This is an anti-success story, up until now. I hope though, that pretty soon I will have a happy ending to add to it.
A Promising Career Lay Ahead
When I graduated, I had a prestigious and impressive degree in my hands, and two years later, I was a Master of Anthropology too. The hopes were high, as the song goes, and I thought I could change the world ... if only I’d find the one employer—the first—to believe in my skills. They didn’t even have to like me. I knew what kind of world I was entering.
But it was not meant to be. While still at the University, I was offered a job as an editor at a women’s magazine. On such an unstable labor market as the Romanian one, being offered a well-paying job while still a student is almost a myth; it only happens to children who are already lucky, for being born in rich and connected families.
So there I was, with a degree in Political Science and Sociology, writing articles on cooking, sex, celebrity gossip and whatever else the editor-in-chief saw fit to assign to me. After a while, I panicked, seeing myself at sixty-seven, retiring from that modest, anonymous, and sad career. Unless the editor-in-chief and everyone above me in the hierarchy suddenly got married abroad, I knew there was no chance for a promotion. Everyone was way too comfortable with me writing the magazine while they went to events, made vital contacts, and received PR gifts. So one day I left.
Investing in the Future
The new job was even worse in the beginning, because the pay was nowhere near my previous paychecks. But I took it, because it was an expanding company and I knew I could get myself a nice promotion soon. And I did. In two years, I had made editor-in-chief, and then, five months later, I was being appointed project manager of a new website. The dissatisfaction had vanished, I was feeling on top of the world, and even bought myself a car, from my own money. My first car ever! Awesome, I thought.
Until one day my boss forgot my coworkers and I were on her paycheck. And she didn’t pay us for seven months, until one by one we resigned. All this time she kept promising us we’d get paid and that was why we stuck around. Today she is once again making a nice profit off her webmags, with a much smaller team that she can ride as she sees fit, with no legal consequences to her previous behavior.
My dad bought the car from me, because I now have high anxiety and cannot calm myself enough to drive.
A Bit of History Repeating Itself
Once again I find myself in a hopeless place. The Romanian society is falling apart, yet no one needs a sociologist. Local firms and multinational branches close, because they do not hire organizational therapists.
My own partner has barely made it out of general education, and is now studying to qualify as a legal office clerk. That brings them money, respect, self-esteem and the nerve to tell me I have no life ... and I am starting to believe it myself. What good are all my skills, if nobody needs them? And with every day that goes by, I lose more and more of my confidence and horizons close before me.
I also did some modeling for a while, but not anymore, because of emotional eating and because here success only wears size zero clothes.
For the Future
However, I do not want to go out without something to be remembered for. My advice to everyone who is affected by the recession and does not have a billionaire husband is to evaluate their skills, see what they like doing and make a business out of it. I for one cannot, not here. I hope one day soon I will make it out of here, before it is way too late. I have been robbed of my dignity and any chance at a decent living ... and pretty soon the roof over my head might be next.
But—and this is a big, dramatic but, like in those tv series with lawyers and courts - I am not one to lose hope that easily. My story ends in a cliffhanger, because I do not know what the script reads next, but I do know I will be doing my thing and working to get better so that when a new chance comes along, I won’t be distracted. I keep my hopes tucked away in a well-sealed jar, so I can’t consume them before their time comes. Until then, there’s always gummy bears.
How are YOU coping with the costs of the world crisis?