My ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Moment

Interview Outfit

Disclaimer: I am not the devil, and I do not wear Prada. I do have three Coach purses, though, because they were gifts from my mom and husband throughout the years. I wear Silpada jewelry because I bought quite a few pieces when I tried selling the stuff for a couple of years. And I love The Limited because they send me coupons on my birthday. That’s what I wear when I need to look like a stable adult. Also, I am a saint (wink, wink).Β 

I had recently graduated from college when I watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time. The opening scene sucked me in immediately. While listening to KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” and watching beautiful women adorn their bodies with matching bras and undies, makeup, pumps, and fashionable outfits for the office, I suddenly wanted to be any one of those women. A matching bra and panty set?!?! Whoa, that’s very grown up. Then there was Andy Sachs, the aspiring journalist who threw on an ugly sweater and put on some ChapStick before her interview with the editor of a popular and well-established fashion magazine. She didn’t care about what she looked like. She just cared about pursuing her dream. She got a little lost for awhile after taking the job, but her heart won out in the end.

Although I didn’t have an interview with an editor of a fashion magazine recently, I did have an interview with a marketing firm about three weeks ago. After making it through the first interview, which was over the phone, I was called back to interview in person. And after applying for at least a dozen jobs at this point, I was excited to finally meet with a potential employer. I put on my “interview outfit” pictured above. I decided not to wear a suit because I hate wearing suits and because I don’t own a suit. (Last summer I had donated my only suit to Goodwill in a fit of rage when I thought that I would never lose the weight I had gained during my two pregnancies.) While adorning my body with clothing items that did not include yoga pants, jeans or my DIY tank top (another Pinterest fail), I suddenly felt like a real adult again. I even kicked it up a notch and put on mascara, which has happened about a handful of times in my life. I looked in the mirror and I suddenly saw myself as a confident professional. I told myself that I was ready to get back in the game and that I was ready to move forward with my career and focus on my career development. But during the second interview, it became clear that the job I was applying for was not for me. After the interview, I emailed the HR department and kindly withdrew my application.

The company and position was not a good fit for me. I had asked the interviewer to share with me what she thought was most fulfilling about her job. She hesitated when answering my question. It was actually quite painful to watch her and listen to her as she searched her heart for the answer, or any answer. And she never really answered my question. She said that she was grateful that she had so many people she could reach out to at work when she was having issues with her own attitude toward her job. Yeah. Not a good fit at all.

I have been thinking about this interview for three weeks now, trying to make better sense of why I withdrew my application and why I even bothered to apply for the position. I think I finally know what I did wrong, what I did right and what I need to do now.

What I did wrong:

I applied for the position out of desperation. As much as I want to stay home with my kids all day, every day until they are both old enough to go to school, my time as a stay-at-home mom is very limited. I have student loans, and I need to continue paying these loans off. My goal is to find a part-time job by the end of the summer. Now that August has arrived, I am starting to get nervous about not having a job yet. Let me rephrase that: I am starting to have panic attacks again because I need to earn an income but I don’t want to sacrifice my time with my children and I don’t want another job that’s going to put me in the same situation that led to me quitting my previous job in May. I’m desperate because I don’t want my family’s finances to suffer, but I am also trying to stay true to myself by finding something that is fulfilling — or least more enjoyable at this point. I know I can’t have it all at once, but I am attempting to take the steps that are necessary to get my work life or career or whatever you want to call it back on the right path — the right path for me.

What I did right:

I acknowledged that the company and position was not a good fit for me. After thinking about it for a few weeks now, I have also come to realize that I worry way too much about what others think of me. I don’t want people to think that I am wasting my college education. I don’t want people to think that I am lazy. I don’t want my family and friends to be disappointed in me. I need to stop worrying about what everyone else my age is doing and what my friends, family and society expects me to do. I need to start doing what I want to do. Perhaps if I am doing something I enjoy I will not feel like my time away from children is wasted time. Life is too short. Life is too precious. Life is a gift. I don’t want to waste my life.

So that’s where I am at with this whole job search thing. I’m a little like Andy Sachs. I may look boring at first. I lost myself for awhile when trying to succeed in a place that was not right for me. But I have a better sense of who I am now and where I belong.

What I need to do now:

I need to be okay with who I am. I am a mother. And I am a giver. I take care of people. That’s what I like to do. I’m bossy, I will organize the shit out of anything, and I will bust my ass for anyone when something good will come of it. I’m socially awkward, but I do enjoy meeting new people and trying to make new friends when my social awkwardness isn’t too much for others to handle. Clearly I would make a great bartender, personal assistant or event planner.

I need to stop worrying about what other people will think of me if I choose to put my children first at this point in my life instead of my “career” and my professional development. Sure I have a bachelor’s degree that I paid an obscene amount of money for, and I earned a pretty sweet GPA that I now get to plaster on my resume. But shouldn’t I get to be the one who determines whether I am successful or not? And isn’t it a bit disturbing that I feel like I have to argue that being home with my kids doesn’t make me less successful than other parents who do work? Why is it so difficult for me to accept that choosing to stay home more with my children is perfectly fine?

Why is it so difficult for me to allow myself to follow my heart some days?

