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Tag Archives: Fear

The missing piece in my resume

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Since I’m almost finished writing my thesis, the topic of what I should do next is coming up every so often. In a few months, my “student” status will have expired and then I have to face the tough “real” world. My plan is to just quietly apply for jobs and quietly getting rejections. I am normally very optimistic and don’t worry that much, but whenever people talk to me about it, I brood for days on end. The reason I am brooding is that I am afraid of the job market because I think I have no qualifications whatsoever and I never did an internship. This is basically the kiss of death for a 26 year old first-time job seeker. People happily point that out to me. What annoys me is that nobody makes suggestions how to succeed despite this flaw. I cannot change it anymore, so why people persist on dwelling on this point so much is beyond me. I am also not immune to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune sometimes. But it is annoying. Well, maybe I can take comfort in that it helps other people feeling less inadequate and better prepared for the job market through me ๐Ÿ˜‰

The thing is, I never worked. I had two summer jobs once. One was in the summer of 2003, the other in the summer of 2004. Then my dad died. Most people assume that I am a lazy person just riding on my mom’s money because I didn’t work afterwards anymore. And in a way that is true. But the reality is, I didn’t even dare to do an internship during my holidays after that. Because holidays meant I had to go home and help my mom. If my mom’s house were in the city, it would have been no problem to do an internship and help her out at the same time. But since my family lives on the countryside, far away from any city, far away from anything really, I didn’t have the opportunity to do it both. I don’t like to explain myself when I am accused of doing nothing. But yesterday, when a girl suggested I am “the worst” because I never worked in a joking manner, I replied that my mom preferred me helping her with my grandma instead of working on my career. My grandma is almost blind and she cannot walk very well anymore. This has been getting worse over the years. She needs help 24/7 and my mom is by her side the whole year round. Everybody who cares for older people knows how exhausting this can be. My mom doesn’t complain and she just gracefully accepts the situation. She deserves a medal and I am always amazed at how patient she is! Naturally, when I am at home she takes every opportunity to get out, meeting up with friends, going to exhibitions and so on. There are no other people whom she can call to help her out. It’s basically just me and my mom. Nowadays I’m very guilt-ridden since I don’t help her out that much anymore.

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So yesterday, when I said that the reason for not doing “anything” was to help out my mom, I was met with embarrassed silence. Did I overburden them with private family matters? Nowadays nobody wants to hear of the sick and the old, but I didn’t say that to gain sympathy. I just stated the facts. The reaction irritated me. I don’t know why they were embarrassed and it still bugs me that they reacted that way. Since I was too stunned I couldn’t react properly and the topic changed very quickly. I take it that they either pity me, feel sorry for me, think of their grandparents, think of my decision to put my grandma before my career as stupid or just don’t know how to handle someone actually having a grandma at home. I really don’t know. If they pity me, I think it very strange. Yeah, my grandma is very annoying if you don’t tend to her the minute she wants something. There were times when it was exhausting and frightening to be alone with her when she was sick and I didn’t know what to do to the point of pitying myself. But she is very lively for her age. While she remembers stuff she did on a particular day, let’s say, in 1942, I cannot for the life of me remember the stuff I did yesterday properly.ย  What amazes me the most is that even though she already told me stories on every possible subject and on every possible stage of her life, every time I visit she still knows a new story I never heard of. Through her I get to know every family member in every possible way. She tells me stuff nobody else would dare to tell me, juicy family secrets and the like. I discover things through her stories which I would have never known. There are new stories every time and I even hear new things about my dad from time to time. I love that! It’s astonishing. Listening to her is like a live-cast of history. To conclude this, it’s not a burden to care for her.

