Don’t give me that potential crap. Give me the actual crap.
Until the age of 50, I never had a job interview for a job I didn’t get. From high school and college-age gigs like construction worker, bartender, and fitness instructor through the career-related jobs you start to get in your mid to late 20s, I sailed through life never knowing what that was like—to get up, shower, shave, put on a tie, go through the icky interview (usually more than one icky interview), and not get the job. Partial exception: As a college sophomore, I auditioned for a play; I got a callback, but not the role. But that shouldn’t count, should it? It wasn’t a real, paying job. And there was a simple workaround: I simply gave up theater, changed dreams, and never looked back.
Time to look back. Because my bank account indicates I made some seriously bad decisions. And the last sentence of the previous paragraph holds a clue that I need to work out—and I’m determined to drag you along, dammit.
A comprehensive postmortem of my chosen career path and “life performance” (is that a thing?) would demand a self-psychoanalysis that surely would be as boring as it would be horrifying. Some things should remain unacknowledged and unspoken, or at the very least absolutely private between the deranged patient and his psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist, not coincidentally, plays a role in this real-life drama. I’ve had two or three occasions in life that afforded me the chance to sit with an actual shrink and discuss the actual me. As a medical writer, I worked in the psychiatric “area” (why do I feel the need to put quotes around that? does that mean something?), during which time I met and worked with leading psychiatrists around the country. You may have heard this elsewhere: many of these medical specialists are fairly wacky. But I had a good time, understood the drug category pretty well (those psychoactive molecules play brain receptors like Miss Wilson, the church lady, plays the pipe organ—play that funky music, church lady). And while I had come to view most psychiatrists as educated drug dealers, in business to prescribe the right molecular music for your particular brand of neural derangement, the guy I’m thinking of—and I really can’t recall his name, location, or how I came to be sitting in front of him—was, apparently, one of few remaining psychiatrists still clinging to “traditional” talk therapy (there go those quotation marks again? and why would this guy cling to talk therapy? what deep personal motives were driving him? and why have I mind-blocked him, his name, location, hourly rates?).
Anyhoo, he was good. He asked me a question, my response contained the word “potential” (OK, here the quotation marks are fine), and he was off and running. He asked me a second question about potential, I said something like, yes, my parents thought I had great potential and supported every “life decision” (is that a thing?) I ever made, and he just sat back with a long exhale and said something like “Whoa.” And he shook his head. Like I just told him my Dad taught me how to commit serial murders using only a Bowie knife and my Mom kept my appointment calendar.
And then he poked his finger right into the open wound that I then realized I had carried for a long time, kept well hidden from just about everyone, and only now am pleased to report has healed to a barely noticeable scar: “So they led you to believe that you could do anything you want, anything you set your mind to do? You understand how that sets you up, right? And how damaging that can be?”
And yes, I saw it. Not that it changed the way I approached my son or any young person misguided enough to seek my advice. I remain a supportive person to anyone who has a dream or ambition to do anything (short of felonies). But for me, for me, there were times in my life I needed a kick in the ass. Not unconditional support. For me, it may have backfired. Because I’ve always felt I could do anything, always figured the money would just come, and never concentrated on making the kind of money that would come in handy right now. At a point where, experience has shown, I indeed am capable of going on job interviews and not ending up with the job.
I have no idea what the moral is here. Maybe, if you pursue your career with no regard for money, chances are you won’t end up with any? Or, pick a dream and stick with it; if you flit from dream to dream like a butterfly, you’ll get eaten by a bird?
Here’s a good moral; unfortunately, it’s for some other story: Money can’t buy happiness.
I give up. Hey, maybe that’s the moral! Never give up. Is it too late to try out for a play? I’d apply to medical school to be a psychiatrist, but they really don’t make very much.
Posted on November 7, 2015, in career advice, careers, commitment, delusional thinking, goals, potential, psychiatry and tagged Donald Trump, finances, goal setting, greed, interviewing, job interviews, money, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, psychotropics, Sigmund Freud, Trump. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.