Termination: or, why I cried in my car on the way home from work

Last Tuesday was my last day on the job.

Let’s go back to March of 2011. I was 22, had not heard back from any graduate programs, and was in a state of constant anxiety about the next phase of life while simultaneously denying that my senior year of college was coming to an end. Desperately attempting to find alternate solutions and avoid moving back in with my parents (no offense to my dear ol’ mom and dad), I obsessively patrolled the job boards. And one day, I found a hidden gem on Craigslist.

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The Life Cycle of the Grad School Graduate’s job hunt for something in the mental health field

Even the father of psychoanalysis had to go to job interviews (photo credit to Nicolas C. Grey – http://www.nicolascgrey.com/sigmund-fried)

I was walking out of the stadium, clad in a cap and gown, when my father yelled “GET A JOB!” from the stands. While my dad was only kidding (here’s hoping anyway), it illustrated the pressure and necessity of getting a job as soon as possible after graduation. Maybe you’re taking a summer position or working at your part-time job you had in graduate school. Or maybe you were lucky enough to land a full-time, paid position at your internship and be the envy of everyone in your graduating class. Or maybe you decided, “hey, writing a dissertation sounds fun, maybe I’ll spend my next 5-7 years in a Ph.D/Psy.D program!” (If I wasn’t so burnt out from school, I’d envy you all). Or perhaps you were smart and started applying for jobs in February and got one before you graduated. In any case, this life cycle is primarily intended for those of us who are not currently in school or employed full-time.

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Nothing wrong with (un)healthy competition?

It always feels good to pass other people.

Two days ago, I ran the Broad Street Run for the second time. One month after a back injury and not training as hard as I would have wanted to, I managed to shave over two minutes off my time from last year. Unlike last year, I didn’t almost puke at the finish line. And while there is always a sense of camaraderie among runners and races as large as the Broad Street 10 miler, this year, seeing thousands of runners wearing red socks in support of Boston made this race more about coming together as a community than about competition.

So why was I mildly disappointed by my time? After all, I had set my own personal record for a 10 mile race, and I had just come off a back injury! And sure, I passed fellow racers in the first mile, the 5th mile, and passed several racers in my sprint to the finish line. All things considered, I should have been thrilled just to finish the race without exacerbating a pre-existing condition.

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