For every non-millennial who has ever said “Back in my days things were better” I completely believe you. In this day and age, we are tricked into believing a system that no longer works. The days where going to college, getting a good job finding a spouse was expected and simple are no longer here. Going to college doesn’t guarantee a good job. Relationships can be superficial and vapid and having children seems more of a financial burden then blessings.
For me at least I struggle with finding experience.
That one key thing every job will want to get but none willing to give.
I never understood that. How even low paying jobs will be extremely selective but offer smaller wages and less rewards.
So in my desperation to find my dream job as a paralegal in an Law Firm dealing with Real Estate I search for experience.
By applying to jobs that need it. See the problem there?
It’s not that I don’t have Real Estate experience but it never seems to be enough.
Training is such a taboo that many jobs turn a snobby nose up.
The struggle is real and I am sinking into a hole of depression that I have no clue how to get out of.
I have no valid reason to justify my $50,000 Criminal Justice Degree. It has done absolutely nothing for me. You would think a chick with a degree and familiarity with Real Estate, Property Management and Tenant-Landlord Court could catch the eye of a Real Estate Law Firm.
Nope, at least not for me. I could never have that kind of luck.
Because actually finding a good paying job requires luck nowadays. Maybe a sacrificed chicken here and there.
So imagine my surprise when I applied to a law firm in downtown Manhattan and actually received a call back. Initially I thought it was just to inform me that they did not think I met the qualifications to even consider being interviewed (I have received those phone calls before) but was pleasantly surprised to find out that they liked what they saw and would like for me to come in for an interview.
I was excited because it dealt with an aspect of Real Estate that I was very familiar with. The day of the interview I picked out a nice pair of black pants, and sleek looking blazer and your basic black flats. My hair was pulled back nice and neat and my makeup look was natural.
I took the train downtown and when I got out I searched the tall building I saw on google maps when I researched the address given. Upon arriving to the building, I noticed the gold letters that spelled out the street name STATE. It looked so nice and professional. This did make me a bit nervous. I didn’t know what these attorneys were going to be like. If they would be like old wall street type men who would sneer at me for wearing payless shoes or middle age yuppies who secretly wish I would have worn a skirt.
I didn’t see myself as uptight and prissy. By the looks of the building that seem to be what this firm might require. As I rode the elevator to the 15th floor, I prayed to God that I didn’t let my nerves rattle me. The last interview I went on was three years ago with my current job and honestly, though I had no experience, my boss gave me the expression that he wasn’t the corporate type. I didn’t feel the need to speak and talk like I just came out of Harvard.
The elevators opened and I walked out the see glass double doors with the name of the firm printed on it. HERTZ AND MASSARO. I walked toward the door and was greeted by a young man. He was nicely groomed, and though you can tell by his face that he was in his early thirties he was balding a little bit. He presented his hand to me and I shook it. Slowly the nervousness was easing out of my body.
He led me to their conference room and introduced himself as Freddy Massaro. He informed me that his partner Hertz would be joining us. We spoke briefly about Downtown Manhattan and the commute. I learned he was from Brooklyn and that he took the train. Mr. Massaro seemed like a very relaxed gentleman.
A couple of minutes Mr. Hertz comes in. His face was stone cold, his demeanor read mean. He reminded me of those uptight, strictly business judge mental wall street yuppie I hated and was so intimidated by. When he sat across from me I felt the displeased energy emanating from his face. My nerves were again rising, I quickly looked at my shoes.
They were from H&M.
Mr. Hertz asked a series of questions, most issues I was familiar with. His questions ranged from Real Estate foreclosures, communicating with vendors, and Landlord Tenant court. For the most part I felt like I answered okay. Still, I couldn’t shake off my nervousness. Mr. Hertz asked me what my field was, my answer was that I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Not exactly what he asked.
He skimmed over my answer with a sneer look and preceded to ask me if I have worked with an attorney. I told him yes but barely.
See my old company didn’t have any in house attorneys, we only had a Legal Assistant who would reach pout to an attorney via phone and then email correspondence. I would will in for our legal assistant when she was out and contact the attorney myself.
After explaining this to Mr. Hertz he turned to his partner Mr. Massaro and stated that he no longer needed to be present at the interview. He rose up from his seat and explained to me that the position would be more to assist Mr. Massaro not him.
