and more of a meeting with two super cool people who wanted to get to know me. Their questions weren’t intended to intimidate or trick me, they just genuinely wanted to get to know me. And that felt really awesome. After about an hour, they thanked me for my time and said they’d get back to me soon.

I left and felt…confident. It was weird. I tried my best to hide my excitement, because at this point I still sorta felt like a sad and soggy chicken tender (I’m sorry, this is a gross comparison but it’s making me laugh so I’m going to continue using it), but it was the first time I had left and interview not only feeling excited about the work they do, but also feeling like I belonged there.

“I NEED THIS JOB,” I texted my roommate and friends. Ok, hiding my excitement didn’t last too long. I wanted it so bad. I needed it.

“Hey Beth! Do you have time to chat today?” the message popped on my phone during a sweat sesh on the Stairmaster the next morning. “Yes! I’m available to chat right now if you are,” I responded. Too eager? Maybe. I hit the “emergency stop” button on the machine after a brief 9 minutes and ran to the locker room.

You probably know the ending already. That would be sorta fucked up if I went on and on and on and then proceeded to say,  “I didn’t get the job.” That would be some 500-Days-of Summer-like-shit. Just because Summer doesn’t love you Tom, I will!!!!! Pick me! 

Anyways, I love my new job so far but per usual, this blog post isn’t all about me. I think many people will read this and probably think, damn, I feel like a sad and soggy chicken tender too. Ok, maybe not that comparison, but possibly something similar. 

I spent so much time hating on myself because I felt lost at the age of 23. I have this multi-thousand dollar diploma hanging on my wall and I always looked at it wondering why the hell I couldn’t figure it out. And I still haven’t. But, that’s ok.

I know my days of self pity aren’t over. I’d be naive to think that those days are behind me completely, because they’re not. My career is important to me but so are many other things that I’m still working through.

I feel like I’m supposed to end this with some advice on how to not feel like a soggy chicken tender, but I don’t really know what else to say other than the fact that the only person who defines you as a soggy chicken tender is yourself.

I guess I could advise you to start your own version of Nora. To write down what you want for yourself and how you’re going to get there. Things may change, but accomplishments feel so much better when you can look back and see what you did to get there. It’s free therapy and life advice…and we all need that.

Landing this gig filled a giant hole in my life that I had felt uneasy about for so many months. Since then, I have come to realize that just because one piece of my life is functional, doesn’t mean the rest of the pieces will miraculously come together. They might, but maybe not anytime soon. And that’s ok.

For now, I’ll continue to spend too much money on coffee and clothes. I’ll deal with immature dudes and shitty bar guests who throw tantrums over soggy chicken tenders. I’ll be totally functional in some areas in my life while simultaneously accepting the fact that other areas will be confusing and annoying.

I won’t tell you to stop throwing pity parties because you won’t listen to me. I won’t tell you to pick all the right guys and to ~believe in yourself~ after 16 job rejections, because again, you won’t listen to me. Life sucks at points, we just gotta navigate it the right way. I’ll probably continue to question my self-worth and life decisions, but that’s ok.  I’ll figure it out one way or another. As will you.

Just please, refrain from throwing a temper tantrum over soggy chicken tenders…even if you feel like one yourself. Because tbh, I don’t care about your goddamn soggy chicken tenders!!!!!!!!!

~rant over~

8 thoughts on “Soggy chicken tenders.

  1. At your age I remember feeling the same way – so much that I quit my job and took two friends on a cross-country camping trip. I returned home when we ran out of money three months later. But sleeping under the stars gave me a whole new perspective on life – I slowed down, took a job not in the big city but in my local neighborhood and stopped worrying about the small stuff…..Life is full of crap, we just have to learn to avoid stepping in it!

    Liked by 1 person

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