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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

123

A Moment "With" Kristen Schaal

When I was 27, I decided to leave PR and instead become an extremely successful magazine writer. I quit my job, which was terrible anyway, and took an internship at a now-shuttered magazine with a popular component website. All the writers there were desperately smart and cool, and for the most part, younger than me with very few exceptions. I felt like a fish out of water, a very old fish at 27 (which now, ugh, really?), but I came to really like it and convinced myself it was the path to magazine writing success. Toward the end of my internship, the website’s editor-in-chief, a man I really liked and admired, asked me if I wanted to interview for a full-time job on his side of the operation. I eagerly accepted. My first internship out of the gate and I was already getting a job interview? Clearly I had chosen correctly in my new career path, was well on my way to being Vanessa Grigoriadis Jr., and life was great and always would be.

The day of the interview I was extremely nervous. I dressed in what I thought was an outlet-appropriate outfit: a pair of white, work-appropriate, shorts, a modest yet cool shirt, and a pair of brand new, then-trendy gladiator sandals. Deep down, I didn’t feel I was good enough to be part of this hip intelligentsia, but thought if I looked the part, and just really, earnestly tried, maybe I could be. The editor took me to his local watering hole for our chat at noon. He ordered bourbon. I ordered a beer. Food, I realized too late, wasn’t on the docket.

I hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning. As quick background, I’m a pretty cheap date. Two beers in, I’m looking for the dance floor and if one isn't handy, my immediate standing space or chair will do just fine. And this is great in a bar or club! But in an interview, when you’re nervous, trying to sound smart, and also the skinniest you’ve been in years because you’ve been subsisting on ramen and spaghetti for months trying to make this new career “happen” — getting drunk quickly is not as great a quality as it might seem. Making the situation even more uncomfortable, as we rounded drink number two and moved onto three, it became obvious — to the both of us — that I wasn’t the right person for the job. He needed someone who knew politics well, who knew the cool bands before the hipsters even did, and who would feel comfortable discussing these topics on-camera — and that just wasn’t me. Even now, at 31, I find myself analyzing, more often than I’d like if we’re being honest, the very real and problematic shortcomings of One Direction and The Wanted, whom I discovered via my 14-year-old cousin on Facebook rather than my keen eye for the British teen pop scene. So as I got significantly more buzzed pretending I wasn’t, I was also growing significantly more sad — and these are feelings that, in my vast experience, rarely mix well! But the worst was yet to come.

Quick background number two: in my entire life, I have never fallen down from drinking. Thrown up? More times than I can count. Woken up face down on the bed fully dressed? Duh. Scrolled through my phone and gasped out loud in abject horror? Of course. But falling down? Just not something I do. But as we exited the bar, my brand new, smooth-soled gladiator sandal made contact with a street-hardened, weather-worn glob of New York City gum so black and shiny you could see your reflection in it. In the blink of an eye, my left foot was out from underneath me and I landed on my left wrist so hard I felt the bones crunch up and in. By the next blink, I had shot to my feet so fast, bullets everywhere stopped to applaud. Two seconds, that’s all the entire episode took, but it happened so quickly the editor actually said, “Did you just fall?” which I know he did not mean to say. It was just that shocking. I said the only thing that came to mind — “I am SO SORRY!”

We walked back to the office making the world’s worst small talk. We couldn’t say goodbye quickly enough, we were both so embarrassed for the other. I made as if to go to my desk, but I actually turned right back around, left the office, and texted my supervisor that I had an emergency and needed to take the rest of the day. Then I started walking. About 10 steps into the walk, I started crying. The office for the magazine was in the 50s on the east side. I cried all the way to Soho. Somewhere in the middle, I called my mom, blubbering about how I would never amount to anything, that life was over, and that my only wish was that I had kept falling into a hole that should have magically opened and transported me into a world where bad things never happen to good people. She tried to assure me it couldn’t have been that bad, I assured her it was actually worse, hung up the phone and cried some more.

