Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Blonde Inspiration for Tough Choices

As my regular readers will know, as my final year at Oxford draws to a close, I have been on The Great Job Hunt, battling to get a job and a work permit that would allow me to stay in England--the country I now call home.

I would be a tax-paying, law-abiding resident. And heaven knows that my education and experiences can be put to good use in British society. I want to. I'm willing to.

But there is something called "bureaucratic red tape" and the "tightening of nation-state borders post-9/11"

Without the means for hiring a lawyer or any particularly unique skills to sell or any work experience--plus the fact that circumstances led to my decision, quite late in the hiring season, that academia is not for me--it has been a tough, uphill battle all the way. Made tougher by the fact that it's a race against time. Indeed, my visa expires on September 30th 2003.

So I had been doing my best to motivate myself, to get on with the intensive job search, to give it my best shot. But fear, depression and anger have been my main hurdles. These feelings have been slowing things down for me as I stew, brood and sleep way too much... as if I really have nothing to look forward to at all.

I am my own worst enemy.

This realisation and the cocktail of negative emotions mentioned above are compounded by an acute realisation that my fellow Rhodes scholars are all going on to brilliant academic Ivy League careers, hotshot legal and political careers, positions at McKinsey etc etc.

The jealousy, the despair and the self-loathing has been eating away at me for the last few weeks. It has been paralysing me.

I am, I reiterate, mine own worst enemy.

Then I went to see Legally Blonde 2 .

It was all that I expected--the same jokes and plot devices, the same candy-floss comedy fluff.

Unexpectedly though, this fluffy, girly, panned-by-critics-and-several-persons-who-shall-remained-unnamed's-mothers, acted as a shot in the arm for me. A confidence booster. A very pink-themed pep talk packaged into a summer movie format, if you will.

After watching Elle Woods battle her way to getting Bruiser's Bill Against Animal Testing signed and passed and listening to her sprout some very American ideals and overcome some frankly, incredible odds--yes, dear Readers, think about it: in real life, the entire situation in the movie and the way it resolved would have been seen as a triumph of the will despite the fluffy, airheaded froth that covers it--I came out feeling strangely rejuvenated and more determined than ever to win this fight against the UK immigration red tape.

I'm starting to believe that I do deserve to remain here in the UK.

I'm starting to think that I will be able to do so on my own terms.

I'm starting to take on the determined, one-track mentality of doing-whatever-it-takes-to-get-where-I-wanna go.

Today, I went to an hour-and-a-half long meeting with the Head of Careers Services at my university who discussed my situation re the work permit etc with me. We worked out what my options are and where each option might lead to and now, it's up to me to get the final pieces of information to finish up the puzzle and to make my final decision.

My head has been all in a tangle with visa information, options for the future etc. I know that now since the Head of Careers Services actually visualised and drew the whole diagram out on his whiteboard.

That is, he said, one BIG tangle. No wonder you are feeling so overwhelmed and emotionally fraught.

Any way you look at it--and indeed, any option I choose--it's going to take a lot for me to get where I'm going--my time, effort and energy, my rainy-day savings, a lot of calculated risk.

The question is: Am I up to it?

I'm gearing up for it.

Inner Charlie's Angel: You are so up to it, my girl. Just find it in yourself to believe that you can do it and you will do it. Indomitable will--you've got it, girl. Didn't you lose almost 100lbs? Didn't you beat the odds to get the Rhodes scholarship?

And luck, sister--I need luck. Not just the luck of the Irish, but to have Lady Luck firmly on my side.

Inner Charlie's Angel: Just keep going at your job hunting. Luck will take care of itself. You've been deserted long enough by her Ladyship so it follows that she'll be back when you need her. Just you wait--didn't you always get what you needed when the occasion arose?

Yes, I suppose so. I've always gotten a scholarship or something to see me through whenever I came to a crossroads in my life.

Inner Charlie's Angel: You just need to believe in yourself again. Learn from the School of Hard Knocks, don't buckle under the curriculum. And remember: DON'T LET THOSE BASTARDS (AND BITCHES) GET YOU DOWN!

I just hope that I have the strength and the courage to follow through with all the difficult choices that I have to make and implement in order to get to where I want.

Right now, after job application rejection number 3029473849, it's back to the drawing board with job hunting tasks and listening to the Charlie's Angels I soundtrack. It's wonderful how inspiring Destiny Child's Independent Woman is to a single woman struggling against the odds.

Hmm... maybe I should make a compilation tape of strong female inspirational songs--it might help stave off my frustrations at "bureaucratic red tape"....

After watching the movie last night, I might say a silent thanks to Elle Woods, her gay Chihuahua (Bruiser) and her screen sorority sisters (Valley Girls I'd probably run a mile from in real life)--I'm starting to really get back into my own skin--my own self--again. I'm beginning to get back into being the spunky, can-do-anything pre-Oxford woman that I once was.

Whoever said blondes were dumb?

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