I think the reaction annoys me that much because I got a taste of my future job interviews. When future employers will ask me about the missing spots in my resume, I will have to tell them the same. And because I didn’t even think about such strange reactions, I never thought about my “holiday work” as a problem. Since this was what I got, I am more afraid of strange feedback than ever. I cannot process their reaction, don’t know what it’s about and don’t know how to cope with it. And most of all, I don’t know how to make such situations less awkward. Let’s just hope nobody asks ๐Ÿ˜‰


My future job might involve looking at private parts

Well, yesterday I met a friend who recently spent half a year in Shanghai doing an internship. She met lots of expats who, after graduating, found a job there. Some of them had studied Sinology, just like me. Apparently the guys she met were the “not too successful Sinology students”, those who didn’t top their studies with economy or business studies or something else “practical”, just like me. As she told me of the one friend who worked for an Internet site, I saw my future in front of me. That friend is working for a site called po**, and in German “poppen” is practically having intercourse, to put it elegantly ๐Ÿ˜‰

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It’s like facebook but on that site people get connected, well, to pop ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now, her job involves looking at pictures people uploaded for approval. And sometimes this means looking at p**n the whole day…so wow! And apparently many men like to take pictures of their p**n from all kind of angles. To her, there’s not much of a difference anymore…the vanity of men…

This is a girl who studied for a few years and ends up looking at p**n… I wonder how far I would go for a job… As I cannot afford to be picky I might end up on a similar job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but how do you tell your grandma about a job like this? Well, at least the job is in China… This prospect of my future is not too encouraging… Now I am really looking forward to searching for a jobย  But please, let it be something not too slutty…

Easter gossip

Easter holiday. Visiting my mom. Going to church and almost dying of boredom. Eating way too much chocolate. Seeing people I haven’t seen in a while and getting sentimental.

The only funny thing while sitting in church was the priest grumbling at his altar boys and girls (not even my splendid service I did as a kid could change his character, bless his heart) and my mom pointing out to a former student of hers sitting in front of us where we are in the church song book. The former student surely was thrilled getting instructions from my mom years after leaving school ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems like you can get the teacher out of school, but the school doesn’t leave the teacher…or something like that.

It is almost always the same when it’s time to visit my family. Since it’s always the same old, you know what to expect and I’m cool with that. But this time, my grandma was agitated when her brother pointed out to her that I wasn’t featured in the yearly report of the area in the section of people graduating or accomplishing something else in their life. Because of him, she now worries that the whole township is gossiping about me and my eternal studies and living off of my mom’s money. “If he is already talking about this to me, imagine what other people are saying!” she cried out to me! THE horror!! My grandma is deeply concerned about the reputation of my family ๐Ÿ˜‰ She surely imagines people whispering behind her back: “You know how their girl studies until she’s thirty and still won’t get anything done.” Or: “You know, I was told that someone saw her there and there sipping cocktails/buying expensive clothes/eating in a fancy restaurant. The nerve of that girl when she didn’t even earn her own money yet.” Or “My child is working ten years already while this kid just lives her life without any concern for the community she lives in!” And surely she imagines them discrediting my upbringing: “Boy did they do a job on that girl!” Or “Boy, what could they have done to deserve such a slouch of a girl.” I was very amused, but when the neighbor started to ask me the same questions my grandma was worried about, I started to wonder, is my grandma on to something here? Do you only get a pass in your early 20s, but when you reach 25 without a degree, people get suspicious? Even a friend of mine who normally isn’t interested in anything I’m doing sat there expecting answers from me. And the questions kept going on when I was going out. It’s exhausting. “How is your thesis going?”, “What’s the topic of your thesis?”, “When are you planning on handing in your thesis?”, “When are you finally finished with your studies?”, “How do we call you then?” (In a country like Austria where titles are the ticket to being worshiped this is exceedingly important to ask!), “What are you planning on doing then?”, “You surely start working there or there, right?”ย  Blablabla…ย  Scary! Especially because I don’t know a good answer to any of these questions. And especially because I dread the time when I really graduate more than anyone else and I am profoundly dreading the time searching for jobs when I don’t have any hope of finding a decent one.