Miles later, I found myself on Broome Street standing outside a store with beautiful dresses in the window. I wiped my tears and went inside. You know what’s worse than falling down while accidentally drunk in front of someone you are trying your hardest to impress? Standing in the center of a room filled with beautiful things you can’t afford. In fact, what’s worse than terrible? That’s what this is. Compelled to somehow make the situation worse, I found myself drawn to a gorgeous gold silk dress with a jade green bow. It was the cheapest dress in the store at $80 (the most I had ever spent on anything at the time) and it looked nice on me. I shuffled my way to the cashier, charged it to my just-about-maxed credit card, and stepped outside, where I immediately felt like the world’s worst cliche. I started crying again, except now tears of extreme guilt flowed just as freely as the sad ones. I looked up and saw a bar across the street. I decided I would go drinking alone because why stop now? Drinking had brought me this far, let it carry me home. But when I got inside, I realized I hadn’t ever drank alone in public before, and got cold feet and asked if I could sit at a table instead of the bar.

When the waiter came, I got double cold feet and ordered a coffee along with my beer, which, looking back, looks stranger than just ordering a single drink, but it felt right at the time. In any case, I opened a book and decided that for as long as I could make these two beverages last, I was going to read and pretend the entire day had never even started. A few minutes later, I looked up to see what the only other patron in the restaurant was doing. To my surprise, it was Kristen Schaal.  At the time, Flight of the Conchords was still on TV and I had developed a decent girl crush on her after doing my research. I straightened up in my seat. She took a phone call. I imagined it was her agent on the line and they were talking about something cool. I tried to eavesdrop but failed. It was no matter. I went back to my book. I finished my beer and coffee and left the bar with her still talking on the phone. If Kristen Schaal and I were in a bar together, how bad could it be? I took it as a sign. Four years went by. Recently, I sat in the center of a sweltering Central Park for a Comedy Central Summerstage event. I was with co-workers who have become friends. I live in a better apartment. I’m in a healthy relationship. I'm happy. I thought back to that insane, sad summer day and how it ended at a bar on Broome Street, when New York City put Kristen Schaal and I in the same place, at the same time. I remembered the question I asked myself — “how bad could it be?” and then I zoomed back to the present and smiled at how far away from that girl I now am. I realized I finally had my answer. It’s never that bad. You always wind up exactly where you’re supposed to, even if you have to trip and fall to get there.

Previously: Scenes From My Recent Cruise.

Lia LoBello works in public relations and marketing by day, but spends her nights crafting, cooking, and watching real-crime television. She blogs about her projects and recipes at Pretty|Delicious. She lives in Astoria, Queens, with her boyfriend G.C. and her dog, Pelusa.



123 Comments / Post A Comment

Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook

My favorite Kristen Schaal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGlZbNJP--c

pizza trails

@Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook Oh my god, that was amazing!

MissMushkila

This made me feel better after receiving three rejection letters this morning from jobs I applied for and met all of the listed qualifications. But somehow I'm still crying and eating stale tostitos. Except I'm now chanting "it's never that bad" to myself. So.

New Commenter Name

@MissMushkila
Job rejection is so shitty. I've gotten a few of those lately too, so, I totally understand. I wonder how those stale Tostitos would taste with some Nutella?

MissMushkila

@Curiouser and curiouser I do have the trader joe's almond version in my kitchen somewhere...

CleverPseudonym

@Curiouser and curiouser They taste great with Nutella. And then any little crumbly bits that fall into the bottom of the jar can get scooped up and eaten with a spoon.

mystique

@MissMushkila Oh my God, stale tostitos, I'm so sorry.

Also does the mantra "You are not alone" help at all?

adorable-eggplant

@MissMushkila If you put stale chips in the oven and bake them for awhile, they are magically not stale anymore. When I figured this out I was ecstatic. (disclaimer: have not tried on tostitos)

Megasus

@MissMushkila At least you hear from them! So far all I have gotten is one email saying the position was already filled. Le sigh.

Amphora

@CleverPseudonym You mean you don't start your jar of Nutella by digging in with a spoon?

MissMushkila

@adorable-eggplant That is brilliant. I'm apparently incapable of opening chip bags normally. I will have to try that!

@Megano! Oh I knoooooooooow. That's kind of why yesterday was rough - I had just accepted that my applications went into some black void never to be responded to. It turns out being literally turned down without an interview upsets me more than the black void theory.

aproprose

I needed this today. Thank you!

elysian fields

The moral: always eat breakfast.

Hammitt

I used to have these shoes that made me fall.

No. No, I can't blame it on the shoes.

I once met Peter Gabriel and I fell over. I fell over because I was crossing my legs while standing in four inch platform heels to hide the fact that my cool vintage fishnets were torn, and I was bleeding freely down my leg.

There's a long story there, but I'm at work. Another time, maybe.

bibliostitute

@Hammitt I bet the details could just, you know, become an amazing "the best time i met peter gabriel and fell everywhere!"

