This week, our columnist Daisy Stella Baldwin is thinking about the ones that got away – jobs, that is. Are “dream jobs” as dreamy as they seem?
We all have one.
The one we dream about and can’t get off our minds, the one we conduct imaginary conversations with, and write our name with their name all over our notebooks. The one that for whatever reason, didn’t work out: The one that got away.
Don’t worry; I haven’t turned into Carrie Bradshaw. I’m talking about jobs. The lovingly written communications gone unanswered (so witty! So carefully calculated to sound modest but brilliant!), the hours spent waiting by the phone for the call that never came. Or, if you’re lucky, the first tentative steps toward each other, accompanied by exhilarating highs and crushing lows as you mimic their body language and pretend to share their taste in music and politics. The world of job-seeking has much in common with dating.
For me, the one that got away was a paid year-long internship with a film company. I travelled back from a volunteer teaching job in Nicaragua and arrived at the interview with a case of jetlag bordering on delirium. When asked what films I had seen lately, I confessed that the only one I’d seen for three months was Guerra de novias (aka Bride Wars). Things went downhill from there.
Needless to say, I didn’t get that job. I’ll never know if it was because of my trans-continental journey from hell, or if it just wasn’t meant to be, but for a long time I mooned over it, building it up in my head to be the only job that could ever make me happy. I ate a lot of ice cream and watched a lot of bad romcoms (although none as bad as Guerra de novias, which I have to say is pretty diabolical) while my friends tried their best to console me – “It wasn’t right for you! It’s their loss! I never liked them anyway.”
Film and literature have long learned the allure of the unfulfilled. In fact, two of my favourite films, Lost in Translation and Brief Encounter, tell the story of loves that were never destined to be. But, in truth, I think the idea of “the one that got away” is a fallacy. An unexplored relationship is an untainted one; we are at liberty to embroider, romanticise, lust after and generally fantasise about. If Bill Murray had just snogged the face off Scarlett instead of all that enigmatic whispering, he would immediately lose some of his appeal.
When you are lucky enough to get the job of your dreams you realise it still comes with its own difficulties and frustrations. There’ll be days when you feel like giving up; when you feel underappreciated, or resent the amount you do for them, where you feel like playing the field a bit more before settling down. Days when you think, if they leave the top off the toothpaste one more time... Sorry. Where was I?
If there’s a job you’ve missed out on, you’re allowed to wallow for a few days. Then remember the above and be thankful for the time you spent together! Maybe this job was your Bill Murray – what did it whisper to you? Stick that job description up on your wall to remind you what you’re looking for and go get ’em, tiger.
... on Carrie Bradshaw’s flat
... on creating characters
For more articles, jobs and opportunities, visit our Writing & Publishing hub.