Fail Again, Fail Better

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
– Samuel Beckett

Spoiler alert

Despite the extremely depressing nature of Beckett’s body of work, what you are about to read is an uplifting guest post that is going to do its damnedest to reassure you that the big, dark world you’ve graduated into is not so bad after all. You fellow English majors out there know enough about despair already. You’ve practically minored in it.

My Story

I graduated college in 2005: no longer the heady fin de siècle bubble days, but also not quite the economic dystopia that set in 2008. In other words, post-9/11 but not yet post-Lehman Brothers. Job prospects were mediocre-to-decent.

And I still screwed it up. And I survived. For those of you playing along at home, here’s how you do that:

  1. Move to a very expensive city (Boston), with nothing lined up, just because you like the town and you know a couple of friends who are getting a place there.
  2. Spend the summer drinking cheap beer, watching Red Sox games, and generally goofing off. Browse for jobs half-heartedly on days when you do at all. Rely on graduation and birthday money to pay rent.
  3. Find a sorta-kinda-part-time thing at a video store. Notice they seem to be doing most of their business from the, um, mature section in the back room. Try to humor the harmless old men from the neighborhood who are the only people left still clueless enough to pay for porn.
  4. While on the bus home, get fired by your Greek gangster boss after letting it slip to an apparent customer (his landlord) that he’s out in Vegas (though you don’t mention that he’s scouting locations to open a strip club out there, which strikes you as being like taking rice to China). Openly laugh at him when he tells you to “never bother coming back,” as if you wanted to.
  5. Find a much cooler but more nebulous job designing video games with a mobile tech start-up.
  6. When the young entrepreneur guy in charge tells you he’s run out of money and can’t pay you anymore, finish your big project anyway, pro bono. Put rent on those promotional checks your credit card company sends you.
  7. Give up and move back in for a year. Remember why people in their 20s shouldn’t live with Mom and Dad. Tutor part-time to raise cash to get yourself out of debt and achieve escape velocity.
  8. Send out applications diligently. Then relocate again, this time based not on a geographical whim but on an actual job offer. I know, sounds crazy, right? Have an actual salary and health insurance. Feel a lot better about everything. Still, have no regrets.

Alvina Lopez, a freelance writer who also volunteers at local literacy organizations, is passionate about education trends and reform. When not writing or teaching, Alvina loves cooking, walking her dog, and enjoying the great outdoors

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