ETA: I want the record to show that I mean this in an encouraging fashion where I want to hear this amazing sequence. Not the snarky fashion I may have accidentally written.

Hammitt

@bibliostitute

So back in 2007 I was editor of a student paper and getting pretty surprisingly sued for libel, which I had not really expected to ever happen to me ever, much less at 22. So, one Friday night, I dealt with it by getting phenomenally drunk. I then went to a friend's experimental one act and promptly spilled beer on the stage. Upon wobbling out of the theater my best friend called and told me that she was at a party, and Peter Gabriel was there, and if I was in black tie, I could be to. I was already not in anything you could really call "black tie" but I decided to roll with it. So I started running down the street with such enthusiasm that I promptly fell over in the street, tearing my stalkings and causing a pretty big gash in my knee. I decided to roll with that too.

So I arrived bleeding in torn fishnets and a miniskirt at a swanky affair, where the bouncer wouldn't let me in until I was fetched by my friend, who informed me that she had talked to Peter Gabriel earlier, and did I want to meet him? In no real state to say yes, or, for that matter, no, I just kind of followed her, thinking I could just watch them chat and then say something incoherent but sincere about my feelings for Solsbury Hill, and probably (in the state I was in) tell him that my first kiss (like EVERYONE ELSES) was during In Your Eyes.

Instead, she walked up and said, "excuse me Mr Gabriel, but my friend here is editor of the student paper and had some questions she wanted to ask you."

I cleared my throat. He stared at me. I crossed my legs to hide the now partially scabbed but still openly bleeding wound. I stared at him. I tried to put my hair back, by putting my cocktail cup in my mouth to hold it. He smiled at me. I wobbled.

"How long have you been editor?" he asked.

"Long enough to get sued!" with my best impression of the kind of nonchalant chuckle people in the know about these things give.

And then I fell over.

tootsky

@Hammitt That - was - AWESOME.

bibliostitute

@Hammitt 100% amazing!

WaityKatie

I realize this is entirely my own deficiency, but reading articles by people who are younger than I am and who already have the life thing all sorted really kind of bums me out. Am I the only one? I mean, this was a very well-written piece, and I love Kristen Schaal, but my humiliating life mistakes are more like, yesterday, than, "when I was 27." They were then too, of course! Maybe even more. Or maybe not, I don't know, I try to block things.

SarahP

@WaityKatie This sort of thing bums me out for the opposite reason. I'm 26, and when I read about people older than me making life mistakes, my first thought is "Noooo, I thought I would grow out of this!" (Like acne, which I still haven't grown out of, but for which I HAVE HOPE.)

noodge

@WaityKatie
you're not alone. working on my bachelor's at 35, working a dead-end job to fund my education, with no kids (which I really want, I realize that's not everyone's path) then reading this bums me out too. But... it's a work in progress. As my (communist lesbian jk not really?) mother says: "if you'd done it all when you were younger you'd be bored shitless by the time you're 40"

Damn tootin', mom.

WaityKatie

@SarahP Whenever I read something written by someone only a couple years older than I am, I take it as a deadline, like "Ok, this person is 37.5, that means I have exactly 1.5 years left to get my life together, find love, buy a house, and keep my plants from dying! Go!" I'm not sure which is worse, actually.

WaityKatie

@teenie Your mom sounds awesome, and right, of course. I know so many women who are significantly older than me and have awesome, confusing, varied lives, and I just have to remind myself to think about them when I start thinking my life is already ruined because I haven't achieved anything and nobody loves me. There's still time to get a cat! (no, seriously, getting a cat is something I'm working up to).

themegnapkin

@WaityKatie Agree. But also:
"You always wind up exactly where you’re supposed to, even if you have to trip and fall to get there." Really? Even as someone who's been really, serendipitously lucky in my life, especially in terms of timing (not in relationships, though!!). . . this sounds too much like The Secret. Sometimes you do everything right and things don't turn out okay, sometimes you screw everything up, and they work out anyway. I don't mean to sound like a downer, I would just rather rely on my abilities to handle whatever happens than rely on something that sounds suspiciously like destiny.

aphrabean

@themegnapkin Haha for REALS. As I was reading the comments, I was chiding myself for being so negative, but actually: yeah. Things turn out ok for some people, sometimes, but realistically everything isn't going to just be ok for the vast majority of people on the planet. We do what we can with what we have, we work towards the world we want to live in, but that's it, dude.

