One of my favorite novels is Dream School by Blake Nelson. I posted an excerpt from it here that reminds me of how I feel about my upcoming high school reunion: https://thebitterbabe.com/2012/10/28/different-2/.
I hate to give anything away about the ending of the book because it is so masterfully done and comes as quite a surprise. If you plan to read it you may want to stop here and return to this post later, but I’ll try to keep things vague.
In a nutshell, the protagonist, Andrea, becomes the victim of cold, bureaucratic forces. She is no lilting innocent and certainly made some stupid mistakes, but she gets unfairly isolated and scapegoated in a way that would be absolutely devastating to any nineteen-year-old girl. Luckily, she has supportive parents, and they seem to sense that the incident could crush their daughter. I don’t have the book on me so can’t quote from it verbatim, but her father says something to her along the lines of, “This is the first of many tough challenges you will face in life, and you will learn how to make it through.” We then see Andrea slowly pick up the pieces and begin to construct a life that she can feel excited about again. It’s brilliantly done.
All of this is to say, I am feeling very “Andrea” lately. I met a woman a few days ago who worked with one of the candidates who beat me out for a job here. Unprompted by me, this woman went on a negative tear about this employee; she had nothing positive to say. I had met this employee briefly and had a similar impression. It’s all so frustrating.
I’ll never know what happened in regards to my former organization in this city, but I do feel that I’ve been unjustly shafted. Unfortunately, in the line of work I’m in, there is only one large organization in town and a couple of tiny ones that do it. In L.A., by contrast, there are several huge organizations, numerous medium-sized ones, and a ton of small ones. If you can’t get into one, you can try many others.
Last week I met an attractive, smart guy in his late twenties/ early thirties who graduated from a good college, and he told me he has given up on finding a real job here. He is currently working for a fast food franchise. So if my old organization won’t have me, I probably will have to turn around and move again.
There is a lot I am spared by not having a family. I’ll never have to go through a divorce or a child’s serious illness. There are other terrible experiences I am spared in life as well; for example, I’ll never be shipped to Iraq or Afghanistan. Looking at things that way certainly puts my current problems in perspective!
There is something quite painful, though, about feeling locked out, as if I’ve been branded a witch. At my age, I’ll have to be my own parent, and see myself through this.