I understand my heart. I trust my heart. But it’s not always easy to give up control and let my heart lead me. We all have these inner struggles. But how long do we go on battling with ourselves? Why do we avoid making peace with ourselves? How do we finally allow ourselves to embrace who we are without feeling the need to justify our actions and choices?

Yes, I am confused. Yes, I still worry about what others think of me after quitting my job. But there are also moments when my soul becomes more peaceful.

There are moments when suddenly I see.

After I was all dressed up for my interview a few weeks ago, my son looked at me and said, “Wow, you look pretty mommy. You know what I have to say? You’re one dynamite gal.” (The dynamite gal part is a line he stole from Wreck It Ralph). My soul finally became peaceful once again when my son spoke these words. And in that moment, it didn’t matter that I was going to interview for a job that I wasn’t thrilled about. All that mattered was that I got to be home to have that moment with my son. And then my daughter chimed in, “Die mite gal. Die mite gal. DIE MITE GAL!”

I thank myself every day for allowing myself to follow my heart by leaving my previous job. I thank God every day for blessing me with two beautiful children. I thank my husband every day for supporting me and my decisions — even some of my crazy ones. And I thank my children every day because they have helped me to see what I want to be and because they have given my heart wings.

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15 thoughts on “My ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Moment

  1. Hey Aimee, thanks for sharing all of those very many and personal thoughts. Although our situation isn’t exactly the same, I understand how you describe that you know in your heart what’s good and what’s good for you and the people closest to you, but still you struggle with the “outside world” and what others (might) think or say.

    I’m kind of in a similar situation, but there are no kids involved. I needed some time to stop this high speed train that was called my life and got me to a station where I realised I had to end up, but wasn’t “me”. I’m still at the beginning of this journey and recognise many of the thoughts that you describe. The other day I felt like this process we’re going through might be a bit like going through the stages of grief. And it reminded me of a Grey’s Anatomy episode. Don’t know if you like that series, but I’m curious how you feel about that idea.
    http://www.tvfanatic.com/quotes/grief-may-be-a-thing-we-all-have-in-common-but-it-looks-differe/

    The most important thought I had, was that I think this actually takes time and we need to accept that. You seem to have found out you weren’t as ready as you thought you were. Obviously, sometimes we need a The Devil Wears Prada moment for that. Awesome, isn’t it πŸ™‚

    • I have not seen the show, but it is on my list of shows to watch on Netflix. I am just intimidated by how many episodes there are. I might go missing for weeks when I finally do start watching it!

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. Yes, I agree that this new journey is a bit like going through the different stages of grief. My thoughts about what I am working through after leaving my job make so much more sense to me now, too. I tend to want to rush things when I think I know or do know what I want. I want to fix things right away and make everything better as soon as possible. However, it does take time, and this is difficult for me to accept in many situations. But time isn’t a bad thing. And I need to be okay with that. And I need to be okay with my feelings and thoughts, even when I can’t make sense of what is going on inside. I will have a better understanding, in time. I will feel less confused, in time. For now, I need to allow myself to feel what I am feeling. Thank you for your insight!

      I wish you the best in your journey!

      • Thank you Aimee, the best to you too. Ow and Grey’s is worth it πŸ˜‰ I started watching from season four or five I think and then realised it’d be more fun to watch from the start first. I’ve had some nights thinking okay, just ONE more, wow that was so cool, just ONE more, I really need to get some sleep, just ONE more… you get the picture πŸ˜‰ Hope you get the chance to watch it and hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

  2. Great post! I can completely relate to how you feel. 6 years ago I decided to close the doors to my family business to stay home with my daughter (now we have 3). I worked so hard to build a successful business but my heart wasn’t in it. I still battle with what outsiders think of me and my descision. I know it was the right thing to do and I do not regret it one bit. I get to spent so much time with my girls and witness each new accomplishment they do without having to live it through someone else. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot over the years and I have so many friends tell me I need to get back in the work field and put my college degree to use but hey I figure when all my girls are in school I can do that. Right now I’m just enjoying life.

    Looking forward to reading more post from you πŸ™‚

    • So glad to hear you are happy with your decision to be home with your kiddos and that you are enjoying the time you have with them even though it may not always be easy for you! You sound like a very brave woman.

  3. You are clearly on the right path and doing what is best for yourself and the future sanity of your family. Good for you… very well written! Being close to leaving a very secure job myself this gives me hope πŸ™‚

  4. I know you wrote this a while ago, but I wanted to comment on it because it really resonated – I often feel stuck in that “between” place too. I never wanted to be a full-time SAHM but I learned that “corporate” America isn’t the place for me either. There doesn’t seem to be a good solution for those of us “in the middle” (so to speak) and I think about that often.

    I think it’s really amazing that you had the self-confidence to pull your application after that interview – especially being in a place (at the time?) where you felt like you really needed to find a job. I wish I had that bravery – I should have done that for the last job I took.

    • The more comfortable I become with not needing all of the answers and the next 10 years mapped out for me, the more confidence I build to explore and take chances and try out different things I am interested in. I hope you can still find time to do that for yourself even though you may not enjoy the current job you have. I am learning that the more I let go of my fears of failing, the more I learn about my abilities. I am also starting to make some wonderful connections which feels awesome!

      • I actually quit my job a little over two years ago now… it’s been an interesting journey of self-discovery. πŸ™‚ Connections are the best, congratulations! πŸ™‚

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