(The flip side of "You always wind up exactly where you're supposed to" is "You must have earned your suffering somehow.")

WaityKatie

@aphrabean Yeah, it's a funny cognitive bias though. Like, whenever things are going well I find myself thinking things along those lines ("things turned out ok after all!") but then a couple months later when things suck again, I'm more like, "oh yeah, this sucks again," and then they get better and "oh, things turned out alright!" I guess the problem is we're never really "done," so the ups and downs can always be interpreted in different ways. But if someone's on her deathbed and says "things turned out all right in the end!" I guess I will believe her. Of course then she's dead, so there's that.

aphrabean

@aphrabean Also, I will be honest: there's an element of envy in my response. My really bad times have been, objectively, really, really bad and no magical "Everything will be ok" type mantra will ever fix that, you know? I suppose my personal motto of "You just go on the best you can, and then you die" is less uplifting, though.

Miss Dashwood

@themegnapkin Oh my gosh, this. I'm going through a kinda shitty time in my life right now (got kicked out of a foreign country that I loved, realized that the degree I got in that country doesn't really matter in this one, complete and utter panic that I've wasted the last 6 years of my life), and the one thing that my father can say that really makes me blow my fuse is "It's all going to turn out okay." Really? REALLY!?!? You. Don't. Know. That. Lots of people have bad stuff happen to them, they live lives of quiet frustration, and then they die. This is not Oprah, we do not all get cars.

Ahem. Really good essay though... ::runs away::

aphrabean

@WaityKatie Ha, I guess I just fundamentally believe that life is inherently painful, and that our moments of happiness and fulfillment should be celebrated yet recognized as the fleeting & temporary little butterflies that they are? And we shouldn't feel BAD for not feeling fulfilled and content 100% of the time (or even 50% or 25% of the time) - that's just not how the world is made, unless you're lucky enough to be born with a fully loaded set of dice, both sociologically and genetically. So. . . sometimes we'll feel awful about things! Sometimes we won't! There's no end to the story but death.

Have I mentioned I am a DELIGHT at parties?!

Lia LoBello@facebook

@WaityKatie oh my gosh, i certainly don't mean to sound like i have it all figured out. i have some things figured out but oh boy, have a very long way to go. a very long way to go. i'm just in a better place than i was then.

Angry Panda

@aphrabean I just wanted to say I love your personal motto. Mine is more of a "Go on the best you can, and hope to die very soon (I was really counting on those Mayans, damn!)", but yours is so much nicer. :-)

MilesofMountains

@themegnapkin It might not be true, but it can be helpful anyway. God knows, I have willed myself through some upsetting, stressful, and downright dangerous situations by telling myself I will get through this somehow. Even though I know it's not actually true, so far in my life everything has mostly worked out (sure, I don't always get what or where I want, but I'm alive, I have a roof and food etc) and it gives me courage to thing that'll hold true in the future.

nyikint

@aphrabean As AZ's singing to me right now: "Life's a bitch and then you die, that's why we puff lye, cos you never know when you're gonna go.."

Killerpants

@aphrabean I would totally invite you to my party. In fact, I want to have a party for you, and the others above, right now. I fight with myself over all this stuff too, and intellectually I know you nailed it with what you perfectly articulated above, but then the bad feelings still try to creep in sometimes (what am i doooooing with my life i'm 34 i've done nothing wahh) and I have a mini-breakdown and then I try to get back to some real perspective, a la your above.

WaityKatie

@aphrabean Hahaha, I'm going to adopt "there's no end to the story but death" as my personal mantra, if you don't mind. And dude, I love negativity parties, they're the only ones I don't try to get out of going to.

Lily Rowan

@teenie "if you'd done it all when you were younger you'd be bored shitless by the time you're 40"

For what that looks like, go read the Amy Sohn piece on The Awl...

WaityKatie

@MilesofMountains I mean, it is kind of true. If you're still alive, things are, to some extent, "working out." I've thought the same thing many times. Humans can really adjust to just about anything, and then it's just kind of like, "well, I'm here. This isn't as terrible as I imagined it would be."

WaityKatie

@Lily Rowan Oh, is she still around?

New Commenter Name

@everyone
We have to realize that life really is a journey with lots of twists and turns. We are constantly learning about ourselves and how we relate in the world, and we will never get to a place where we have learned it all and will never make another mistake.

aphrabean

@Killerpants Being a person is so hard. My biggest struggles is 1)enjoying the good times when they're here, without anticipating doom around every corner and 2) not being super envious of people whom I perceive as having made better choices/ been more awesome/ done more with their lives than I have.