So the interview continued with Mr. Massaro continued. He asked me basic questions, why did I leave my job, How do I like Staten island?, are there many opportunities in Staten island?.
Then the question followed by an answer that problem placed the nail in the coffin for this interview.
Mr. Massaro asked me what was the reason that I moved to Staten Island.
My answer? Oh I moved in with my boyfriend.
That was probably not a good idea. Soon after I said it, I began to explain that if we broke up and I had to move back to my old apartment it would make no difference because I would still be able to work there if I had to go back to my old apartment in Queens. I was literally spewing out words without thinking. I went into such a panic. Well needless to say I did not get the job. After 2 unanswered emails, 1 voicemail and 1 giggling receptionist, I got the hint. No hard feelings but you would think as lawyers they would have a little more guts to at least tell me the first time I inquired about an update.
I really wanted this position, it was an upgrade in position, pay and what I felt, status. I could learn so much working in a firm. I could not understand the constant rejection facing me, I was frustrated, I was depressed. You know what it is to face yourself everyday thinking that your not worthy of a better place in your life. It wasn’t just this law firm, I must have applied to jobs every single day. Non-stop. I was asking for much either, I knew what kind of worker I was and I knew what field I wanted to enter. Real Estate became a strong interest for me an being that I worked in a Real estate management office I know I had the experience to at least get my foot in the door. But nope, I felt ashamed and extremely stressed out. Not just financially but emotionally. People used to say to me that the Job market is hard, but I don’t agree, the Job market is just sleazy.
The next three interviews came with the same results. No offers.
The last woman who interviewed me had the nerve to tell me Good Luck with applying to other positions, then when I inquire about them and informed her that I was not having luck she ignored my email and never replied.
All I kept thinking was, I owed $50,000 for a bull shit fucking degree, I had no health insurance and I worked vigorously hard at my last position, which by the way I HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN GO FIGURE, just to be told by countless others that I wasn’t good enough. I cried, I cursed God, I drank, I drank a lot. I mean I really drank a lot, my depression has hit a new low. Over a year of trying to move out of the city I lived in in search of a better life for myself and my boyfriend almost killed me. I’ve placed myself in danger of dying before, but we will get to that later on.
For now my story begins with my struggles to find a job near my new home with my boyfriend.
All these people with their smirks and their fake “Good Luck” had reached their success. They didn’t have financial problems, they didn’t care to help out a girl just trying to make herself useful. I had no place in their organizations simply because I was me.
These feelings I had consumed me, the scary truth about my future, that I had none, terrified me.
There were no open windows, there were no windows at period.
Imagine you are in a room full of promising doors. Each one with a different purpose and requirement. You are eager to open them, to achieve some sort of relief and comfort. As you walk along the walls, lightly touching it as you pass by, you slide your hand to the knob of the first one. It opens to a brick wall. Confused, you go to the next one, then the next. Each door opening to a brick wall. You start circling the room, frantic, screaming and trapped. You collapse, wondering what move can you possibly make. In a flight of emotions, anger and desperation you go to each brick wall and punch and claw and kick harder and harder until you collapse again. This time a pool of your own blood from the wounds you created thinking you can defeat a brick wall…
About a couple of months in I received an email from a place in Staten Island. At first i was skeptical, i really wanted to work in the city because I thought the salary would be greater there. The email was sent on a job searching website that I forgot I had created a profile for. The position was for a company that specialized in helping adolescents who needed assistance readjusting their lives. It was a rehab center. I did not apply to this position and it wasn’t anything I was interested in nor had experience in. But, it was more money and in a borough where I lived with my boyfriend. For now, that was the selling point.
I went to my interview very relaxed and not expecting anything. My boyfriend was more than happy to drive me there. On the day of my interview he gave me his usual inspiring speech and a couple of cute little notes on Post Its that he slipped in the folder with my resume. We got in the car and he puts the address into the GPS.
As I am putting the finishing touches of my make-up I can hear him say “No fucking way” I turned to him confusingly with my hands up.
“Do you know where this place is”
“No why would I, I replied”
My boyfriend shook his head.
“This used to be a mental hospital but it got closed down due to a lot of shady shit going on, like unexplained deaths and suicides of their patients. It’s been rumored to be haunted”
“Oh nice” I replied sarcastically. My boyfriend turned on the car and we were on our way.
When we finally arrived I immediately could see why this place had a such a creepy reputation.