How many of us have to censor our online presences in order to get a job in this day and age? All of us. All of us have to become these cookie cutter potential employees that say “Yes ma’am” and “No sir” and “How would you like your coffee?”
But I realized about halfway through my interviewing process that my potential employers were finding my writings online. So here I have an open letter to my future potential employers. And I hope it does more good than damage.
Hello, Potential Employer.
I see you’ve found my writing online. Nicely done. You’re probably thinking you hit the jackpot. After all, this is public domain. It’s only two articles, so it’s easy to peruse without having to commit a whole afternoon to decoding who exactly I am online.
Three articles, if you include this one. Or perhaps you are completely turned off by the fact that I even have articles written online – I hope not, considering I’m likely applying for a job in the literary industry.
But nevertheless you found me, and for that I congratulate you.
I’ll admit it: there is something deliciously narcissistic about writing about my own life. There’s a high you can get off of self-reflection. It’s like going to therapy (which, yes, I have been to) or having a great heart-to-heart with a girlfriend over a bottle of wine (which I do regularly). But there’s the added bonus about publically broadcasting my innermost thoughts to the world. I don’t know who will read what I produce and I don’t know how it will affect them. I only hope that it’s in a positive way.
And now you’re probably wondering why I would write about what I do write about: broken hearts and mental illness. And I’ll tell you why. Because it’s real.
Because life doesn’t come in one of those pretty packages you get when you order something online with gift-wrap. Life comes at you all at once and you have to juggle or drop something to keep going. And sometimes you just throw it all up into the air and scream “F*ck it!” as it all comes crashing down around you.
That is what I write about.
But I think that is what makes me the most employable version of myself. And I’ll tell you why:
1. I’m not afraid of failure.
I have failed in my short twenty-two years at least a hundred thousand times. But the key is to always, always get back up again. There is no chance of success unless you’re willing to find the ways that don’t work. So if that involves making a clean break from everything and starting over, so be it.
The glory of not being afraid of failure is the tie-in of not being afraid of a challenge. As Thomas Edison said, he found two thousand ways how not to make a light-bulb. Or something along those lines. Brilliant, either way. In order to succeed, you must find value and beauty in failure, no matter how extreme or insignificant it is.
That is what I write about.
So if you hire me, I guarantee that I won’t back down. I won’t shy away when you hand me something that I have zero clue how to do. Which brings me to my second point…
2. I’m vocal and not afraid to ask for help when I need it.
I openly asked for help in my article “Unrequited Love Is My Specialty.” Was it self-indulgent? Yes. Of course it was. I crowd-sourced the answer to my heartache. But what I did was I managed to look around and go, “Hey. I’m not alone in this. What can I learn from others?” And that, I believe, is what makes me a fighter.
Or take my article “What It’s Like Having Depression After the Hospital.” Yes, it was very, very personal. Yes, it tackled topics that are taboo. But isn’t there something commendable about breaking through social boundaries in order to produce something artistic? I would argue yes. And it showed my resilience and value for my life. For life in general. It was grateful and true. And it showed I will never, ever let something hold me back for long.
3. I write to look at the bigger picture.
Because if there is one thing that writing for an online audience has taught me, it’s that I am so incredibly small in the grand scheme of the world. I love who I am but I also know that I am nobody. I am just one voice. Albeit sometimes one loud voice. But I’m just me. So I write because I want to join in with other voices. Connect myself to the world in an indelible way. Thank goodness they say whatever you put online will haunt you. Because I want my scars – my heartaches and my depression – to haunt me. They remind me every day that I’m not perfect but I’m not alone.
So if you’re asking why I don’t take my articles down – which trust me, I considered – it is because I simply can’t take away the chance that maybe I made someone else feel less alone. Maybe, just maybe, I provided for someone else the same self-recognition.
We’re all here, on this massive rock circling a giant ball of gas. We might as well accept each other and push forward.