New Commenter Name

@Curiouser and curiouser
Okay, so I tried to put a positive spin on it, but really I also agree with what a lot of you are saying. Some shitty shitty things happen in life, and if we're lucky maybe a few good things now and again. But in the end, what does it really matter? We're all going to die whether we had loads and loads of good fortune, or loads and loads of bad fortune.

aphrabean

@WaityKatie, @Killerpants: I LOVE the negativity party! And it's really funny, I actually find a lot of comfort in all these ideas. We're all just trying to make our way through the clusterfuck that is a patriarchal, late-stage capitalistic society. Of COURSE it's really difficult.

noodge

@Lily Rowan

D-:

that's how that piece made me feel. for what it's worth, i think my mother meant more like "your life is going to be exciting over a longer period of time" not "your sister (who has a PhD and two kids) is going to be doing blow on a male hooker's cock in 5 years"

themegnapkin

@MilesofMountains but I still see a difference between "I will make it through" versus "I will end up where I'm *supposed* to be." In the first one, you're accepting responsibility for dealing with whatever bad stuff happens. There's no guarantee of a happy ending, just that you're doing the best with what you have. In the second, you're telling yourself that all things happen for a reason, and these shitty things were for the best because you will end up in a better place (or, a worse one, but then, it's still where you're *supposed* to be, so I guess you deserved it? That is total b.s.).

MissMushkila

@themegnapkin My grandma had a saying that "Life's great if you never weaken" and as she lived through the Depression I always took it that the emphasis was on the last part. Like, the subtext is, life is going to throw so much shit at you that most of the time you are going to have to be strong, but if you keep on keeping on you get to enjoy ephemeral moments of extreme joy. This is my actual mantra. And usually I am super annoyed with people who are like "everything happens for a reason" *sigh/rainbows/golden sunshine* - but I also don't feel like I'm in control of any of this crap.

Killerpants

@aphrabean Yea, I hear you on those struggles. I think most of the time I'm fairly good at recognizing the happy times and letting the doubts and fears and envy-of-others (and also bewilderment - how did they GET there? if i'd made those choices would i be there too?) sort of roll off my back and stay in the background, but then it's like they build up bit-by-bit and every 6-9 months or so I go into an angsty funk and start wondering if i'm only happy and content when i'm happy and content because i'm complacent and shallow and unambitious and uninspired (and on and on). I mean, what is that? Blurgh. Anyway, yea...being a person is hard! I'm with ya!

themegnapkin

@themegnapkin also, I really liked the essay. It was interesting and entertaining. It just also exhibits a philosophy I don't happen to agree with.

Olivia2.0

@WaityKatie My mother is very fond of saying "no one gets out alive". Which, true. Sometimes I think that to people in anger. Like "OH look at you with your great job and happy man friend and new car - DOESN'T MATTER NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE!" I realize this makes me a very bad, no good terrible person. I do it anyways.

WaityKatie

@Olivia2.0 It would be even funnier if you said that out loud. And then ran away.

NeverOddOrEven

@WaityKatie
I'm finding a bit of solice in this considering I called in sick to my job yesterday for the umpeenth time (I get a lot of sick time! I have a disease!) and my boss just asked me to cover some work for my partner so that she can attend a meeting with her.
We job share. In theory we should attend all the same meetings. I am somewhat convinced I am getting fired.

I am also somewhat convinced that would be a relief. But insurance!

WaityKatie

@NeverOddOrEven Ugh, that sucks. This isn't really comparable at all in shittiness, but I just found out that the dude I have been flirting with on facebook just got a girlfriend and they are soooo so happy. But I guess that will "turn out alright in the end" when they get a divorce. I am a bad person.

NeverOddOrEven

@WaityKatie
Naw, these are the things we do to get by.

Disco Sheets

Thank you so much for this. I'm currently going through major career crap and "It’s never that bad. You always wind up exactly where you’re supposed to, even if you have to trip and fall to get there." is going to be my new mantra for life.

redheaded&crazy

Aw this story takes me back to montreal 2008, me the only one of my friends out of school and desperately trying to find a job in montreal (despite barely speaking french) so that i could spend the year with everybody.

finally got an interview to work with a kid who had autism and even though I didn't particularly botch the interview horribly or anything, the lady was just looking for somebody with more experience. Cue me sobbing in the shower, that awkward hiccuping crying where you can't stop to take a breath and yelling things like "I'LL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYYYHEEEEHEEETHIIIIHIIIHIIIIINGGGGG"

anyway i still haven't amounted to anything BUT i later got a job with a different woman in the same company who said i was the best therapist for children with autism she had ever worked with AND the previous lady called me back later in the year asking if I had any availability to work with her son as she had heard great things about me.

