Monday, April 27, 2009

Escaping the Doldrums

I'm not going to sugar coat it. Today was a really tough day. It was one of those days, inevitable in a job search, where hope seems futile. A day where no amount of previous effort seems enough. Where interviews were mercilessly rehashed in my mind. Where my email box was devoid of good news.

I spent several hours this morning writing and rewriting a blog post that went no where. I had lunch with a very nice woman, but neither one of us seemed to have the right connections for the other. I walked home from lunch in a DC heat wave, sweating and crying. No hope. No hope. No hope.

Upon returning to the house, I sat back down at my computer. Looked at all the job boards but found nothing of interest. Sent follow up emails to some friends. Ate a hand full of Oreo cookies.

I had entered a total, utter, state of self-pity.

It reminded me of this scene in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Phantom Tollbooth, where Milo gets stuck in the Doldrums -- a sticky, gooey, kind of drugged out place where nobody does anything. To get out of the Doldrums, he has to do useful things, such as spell words or recite multiplication tables.

And perhaps I was channeling that scene this afternoon. It started with the memory of a promise I made to a friend of a friend to help him find a summer internship in DC. I dug the email up and read his resume (which impressed the socks off me). I brainstormed a list of people who might be able to help him. I wrote a pitch email and sent it out.

Next, I saw one of my good friends had just created a LinkedIn account. I logged on and wrote an endorsement. While I was on, I remembered two other people I wanted to endorse and posted recommendations for them as well. Then, there was another friend of a friend looking for work, and I realized I had a great contact for her and emailed a request to connect.

By this point, it was 5:15, and I needed to dash out to daycare. While I was there, I was talking with the woman who watches my daughter and discovered that her daughter was searching for a summer internship at a hospital. And, again, a friend came to mind who might be able to help. Got home and sent another email out. Oh, and then there was another wonderful friend of a friend, who wrote asking for some fundraising help. Again, I thought of someone right away!!!

And just like Milo was able to pull himself up out of the Doldrums in The Phantom Tollbooth, I pulled myself out of a really crappy day by helping others. While it's true that my search went nowhere today, I like to think that I helped someone get a step closer to their goals. Plus, I got myself out of the Doldrums.


  1. This is one of the many attributes that make you so amazing! Thanks so much for putting out the good vibe for so many!

  2. Thanks, Frances! It's job-hunting therapy -- and payback for all the help I've received from others over the years.

  3. Hello Katie!

    I just noticed the post about "a promise to help a friend find a summer internship in DC". I have to assume that you were talking about me!

    I just wanted to give a shout out and a big digital hug, because thanks to your help I have found an amazing job here in DC.

    I am working on distribution for and other social media strategies for ZejMedia

    Your good Karma is going to pay off, big, I know it will ... it's just holding out for something grandiose!