But you knew that already, right?
I guess I shouldn't assume. It's possible this is your best year yet. Unlikely, but possible.
2019 was a really tough year for me and I don't really feel like getting into the details here. When 2020 started, I was cautiously optimistic that I would get my shit together and things would start to look up for me. I started the year out with an uncharacteristically positive outlook. I got an interview with the JET program, a program that sends English speakers to Japan to be assistant language teachers. My interview was at the end of January and although I felt like I could have done better, I was hopeful I would get the job and be able to fulfill my dream of living and teaching abroad. In the meantime, I was trying to get a job here to save some money and pay off some of my loans since the JET opportunity wouldn't start until September. The search was tough due to my own lack of job experience but I had hope something would pan out.
Then COVID-19 hit the United States. All of a sudden, job postings were scarce and I wasn't hearing back from any employers. From March - July I continued applying for jobs as normal but I wasn't hearing back from most of them. I did have one interview in late March and a couple interviews in June but that was it. The situation was not at all surprising since many people have lost their job as a result of this pandemic, but it didn't help my self-esteem to be faced with constant rejection. JET was up in the air as well due to the pandemic. I heard back in April that I was being put on the waitlist, meaning they didn't have a spot for me but I would be contacted if one opened up. At the time I was a bit disappointed, but I still had a bit of hope that I would be able to participate in JET and be in Japan this year. In April, I don't think any of us expected COVID to be impacting our lives so drastically. It seemed like a temporary issue that would take only a couple months at most to resolve. None of us have seen anything like this in our lifetimes and unfortunately, some countries didn't handle the virus the way they should and now we're still paying for it in September.
With JET postponed and no prospects in sight, I was feeling really down to the point where I would take anything at this point. I got a call from a temp agency early July informing me of a job opportunity in the auto finance industry. It was a customer service collections call center job paying a decent hourly wage. Full time hours and the possibility of a good benefits package if I was hired on permanent. With no other opportunities in sight, I felt like I had to give it a shot even if it wasn't at all what I wanted to do career-wise. I ended up getting a job offer and I started the job July 21st, 2020.
I figured working collections in a pandemic wouldn't be fun, but I don't think I truly realized how awful it would be until my first week on the phones. No amount of training could have prepared me for listening to the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 day in and day out. Many of the people I speak to are pleasant, even if they do sound a bit frustrated or defeated. The thing that really gets me down is when people are excessively rude and when I encounter particularly challenging situations where I am unable to help the customer resolve their account. I consider myself a pretty empathetic person and I don't like confrontation, which makes this the worst possible job I could have. I try to detatch myself as much as possible but it takes its toll on my mental health. Some days I feel especially worn down and just want to quit. It doesn't help that I'm just a lowly temp that can't even schedule a day off without it counting against me, potentially hurting my chances of being hired on permanant and acquiring much needed benefits, like health insurance. The realities of this work and my current situation sometimes get the best of me and yesterday I was determined to quit. Yet here I am, on the phones another day. The fact of the matter is I can't afford to quit. I need to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible and I'm not so sure I would be able to find another job as quickly as I would like to. I'm trying to stick it out but it's difficult sometimes.
Even though I've had a hard time this year, I know I'm fortunate in comparison to others. I haven't had to worry about food, shelter, etc. I've been able to stay home, socially distance, have access to masks, etc. I try to stay positive most days and do what I can now to make things easier on myself in the future. Through all this I've learned that I really want to teach. That is what truly makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I want to have the opportunity to share knowledge and learn throughout my life. I want to have a job where I can make an impact on the next generation in hopes of a better future for our world. Pretty optimistic and idealistic for pessimist like me, but it's those ideas that keep me going. It's so easy to look at the world around us and see so much darkness. I feel powerless to do much about it now, but I am working towards a place where I can have some impact, even if it is small.
If you read this far, thank you. If you're comfortable sharing, let me know how 2020 has been for you in my guestbook. You can find the link on the homepage.
My name is Serena, and I'm a 27 year old from the
great state of Oklahoma. I have a variety of interests, including video games, anime, reading, taking pictures of my cat, writing, studying Japanese, and browsing the internet. I'm the sort of person that has an opinion on damn near everything, to the point where it probably annoys the hell out of the people close to me, which is part of why I decided to start this website.