When life gets real

I’ve been in a massive slump since graduating with my bachelor’s degree about a month ago. I’m not sure why. I graduated without any real plans or direction, but a clear understanding of what my goals and passions are. I’ve had a creative block, which is frustrating, as I’ve been desperately trying to relieve some of this slump stress with a project, but it just hasn’t been happening.

Throughout college, I didn’t have a career in mind. If we’re being totally honest, my main goal in life is to be happily married and raise some wonderful children — which is funny, because I’ve always been pretty independently ambitious. I still am independently ambitious. But I feel that my life goal is to achieve that family life. One of my biggest dreams is to host a holiday for family members (extended and immediate) at my house and just have a grand old time. But the point is, I started college without a clear career in mind and ended it in the same way.

Luckily, I am not completely clueless. I know that I have a passion for serving others, especially those who are going through a rough time or who need help. This passion has led me to my volunteering at Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor — a job that certainly can cause stress — and finding that working in these situations gives me so much life. I don’t even know how else to describe it. When I am helping others in such dire situations, I feel alive. And I think that’s something to be considered when it comes to choosing a long-term career.

So after stressing about what I was going to do with this bachelor’s degree and how I was going to pay the bills and eventually contribute to this family dream of mine, I started applying for jobs. Despite now having obtained this degree I found myself feeling unqualified for almost everything I came across, but I applied to jobs that I felt I could either excel at and be happy in, or that I felt would feed that passion to serve others.

One of those applications happened to be for a 911 telecommunications specialist position — a 911 operator. I had actually thought about being a 911 operator for quite some time but wanted to finish school before making any sort of full-time, long-term commitment. Well, two weeks after filling out the application, I received an email letting me know that I was a candidate and should come in and take the CritiCall test, which is a public safety telecommunications exam. It’s kind of like a preliminary qualification exam; it weeds out the people without the basic skills necessary to work in this field.

This morning, I took that test at the local sheriff’s department office. I was nervous and excited and so, so nervous! I had almost a week to think about it and spent the whole time being pumped up about it and worrying about all the different aspects of the test. Would I be able to type VINs fast enough? Can I multitask as well as I think I can? Do I even know how to read a map?

I finished this test in about an hour, and when the test administrator informed the recruiter that I had finished, she was pretty sure that I had probably just failed the test — most people take at least an hour and a half to take it. She printed out my results and came in to talk with me about them and the next steps in the hiring process. She seemed totally blown away at the fact that not only had I finished the test in an hour, but I managed to completely surpass the minimum typing speed required by 1500 kph and earn the highest score she had ever seen. I got a 99% on this exam. The minimum requirement to move forward is a 76%. She was very impressed, and I tried to contain the part of me that wanted to cry with excitement while still letting her know that I was happy and excited and totally into this idea. She told me about the next steps in the hiring process, how she thinks I’d be a great fit, and how after two years I can move around into any other part of the sheriff’s department, mentioning specifically their Victim Advocacy program, which happens to be another career I’ve been considering. It was such a positive experience for me.

It seems so silly, and in the grand scheme of things, this test means so little. But after a month of feeling very down in the dumps and like I had no direction, this made me feel a lot better about myself and my future. The hiring process is going to be long, but I am excited and confident about it.

Here’s to the future, y’all. We can do it.