Chest pain like this isn’t normal but neither is my career history. Six different positions in six different years. The shortest, a handful of months at a famous fashion magazine, may have been the best. The longest, two and a half years at a lesser-known weekly indie rag, may have been just as good, but I was too underpaid and resentful to know it at the time.
The resentment is usually what causes my chest pain. The overwhelming fury paired with raw, youthful frustration.
I also developed an ache in my jaw, and a stiffness in my neck.
My boss — my most current of the lot — told me the other day I come off like a know-it-all. He said I don’t have to prove myself in meeting. I already got the job, he told me. Sometimes it’s more important to listen.
He’s right. Of course he’s right. I’m bitter, but I’m no idiot. If I was an idiot I wouldn’t let the anger creep up my throat. I wouldn’t pick at my fingernail beds in meetings, trying to shut myself up, trying to remind myself it’s just a job.
It is, after all, just a job. And the economy is rumored to be miserable for the unemployed. Which makes me, what, overemployed? Overpaid? Overwhelmed? Overfed? It’s just a job, don’t forget. I tell myself that over, and over again, smiling and nodding, willing the heat in my cheeks to fade, waiting for that pain in my chest to give.