SO HAH!

New Commenter Name

@redheaded&crazie
That was such an awesome end to your story!

Bed Monster

@redheaded&crazie I have never seen anybody effectively explain in writing how words get weirdly elongated when you hiccup-cry until now. I kept re-reading ANYYYHEEEEHEEETHIIIIHIIIHIIIIINGGGGG, so I could just keep laughing and laughing. It was amazing.

SarahP

Oh god oh god oh god when I have stress dreams they resemble this. Poor Lia! But that dress sounds like a win, did you ever wear it out?!

(Also, creepily, I got so excited when I noticed on your blog that you go to Cooperstown annually! It's my hometown! I've been to the Fly Creek Cider Mill so many times! Sometime you should check out the natural food store in town, it's my parents'!)

Lia LoBello@facebook

@SarahP That is amazing! I am so going next time I'm there!!!

Beatrix Kiddo

This brings me back so hard to crying on the street after bombing a job interview! If only I had seen Kristen Schaal, maybe I would have recovered more quickly.

nyikint

That editor sounds like a jackass anyway - how insensitive do you have to be to spring an interview at a bar with no warning?

redheaded&crazy

@nyikint yeahh my first thought wasnt even that he sounds like an asshole but like ... what? who thinks that taking an interviewee out for drinks is a good idea? is that like a test related to job duties? (maybe for some industries i guess?)

nyikint

@redheaded&crazie I feel like he's either a serious alcoholic in which case casting judgement on her for falling is a little hypocritical.
Or he isn't willing to make the most basic accommodation to make a prospective employee feel comfortable, which is even worse.

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie Law firms do it all the time! But yeah, they are mostly assholes.

redheaded&crazy

@nyikint "did you really just fall after I put you in a nerve wracking situation and threw unexpected alcohol into the mix?"

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie Through that whole story I was picturing the interviewer as this tool reporter I met at a party thrown by A National Newspaper that a blind date dragged me to once (don't ask), who bray-laughed hysterically at me when I set my drink down on the bar and it promptly slid right off. 30 seconds later he did the exact same thing, because it turns out the bar was pitched and you couldn't see it in the dark. And then he tried to recruit me as a source. And that guy works for an Even More Prestigious National Newspaper now, incidentally. What an asshole.

SarahP

@WaityKatie That guy was an asshole, but also, a bar that has a pitched bar surface in a dark room? Evil.

WaityKatie

@SarahP I know! It was shiny and slick too. It was pretty much like that party hated me and was trying to spew me out.

MilesofMountains

@nyikint To be honest, I was waiting for her to say he tried to feel her up or something. An "interview" with lots of alcohol but no food over lunch sounds sketchy as hell to me.

AmandathePanda

What kind of interviewer has three drinks at lunchtime but no lunch for an interview? That's asking for disaster!

About a year or so ago I interviewed for a library position that sounded promising - I hadn't gotten an interview at all in ages, for any of the bajillion jobs I'd applied to. I did really well, I knew it, and needed to get out of a customer service job that was making me miserable. About a week later I got a call, while at the horrible job, saying that I had been rejected but they had really liked me. I started crying immediately but still asked why. I could HEAR the woman pitying me. I spent about an hour crying, at work, until I gave up and told my supervisor I had to go home - I was not ok. That night my boyfriend set up an appointment for me with the therapist at his company because I was still crying and I confessed my horrible career disaster was making me suicidal.

I have a better job now. And a good therapist. Things are better.

wharrgarbl

@AmandathePanda I'm glad things are better now.

bromantic comedy

Lia! I interned with you at that now-shuttered magazine. We collaborated on terrible "witty" fashion week poll questions, none of which were used. I published a feature there and that same, very likeable editor-in-chief complimented me and I, too, thought that I was going to be an extremely successful magazine writer. Four years later,I'm reading this at my desk at an acupuncture school and I am so fucking happy. Glad we both ended up exactly where we belong. Congrats!

