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The Professional Jealousy Project

There were ten jobs in my field last year, and I got one of them. Specific things about the environment might have made it the least desirable of the ten, but being ten was better than being ... eleven. 

There were ten jobs in my field last year, and I got one of them. I already kind-of/sort-of worked there, so from the outside it probably looks unethical. But I was there doing the work I’m doing now, and they liked it so they wanted to keep me. There was an interview process. I lost a lot of sleep over it. The other candidate they brought in was less qualified. (Why that one when I’m positive they had more options? Dunno.)

There were ten jobs in my field last year. I’m not stupid enough to complain after seven years of adjuncting. I’m not gonna do it. But I’m aware there is room for massive improvement, and as the dust settles, the part of me that wants to be better is looking around and saying, “Ok, so how do we get from here to the next step?” (I’m a musician: this is literally what we do.)


I think part of me didn’t trust that this gig would work out, so I sat on my retail job. (I started with that company in 2007. I’ve been doing some form of retail since ... 2004. Habits die hard.) They texted last night to let me know that if I couldn’t be more available, I’d be removed from the rosters. I can come back this summer if I want, which is great, I guess? But basically I resigned/got fired. I was ... a wreck. I’m gonna attribute that to since 2004. I have some aggressive savings goals and would definitely have saved the income, but I don’t actually need the job, and I literally don’t have time for it anyway. I will miss you, retail discount.

Then I got home, and I saw a social media photo of a former colleague (she had the fancy job I wanted two cities ago) in her even fancier new job where she doesn’t have to do any of the administrative b.s. that bogs down my gig. Her development time is spent practicing. She was playing in a symphony. A piece I have always wanted to play. As principal. I could tell from her body language and her face that she was basically living her best life in that moment. (There are some other things about her gig that I know make this exceptionally true.) I am happy for my friend, but riddled with jealousy for myself. I want that. (Not that that, but a version of that. For myself.)

Illustration for article titled The Professional Jealousy Project

I want the time to prepare myself for that.

I want ... not to always be ten steps behind my contemporaries, just because I grew up in the rural south and pre-college training wasn’t a thing. Because I didn’t go to a fancy conservatory, and don’t have that behind my name, to bolster my work ethic. Because my grad school mentor is not ... mentoring, and is very much focused on her own situation. Whatever. I’ve mostly made peace with it. But I still want the best life happy ending for myself.

... and I’m gonna have to claw and scrape and fight and snarl to get there. It’s fine - I’m equipped for it - but right now, I’m riddled with envy. And also ridiculously sad I got fired from a mall job ...? I know it was a gift, because that is one less thing pulling me way from what I need to be doing.

But I have feelings about all the things right now.
Many of them are envy.

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