3. How Many Master’s Degrees Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

I am an outrageously, over the top Sex and the City fan.  Do you remember that episode when Blair Underwood asked Miranda to take a day off from work?  Do you remember her response?  I may hate my job, but just like Miranda I never take personal time off from work.


My colleague actually gasped a couple of days ago when I told her I was leaving early.  It was a hard decision, especially since I had arrived early and left late every day since I started working for my company.

It seemed so promising.  I just happened upon it.  It wasn’t unusual for me to type the names of competing companies into Google, just to see what comes up.  This part is hard to explain.  I do work for a top company.  Everyone that works for my company puts in sixty hours a week.  There is a subdivision of my field that requires less hours.  I cannot work for that subdivision however, because I lack certain credentials.  I often dream however, of crossing over to the other side where the grass is greener, the sun shines brighter, and I only have to work forty hours a week.  I looked up one of the subdivision companies, and there it was glowing like some kind of cipher from The Da Vinci Code – an interest meeting for those looking for a way in.


Of course the meeting had to take place at 4 pm.  I’m usually not done working until 6 or 7 o’clock.   I raced out of my cubicle by 3 pm.  I didn’t leave enough time to be punctual.  Despite doing eighty miles per hour on the beltway I arrived about ten minutes late.

I interrupted a woman with enough wisdom and wrinkles to be affectionately nicknamed Crypt Keeper.


She made me pause my gapping stride to the closest available seat and give up one of those awkward introductions.  You know, the type that involves the victim squinting as if the grimace could render it unnecessary to ask what icebreaking questions needed to be answered.  After I told the seated group my name and a little about my background I sought out confirmation that I had done it correctly.  Crypt Keeper barely nodded yes before she turned back to the notes that guided her to finish the sentence that started before I entered the room.

I was glad my seat was behind Crypt Keeper.  It didn’t take long for my shoulders to start sinking towards the floor.  The fast track to an entry-level position requires simultaneous progress towards earning an advanced degree at Georgetown University.  I knew that already, but hearing her speak about the necessary coursework gave me butterflies in my stomach.  I need another degree like a hole in the head.  What I didn’t know is that the coursework wouldn’t start until fall of 2014. We were attending an interest meeting for a position that doesn’t start until 2014.  WTF!

I was convinced that I was wasting my time sitting there but I would hear Crypt Keeper out.  She was going on and on about how rigorous the selection process is, and how they only choose eighteen people out of hundreds of applications.  She opened the floodgates by nodding her head towards one raised hand.  Many took advantage of the impromptu question and answer session by lacing their “questions” with tidbits they should have saved for the application.  If I was drinking I would have made a game of swallowing a shot for every time someone mentioned that they already had a Master’s Degree.

A toddler, unmanaged by his mother who instead strained an eager hand in the air, ran in circles in one entrance and then out of the other.

He walked up to me, propped an arm on my leg and said, “Seriously Anna?  Haven’t you been here before?  Look at these idiots trying so hard to impress everyone with their Master’s Degrees.  Not one of them is smart enough to realize that more than one MA makes them look confused.  I mean jeez!  These highly sought after positions only pay $30K a year….”

Ok, so the toddler didn’t really talk to me but I thought he was trying to tell me something with the circles he ran in and out of the room.  I side stepped through a sea of raised hands and made it home before the meeting was over.

I know.  It is hard to say if this counts towards the 100 outings I vowed to complete by next Thanksgiving.  I think it does though.  I have been working at my current position for the past five years.  I am trying to do something about the career that supposedly has me drinking my blues away. (I am aware that the root of my alcoholism is way deeper than my job.)  I am trying to be proactive but I’ve got to find another way.  The first interest meeting I attended was for Teach for America in 2001.  I was accepted to the program and quit by the first week of school.  I have applied to and been accepted to every program and job I have desired since I graduated college.  Somehow I still ended up – here.  I don’t know what the next steps are for my career, but I am sure it doesn’t start with an interest meeting!

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