|This is my soul. |
We may or may not have been under the influence during the composition of this document.
One of the most frustrating aspects of my job search is trying to weigh my crippling idealism with even a modicum of pragmatism. As you may be aware, I don't do that very well. If I did, I would probably still be fully employed at my last job (which was, incidentally, at a non-profit), ignoring the blatant bigotry in favor of the practicality of having a job, and maybe even one day, a career. The practical aspects of employment have never really been enough, heretofore, to keep me employed. Of course, I could have tried harder to change things at my last place (which shall be called That Place from now on), but there is no telling some people. (It's really difficult to look a grown 40-something-year-old woman, who is also your boss, in the eye and explain that "I have [insert marginalized group here] friends," does not negate the racism she just vomited out.)
So when a friend of mine, miserable in his corporate job, elbows me and only half-jokingly asks if I'm willing to sell my soul yet, it gives me pause. At some point, I do need to marry pragmatism and idealism, but where does that point lie? I often think that corporations actually have better protections against the kind of bullshit that went on at That Place, but does not mean that what one may do while at a corporation is meaningful in any significant way.
My whole life, I've been told that I can change the world, help others, become some fantastical force for positive change. Well, I'm not changing a whole hell of a lot from the couch. And it is misery-inducing. Volunteering at Meals on Wheels was such a great experience, but now I'm even afraid to spend the gas that it would take to make once-a-week deliveries. When my grad school called, desperate for funds, I cringed. I have always given, even a measly amount, whenever I could because I love that place and believe in it as one of the best chances some students have to actually spread true and permanent good in the world. I apologized profusely to the student on the phone, and hung up feeling miserly.
But the truth is, I don't have the luxury of idealism, most people don't. All the insistence on my exceptionalism, and I know I'm not alone in in this, warped me in a bizarre way. I am self-aware enough to know I really hit the high notes on occasion. Moral superiority? Check. Intellectual snobbery? Yeah, I do that too. In my defense, I've been getting progressively better at identifying it and reigning it in before I come off like a complete tit (at best).
So right now, I'm procrastinating filling out the applications for a few jobs my sister-in-law sent me from her company. I know I don't have the option of not applying, but my soul, as it lies in the bottom drawer of my jewelry box next to my passport, is probably wriggling in discomfort.
Ten, fifteen, eighteen year old Courtney was told to change the world. Twenty-eight-year-old Courtney is trying to change her outlook... and maybe make change with her soul, which, interestingly enough, could probably be leased for around $40,000 a year.