New Hoarder

Oooh! My friend used to live in the same building as her in Manhattan. She said she'd see Kristen Schaal in the gym and with her boyfriend (cute but dorky) and she is just as awkward in real life. God love her!

atipofthehat

@New Hoarder

She's also very, very skilled, of course.

redheaded&crazy

how do you even figure out what you want to do in life? i'm at a total loss. i went through my entire university education and a few years after that being all "woo hoo I am so lucky i picked the right degree the first go around and i really want to go into this area!" and now I totally don't at all want to go into that area. But the area that I currently want to go in, what if I waste more time on more education and then it's not what I want or I don't enjoy the work in that field or or or

*quarter life crisis*

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie "quarter life crisis" stfu

Hammitt

@redheaded&crazie I'm in the same place. Actually, I've been there 2 or 3 times by 27. But I just had dinner a week ago with a pulitzer prize winning journalist who was a lawyer, a professor, a novelist, and a campaign operative, among other things, before he went on to become a really, really successful journalist. We got time.

MissMushkila

@redheaded&crazie Oh God I know, and I don't know either. My boyfriend is super passionate about his career and has been very successful and just keeps being more successful and I love him and am happy for him but also completely mystified as to how some people just know.

When I started undergrad I was like "this is my major raaawr I will not change it" - and I didn't, and it was okay, but I don't love it. And I'm basically unemployable in my area so I worked in education a little but don't want to do that either (and would have to go back to school to stay in that, too). Basically, I just want someone to give me some sort of administrative position so I can go back to school evenings and have some hope again.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@redheaded&crazie I still don't know what area I want to go in, college and a master's degree notwithstanding... :(

melis

@redheaded&crazie "Professional Awl Commenter"

City_Dater

@redheaded&crazie

No one is just one thing her whole life. No one. Unless she is a very boring person, indeed. You can do LOTS of stuff, and keep changing your mind about how to make a living, until you're dead. Trust.

redheaded&crazy

@melis i would sell my soul to the dairy industry if i had to for that title

redheaded&crazy

redheaded&dairy
redheaded&gotmilk?
cowheaded&crazie

RK Fire

@City_Dater: This is what I am starting to tell myself to curb my panic.

mystique

@redheaded&crazie I don't know what I want to do either, but I'm taking that as a great thing because honestly I just want a job when I graduate from grad school.

I think even if I don't get a job and am stuck at my parents' house, first: I will be very lucky that I have a family that will help. Second: I will try and do SOMETHING. One thing that being mildly depressed off and on through high school, college, and post-grad is that my bar for happiness is set pretty low. As long as I'm trying and have hope in the future, I'm good.

And even when I was depressed, I wrote some interesting short stories one of which turned into a novel! Yay!

Danzig!

@mystique Ah see, I'm in that boat and I hate that "low bar" feeling. Feels like an early death (physical / spiritual) is nipping at my heels.

Then again maybe my depression not so mild

NeverOddOrEven

@redheaded&crazie
SUPER cliche, but what worked for me was discovering that "hobbies" and personal interests I'm passionate about can be careers. Duh, but it took me a while to apply that and not just understand it in theory.
I'm not in the career that I want to be, but I know what it is now. I'm volunteering in that field of work and from here it looks pretty easily attainable.

dabbyfanny

Wait. Gladiators aren't trendy anymore? Shit.

dabbyfanny

One day I will write an article called "the Worst Time I Had a Campus Interview at The University of Georgia". Oh. My. God. That agony lasted for two and a half days, people.

Heat Signature

Kristen Schaal is the voice of Mabel in "Gravity Falls" and she is super-great!! So is the show, actually. It's on Disney Channel, yes, but it's really funny and makes me long for Weekly World News (Batboy! The hilarious grumpy old man fake advice columnist!).

Michelle LeBlanc@twitter

WAIT - did you break your wrist and then just shake it off? Because I'd actually spin that as doing a really good job of holding it together in weird and shitty situation.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter haha no!!! it did ache for an entire year though.

whoabecca

So delightful to read! Thanks for sharing.

saul "the bear" berenson

This is great! And so scary. Lia, does this potentially mean that I, at the age of 29, would be foolish and unwise and ultimately unhappy if I wanted to give the heave-ho to my current path and do a full-on career change to journalism/blogging/writing? Because I am pretty set on that being what my heart really really really wants, but it's scary (which is okay, everything worthwhile is a little scary, etc). Do you feel like it was an unadvisable endeavor, though? You're now doing PR/marketing, so if you wanted to share any more about that journey, I would love to hear it. Pinners - anybody else attempted this?

