“It’s like a deja vue” she wrote. “It’s like January last year”. A friend of mine wrote me Monday night to wish me a happy new year and tell me that just before Christmas she was fired from the new job she had gotten just three months earlier. “I feel much better dressed for job hunting this time”, she wrote, “and I must admit I enjoy spending time with my son and sleeping in”. I know her well enough to know that this is actually how she feels – that she doesn’t worry. Not yet any way. And I think that’s an advantage. Looking back I wish I had been more like that.
I remember back in late August when we met for coffee. I had just quit my first job and couldn’t wait to tell her where I was going. “How are you?”, I asked when she stepped in. “I’m great”, she said, “I just quit my job this week”. I couldn’t help laughing – “so did I”. And we talked about moving on from the first job – the one you’re grateful you get, but also the one rarely is the perfect thing – to jobs we had chosen. It was really nice to know somebody who knew exactly how I felt, someone who were going through the exact same thing. And I remember telling everybody about the coincidence that once again we were in the exact same situation. In January 2007 we were both out of university and unemployed and talked a lot about résumés and what employers would expect to read in applications.
It’s a weird thing. Feeling sorry for someone and at the same time being thankful it is not you. I was mere seconds from writing to her that I had been thinking a lot about last year lately. What would I write? “I’ve been thinking a lot about last year lately. About how many tears I shed and how hopeless I thought everything looked. I’m thankful I’m somewhere else this year”. I don’t think so. I guess she already knows. That’s how most people would feel, isn’t it?
In the end I wrote back that I was sorry for her – genuinely sorry – and that I’m sure applying for jobs this time will be much easier. I remember applying for my second job. I remember the interview. Suddenly I was someone with experience, someone whose opinion was wanted. We talked about what I did at work – not about what being at university was like. There’s a big difference between “I have just finished university” and “At the moment I’m working for xx”. There’s a huge difference between what you do and what you would like to do.
“The good thing is I have plenty of time to meet for coffee :-)”. That was how she ended the email. I couldn’t help but feeling a little guilty when I wrote her back that January is a crazy hectic month at work and that I’d have to check my calendar to see when I’d have the time.