Now I returned to my little haven in the city with no gossip and no one is interested in my studies! What relief ๐Ÿ˜‰ But not for long, Mother’s Day is around the corner. I wonder what the next visit will bring…


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So, now it is already April and my deadline was set for April 26. Like my subconsciousness sees it, deadlines are there to be broken. Especially the ones I set for myself. Why is it that I cannot stick to my own deadlines? If some authority, like a teacher ๐Ÿ˜‰ , gives deadlines, I follow those religiously. But the minute I do it for myself, my expectations go out the window. Together with my self-confidence. Sometimes I feel like I am some drama heroine. Some bad drama heroine who you want to punch in the face whenever she comes on the screen because of the stupid decisions she makes. My decisions are really not the best but can I punch myself and therefor punish myself? Oh my…. OK, so my thesis is now approaching 40 pages, which is good actually, but I am afraid I cannot write another forty until April 26. Which is quite a failure. And considering that I still don’t know what I am doing 40 pages is maybe quite good?! I cannot decide. Since my mom has already given up on asking how my work is going on, that should give me a breather. But the deep fear of failure is always weighing on my head. Oh how I wish for the day when I can throw my fear of failure out the window…

I really need that!!!

Are new parents basically superhumans?

Yesterday, while browsing the university website, I discovered a new graduate and was quite astonished. Last summer, we did the master colloquium together where we had to hand in a first draft of the thesis and basically learned how to start. Since I still am only motivated by fear, which obviously doesn’t help, I now have more fear than ever. Or maybe her graduating does motivate me, I haven’t decided yet.

What astonished me is the fact that she very quickly handed in her thesis despite being a mother. Yes, she has a baby, and another on the way judging by her appearance when I last saw her. (I hope I am right, but she is very thin normally, so she must have been pregnant…this is all very confusing for someone who doesn’t even notice someone putting on 10 kilos…but I think I am right…) I don’t know her properly, but I always admired her. She seemed to juggle it all so easily and it cannot be that easy. Her parents don’t live in Vienna like she has to for her studies and I even think that her boyfriend is not even in Austria because he probably has to finish his studies in his country. They are still very young and it must be very hard.

She brought the baby to a few classes and couldn’t stay when it whined or wanted out or something. It must have been very difficult and I think she missed a lot of classes because of it. Naturally, the professors had to be very tolerant, which they were. I think one feature of our professor helped her a lot, which was taping a few of the classes so you could stay at home. Maybe this seems backwards that we don’t have this around here as a given, but sadly it is not. Our professor is considered to be very innovative around here.

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So, my question is now, are mothers more productive? When the baby sleeps, do they have the sudden urge to take care of everything they cannot do when the baby is awake? Do they squeeze every little work in the one hour the baby sleeps? And when the baby sleeps two hours surprisingly, can they accomplish even more? Do they just live on the baby’s charm and personality to bring them through the day or is the baby smell the equivalent of spinach for Popeye? Can mothers survive on two hours of sleep a day? Do they think of something like “I have to accomplish this before the baby starts to walk”? Do they have the feeling of having to accomplish something before the baby can question their laziness or something? Do they fear the questions of the baby when it starts to talk, like “Mummy, why are you still in college?” or something?

And those questions also count for fathers. Case in point is that we only have three graduates so far, two of them being parents. The other graduate just recently became a father and also graduated quite quickly.

It really is a mystery to me! Maybe I have to look after a baby to get the same energy drive. Are babies the new red bull? This would really be worth exploring in another thesis ๐Ÿ˜‰



Today is a slow day again…outside it is raining, it is foggy, and the mood is generally set to be a Sunday. And today I received a letter which basically ended my childhood by having formally received my inheritance. It sounds strange, but I already inherited while my mum still lives…she just wanted to get everything settled so that she can enjoy her retirement without worrying about money or formalities. Now it is settled that the house in which I grew up in belongs to my sister, and I inherited the house where my mother grew up in, which she still owned up to now. It feels strange because I thought this would happen when I am well in my 30ies and I could swallow the idea ofย  owning a house. But now the thought is only terrifying. The problem is, the house is very old, my grandmother died a few years ago and since then it was mostly used as a “garbage bin” which means loading old stuff off, using it for family reunions and as a holiday house for family members.

