Thank You, Bill Clinton

This is a follow-up to my last post, which was a lyrical expression of both frustration and awakening. The best way I can explain it is like this. I’ve gone through much of my life with an undetectable film over my eyes and I’ve only recently rubbed it the right way…and things look more vivid, less sepia.

Right in time too, because I’m officially on the job market.

I’ve always viewed job-hunting as a referendum on the current position of my life. It frustrates me to no end that after a bachelor’s degree, and now a Master’s degree from an Ivy League institution, my search continues to be limited to entry level positions, assistantships, and in certain cases, unpaid fucking internships (UFI, for short).

But this is the state of my mind right now. It’s a 24/7 news cycle of pride-checking, self-encouragement, life-planning, timetable setting, alternate-mapping, and looking-back-regret.

I had a dream a couple nights ago. Sometimes I forget my dreams, but I remembered this one pretty well.

I walk into a room…no…a patio…and Bill Clinton is sitting on a bench.

He smiles at me, not because he recognizes me, but because I’m the only other person in the room.

Immediately, I can see that he really has no other place to go. I have his undivided attention.

Surprisingly, I’m not nervous at all. I let out a comfortable “HEY Bill! I’ve always wanted to meet you!”

He asks me my name, what I do for a living…

When I tell him I’m a student, he says that’s great. He really values education.

I tell him, you know, I don’t know…I feel like I got the wrong degree. I ask for his advice. How did you get to be where you are now? How did you manage to accomplish so much with your life?

He smiles. (He’s really nice by the way. Like a GREAT smile, just at ease you know?…like he’s really only talking to you, which he is.)

He says, Chris…the most important thing to remember is, Don’t try to be a man of success, but be a man of substance.

I say, wow Bill. That’s actually really helpful.

And then I woke up.

I was really confused. Did Bill Clinton just give me really solid life advice? Or was I giving the advice to myself through the visage of one, Bill Clinton?

Regardless of where it came from, it was tremendous advice. A MAN OF SUBSTANCE. And the success will come. Just tremendous.

Thank you, Bill Clinton. I’ll take that one to the bank.

Would it be disingenuous to begin my Cover Letter with:

Bill Clinton once told me, “Don’t try to be a man of success, but be a man of substance.”

Is that plagiarism?

Because if it’s not…that would be tremendous.

**Note: Only later did I realize that Bill Clinton totally plagiarized Albert Einstein who said: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” But I can see why I’d rather have Bill Clinton visit me than Einstein. He’s just more approachable isn’t he?



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3 responses to “Thank You, Bill Clinton

  1. jen

    congrats on finishing, good luck no your job search.

  2. Elisabeth

    I’m not really sure you can quote Bill seeing as how he was in your head…. 🙂 Might lose you some points on the job search if you start revealing your hallucinations!

    On another note, I had a conversation with a friend and mentor this morning about this exact distinction – true success will come when we pursue our own excellence and passions and values. It’s not about a degree or a paycheck, it’s about our education and what we do with it.

  3. lilian

    good luck chris!!! maybe this is a sign that you should apply for a job at the clinton foundation.

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