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Where I’m Supposed To Be

Posted: November 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: chance | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

On the actual eve of my graduation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I sat in the middle of the campus with a few close friends and drank and smoked as we’d done a thousand times before. With no sleep, I dragged myself through graduation and, then, grabbed my bags and went home for good.

Jobless for months, I was lucky to have a sister who allowed me to live in her family’s home until I could get on my feet; unfortunately, with being unemployed, my presence became too much to bear and I was asked to leave. My mother, through a friend, was able to find me an apartment, so I avoided homelessness. However, this only added to the stress I already had become accustomed to, because, now, I would have no choice but to quickly find a job.

I bounced from one meaningless job to another—door-to-door phone-service salesman, temporary post-office work—until I, finally, found a temp-to-hire data-entry position at a reputable company. Not the sort of employment I expected for myself, considering I’d recently graduated, but it was a stable bring-in-money-for-the-rent income that I sorely needed at the time. And because it wasn’t a guaranteed full-time hire, I had to show everything I had in me to prove I belonged…and I did. Eventually, I was asked if I wanted to become full time, and of course, I responded in the affirmative. I was scheduled to take a drug test and was told that, following a negative result, I would be granted an official position.

A few days later, Human Resources called me into the office and informed me a background check had been conducted and that the findings were such that I would not be granted employment. I scanned the report she’d handed me and, in complete shock, I shook my head. I’d never even been in the back of a police car, never even seen a jail’s interior; I tried to convince her that the person on this sheet was not me (found out later it was my cousin’s alias)…but she, simply, instructed me to leave. As the security guard stood over me as I gathered my things, I cried.

At the time, that job appeared to be the greatest thing that could have happened to me. I would have been able to pay my rent; I wouldn’t have had to accept the occasional–yet helpful–eight dollars from my sister to help me eat; I would have, once again, had a sense of self—but, fortunately, even though things had not worked out, I was guided into an opportunity—again, a temp position, with the possibility of permanence—with a company that would encourage me to use all of my talents. This media company gave me the chance to utilize—and build on—various skills I’d picked up over the years–writing, proofing, background office work (something I’d done all through high school and college)–and I was happy.

And I remain so.


2 Comments on “Where I’m Supposed To Be”

  1. 1 Bob Ellal said at 4:15 pm on November 8th, 2010:

    Yeah–in some ways that’s my story. But one must be careful and not indulge in the notion that it’s “God’s plan.” Every 29 seconds a child in the Third World dies of starvation; 20 million a year starve, and die, from simple bacterial infections we can cure in the West with a half-a-buck worth of antibiotics.

    Shit happens. Ultimately, one plays the hand he or she is dealt.

  2. 2 Patrick Edwards said at 1:29 pm on November 30th, 2010:

    Hey, Bob

    Not sure if your message was meant to be posted following this article, but if so, I in no way believe in a “God.” I’m not complete atheistic (more Agnostic), but definitely don’t believe in a “God” as we’re told thru Bible and whatnot.

    Totally agree with the “shit happens” philosophy. We make choices and shit happens or it doesn’t–just the way it is.