It’s been a month since the institute’s Career Fair. It had been a rainy February morning and we were dressed up and ready to kill in our versions of our professional selves, dishing out smiles and lies like our life depended on it. Feet tortured and throbbing in the needle-point heels I never wear, face caked with old Walgreen’s make up and a folder stuffed with a resume that was read and reread at least thirty-five times by a brave editing team of six people, I went table after table after table, speaking to strangers as if we were lifelong friends.
I watched my close and distant friends put themselves through the same routine with varying degrees of devotion. The unspoken competitive tension led us all to silently stray away from each other and disperse through the crowded space. As I reapplied lipstick behind a curtain after a few hours of courting CEO’s and project managers, I could not help but feeling like a regular worker at the Red Light District.
By the end, woozy-headed and with mush for a brain, I left the Monterey Conference Center with the uncertain satisfaction of one who has completed a mission well without any sort of guarantee that it would bring any fruitful results.
One month later, I sit at a café with my panoply of business cards, sending out follow-up letters were I thank faceless strangers for taking time to talk to me. My soul hates every nanosecond of it: this textual version of me has nothing to do with the real me. It (my soul, that is) thinks that the being that I am cannot be summed up by the three paragraphs outlining some activities carried out by me in the past few years of my existence. I tell myself that this is for the best, that it is a necessary evil. And yet I cannot help but feel uninspired by the pointlessness of my task. In each electronic letter, I send out tiny bits of myself into the Internetverse without much hope of a reply. I sit through it and suffer and endure and dream of the day when it will no longer be necessary to pick myself apart in this manner in search of professional substance.