After a brief and harrowing time of being unemployed, I suddenly found myself with a highly likely job prospect…and it panned out for me. After sending out countless unsolicited resumes and cover letters, it turned out that the job I got was a job that found me — not the other way around. I am now an assistant to a director in a publishing house (many English majors’ would dream of such a job — you know, the “practical” creative English position). I’m actually going to be using my degree (shocker!).
Basically, what happened was my previous supervisor for a place I interned a year ago e-mailed me about a job opening. While it was a wonderful e-mail, it would mean moving back to Boston (after such a difficult time I had deciding to move in with my boyfriend!). Of course, neither my boyfriend nor I were happy about having to return to long distance, but we both knew that since it had been so difficult to get hired since March (the time I began sending out my résumé), it would be foolish for me to turn down such an opportunity. Especially since I actually liked the place I would be working.
That was the summary of how I basically ended up employed…but the point of this entry is really to speak about how it was I came to be employed. Continue reading
When you haven’t been able to break into the work force yet, you can feel rather defeated. It doesn’t help that most of your friends and peers are employed with six figure salaries coming right out of college. Talk about hit the ground running. There have been days when I have felt pretty depressed about my lack of employment. Even though it has only been three months since graduation, the looming sense of failure and rejection can even bring the brightest of spirits to its knees.
Last summer, I — like countless others — read Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” and had several reactions to it. Aside from the class and racial issues I had about Slaughter’s article, it did raise interesting questions about feminism and work. Slaughter had the opportunity of becoming a powerful woman leader, at the peak of a political career in Washington — but she gave it up to spend time with her kids (and, you know, remain a Princeton professor). At the time the article came out, I was interning at Beacon Press, a non-profit press that promotes equality. When talking about the article with my (wonderful) supervisor at the time, she commented, “Isn’t this a step backward?” Back at the birth of feminism, women were trapped in the housewife role and wanted real careers. Now Slaughter was claiming that women still couldn’t be the mothers they wanted while having these powerful careers? I saw my supervisor’s point.
Yet the past few months, I’ve been grappling with the conflict between feminism and my own desires. While I initially saw how Slaughter’s article could be anti-feminist, my recent struggle with feminist theory and my life have allowed me to better understand Slaughter’s claims. Feminist theory has fought against old ideas of what women can and cannot do — it has allowed women to join the workforce side-by-side with men. But feminism has now shaped what we expect a woman’s goals should be. It has created restrictions again on the definitions of a woman. Really, feminism should give women the freedom to choose their goals.
I am supposed to be one of the privileged and educated women Slaughter was addressing. But I didn’t come out with a powerful job — in fact, I’m still pretty lost as to what I would like to do. I really enjoyed my summer internship, but as it drew to a close, I had to face a looming question.
After my internship, where would I go?