It is a very nice little house, and I like it very much. I just don’t like the idea of owning it, because in a way everybody owns it. If the house would be in Vienna, I would move in right away. But since the house is in the middle of nowhere…or for me, it seems to be in the middle of nowhere, the situation is a little tougher. I cannot imagine to move there someday, the next city is half an hour away and I already had my share of country life. But since everybody owns a piece of it, I don’t really feel like I can make a decision to either let the house or just sell it. And even if I did sell it, I would freak out at the thought of having money. Not that it is worth much ๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course I need money, but I just couldn’t handle it. Those are my feelings and they also play into the whole thesis thing. I am pressured to get to a decision, but I really would have preferred to have inherited after the finish line of my thesis. It just sucks…This present just comes along with a big prize tag. And despite being 25, it is hard to accept. I am such a whiny baby ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it really just sucks…

Where is the exit?

Leaving the house today half an hour before my course started, I expected to arrive 5 minutes ahead to chitchat a bit and look very “collegiate” and earnest. It was raining today so I didn’t want to go to University by bicycle but chose to use the streetcar instead…which turned out to be a big mistake. Arriving at the station, I decided to pass time until the streetcar arrived by checking out the office supply store beside the station. Checking out the latest “birthday calenders”, the nice lady from the speaker at the station informed me and my fellow streetcar travellers that we had to wait due to some hindrance in the streets of Vienna. I thought for a moment about going back to take the bike, when the streetcar finally arrived. Enjoying the warmth within the streetcar I settled for my quarter of an hour ride and watched the stores fly by when, in a curve, the streetcar hit a van’s mirror. We didn’t even get to the next station. We were kindly asked to leave and I, weighing my options which were closing down, decided to walk. Two stops from there I saw a crowd waiting for the next streetcar to arrive. Pitying them for knowing for a fact that they would soon walk behind me, I passed by feeling a tiny bit superior. Which hit me in the face because just one minute thereafter, my shiny streetcar passed me by. Which is why I decided to wait at the next station to get on the one after that one, since I assumed that the service was recovered. Little did I know that the next but one was again 5 minutes late, which prompted a woman with a huge dog to also go by foot, which she discussed beforehand with said dog for a little. Seeing him hanging his head down and slogging away beside the woman, she didn’t seem to have understood him the right way. So when finally the next streetcar arrived, I again settled down and thought that I would get to my destination in one undisturbed ride, passing the lady with the dog which again made me feel smug. Which again bit me in the ass when one station down, there was a driver’s change, and the driver seemed to be late. Which didn’t seem to bother him much, besides the angry mob which was building inside the streetcar. Finally, nothing hindered the streetcar for the next three stations and my transfer also was quite smooth. In the end I was 45 minutes late which earned me the evil eye of the lecturer and a loss of important knowledge since next week’s the exam. The lesson I learned seems to be: Regardless of weather conditions, still go by bike instead of streetcars, which are very unreliable. As the man behind my seat noted to his wife: Everyone just thinks about themselves, that’s why nobody bothers to bend mirrors back when parking besides a streetcar track. You can make the world a better place by just doing the little, heroic things like bending back the mirror when parking!!

I overcame this little drawback very well, when, in the evening, I became aware of the new budget 2011, which was decided by the government over the weekend. Hearing the decision to cut the family assistance payments for students over 23, I wasn’t that alarmed. But then I discovered that this also implies losing my half-orphan pension, the privilege of a student ticket for public transport, insurance and I would also need to pay television license fee, which is the smallest part but still… This all starts in January of 2011 and it gave me a chill all over. But instead of hurrying to my desk frantically starting to read and write, it just made me depressed. I thought I could spend my last year of student life in comfort, only having to worry about my thesis. Instead it gets to be a very cold winter. But as my situation is still pretty good, it makes me even more depressed that those decisions ruin somebodies plans and life decisions. And even families, since there are also significant cutbacks with children. We can just hope that it doesn’t get worse…