Meaghan, that's really great advice you gave to the girl who was trying to get hired! I'm copy-and-pasting it for the future.
It's also hard when the culture explicitly endorses driving vs. public transportation/other means. In the town where I used to live, it was cool if I was late to work because the bus was late since enough people used the bus that it was understood. Where I live now, a town with no public transportation, the battle for parking spaces has gotten so out of control that being late because you had to park a mile away is an acceptable excuse.
I just have to tell you how much I love your email address! I'm sorry people in Berlin might not commend you for your comedic genius.
This is actually really solid, dad-like advice and feedback. Classic Obama!
"I can’t wait til I can look back at my life and say, 'Things seemed so difficult at various times, but now it all makes sense! Everything had to happen that way to bring me to this glorious point!'" This is my mantra that I repeat daily. My husband thinks I'm being delusional, but it's what I need to do to feel like I'm not just wasting away my relative youth. "Ughhh" indeed.
I saw the Amazon story on CBS Sunday Morning recently! They never mentioned that the woman was TWELVE when she wed! Funny how that wasn't deemed relevant. What a horrible thing (or series of things) he did to that poor woman and their kids. I doubt she so willingly gave up her children, but she probably saw no other choice. It seems pretty unlikely she even had a say in what to name them. So, so sad.
I had this same problem! My job was eliminated so my insurance was about to be cut off, so I squeezed in my dental exam and mentioned that I'd been experiencing jaw pain and gritting my teeth a lot (uh, from stress). Luckily I went to a dental school with lots of dentists on hand for my exam and they were able to fit me for a mouthguard in time. I think they were able to do it mostly felt sorry for me. Ugh! Insurance!
I considered grad school only because I was an overachiever like Ester and I assumed that was the path my life would take. I was voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school, and folks, heavy is the head the wears the (meaningless) crown. Thankfully I didn't do it, mostly because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up / legitimately study for a Masters degree. The hardest part for me was redefining my identity as not the "smart" kid I was in my youth in favor of the person I am now. That is, a person who doesn't have a headline to use to describe myself and instead has had to flesh herself out with... Personality? An ability to adapt? Ugh, I don't know who I am.
I worked in a factory for a few weeks during the summer I was 19! It was a potato chip factory. I started on the line that pulled or cut off the bad parts of potatoes, and eventually moved down to where we boxed up the finished bags. The latter was definitely preferable because you could talk to other people. It was a great life lesson because I felt so over-privileged that I got to return to college at the end of the summer while these people were there indefinitely. Mostly, I remember the smell of salt permeating the air was the worst part and I was exhausted like I'd never been before at the end of each day.