Also - hey girl hey, I live in Astoria too!

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Moxie Let's get together! I think it's always smart to try something new if your heart is telling you it's the way to go. I learned the hard way that you have to be financially ready, too. So don't forget that! But what was interesting about this episode of my life is that I went away from PR and Marketing, only to find that I wanted to get back into it once this (and some other adventures) didn't work out. I think more than anything else, that's why I say you wind up where you need to be. Sometimes you have to leave the path, to get back on it!

saul "the bear" berenson

@Lia LoBello@facebook Oh man, getting together would be amazing! Thank you! My email is moxiethemaven [at] yahoo.com, shoot me a note and drinks will be on me at Sweet Afton or elsewhere.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Moxie i love it! i will email you! :)

Molly F@twitter

Once I went to use the bathroom in the lobby of my office, saw someone waiting to use it, who I recognized, said hello, and then realized it was Kristen Schaal and I knew her from TV, not real life. Then I had to wait with her for five minutes while she waited for her friend to be done. I think I said something brilliant like "ummm waiting for the bathroom."

missannethrope

Hey Gals, I have news for you - feelings of doubt and inadequacy never end, but there is hope. I'm a 51 year old lady lawyer and every time I hear about one of my law school classmates' amazing accomplishments I think OMG I'm such a failure I haven't done anything in my career. Plus, I don't have kids and that routinely makes me think OMG I'm such a failure I don't have kids I'm worthless. Etcetera. Objectively, my life is awesome, but feelings of inadequacy learned in early childhood and reinforced in adolescence and young adulthood are really hard to shake. The only thing that has helped me achieve some sense of peace with myself thus far is Buddhism. Y'all should check it out.

Danzig!

@missannethrope Damn, and here I was hoping to be an entirely different, confident, contented person by the time I hit 35.

NeverOddOrEven

@Danzig!
I just watched Tony Hale on the Kevin Pollock Chat Show (now on Hulu!), and he went on a tear about contentment being something that you have to practice. Because if you don't have it where you are, it's not going to be there when you get where you want to go.
Truth.

NeverOddOrEven

@NeverOddOrEven
*Pollak. Crap.

Mrs. Coach McGuirk

This is beautiful, and also Kristen Schaal is the best. Fun fact, she is from my home town, and my old roommate lost his virginity to her. This makes me feel like I have an intensely personal connection to her, though I haven't ever met her. I go to the bars at Christmas a lot, just in case she decides to stop by.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Mrs. Coach McGuirk that is AMAZING.

WaityKatie

@Mrs. Coach McGuirk Is it too much to hope for a "the best time I lost my virginity to Kristen Schaal" post?

Oh, squiggles

Okay, totally different scenario, but I too have found myself wandering around NYC, crying, alone and (instead of calling) texting my mom. Is this a life milestone?!

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Awesomely Nonfunctional i think we should just say yes and virtually high five over it.

Oh, squiggles

@Lia LoBello@facebook Done!

babs

Am I the only one here who would ace the interview solely because I was drunk?

Regina Phalange

Lia, this is totally lovely.
Also, I just checked out your blog - so cute! - and may I just say, as a fellow Floridian in exile, YES. PUBLIX. These snobby city folk yammer on about their Trader Joe's and their Whole Foods mania, and I just shoot them the cool, heavy-lidded stare of someone who has already seen the truth.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Regina Phalange thank you so much regina! yes, publix is the holy grail for me. anyone who says otherwise simply has yet to visit one and that is that. the truth, as you say. couldn't be more accurate.

QuicheRichards

I am the last one here on a Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning, and this thing: Interviewing in a bar on a completely empty stomach (I had BLOOD DRAWN just prior to the interview), realizing very quickly that I was wrong for the job, summer walking/crying. Oh god oh god oh god.

Not a big deal, but I feel strangely in crisis.

Amphora

@QuicheRichards At least the cotton ball-under-bandaid-at-crook-of-the-arm should have alerted your interviewer!

QuicheRichards

@Amphora I was like, "Oh, This? You can tell it's not my drug habit because of the cleanliness and fanciness of the bandaid. Also, no, don't worry, I'm not dying."

Lia LoBello@facebook

@QuicheRichards you too?!?

Amphora

Also, my barista at Caribou this morning gave off a total Kristen Schaal vibe. I think it was her perky haircut.

GailPink

This was nice.

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