Apologies for posting on a worry that may only apply to me, but I decided to post this in case others can use my question as a resource.
I feel pretty confident about the schools I'm applying to for next fall, as I'm a pretty good candidate. While my GPA and GRE scores are not stellar by any means, both are good for what I'm hoping to do. Those writing my recommendation letters think I walk on water, and I'm a confident writer. There's only one aspect of my application that worries me -- my career. It started when I was in college, and I had a ton of responsibility. Then something snapped, I stopped caring about life for a while, and my career has since flat-lined.
My career started as an internship for a financial trade association, which turned into a job I balanced while in school. I stayed for 18 months while pursuing a full courseload. I had quite a bit of responsibility over communications with membership, and performed very well at that job. I left to pursue a school-related research project, but felt I could have stayed forever. My coworkers and my boss felt that I walked on water. I also got to work on lots of transportation and environmental policy, as our members were very interested in the cap-and-trade legislation then weaving through Congress.
My decline began my senior year. I'll spare you the details, but I entered a quarter-life crisis, moved back home to Western NY, and basically stayed in a funk for a half year or so, many including days where I never left my bed. I since found a job, got new direction in life (which planning was apart of), and developed a more spiritual/gratuitous side I never worked on before. For the first time since I was very little, I can say that I am happy to be me. I have grown.
What hasn't grown is my professional life. In fact, it has been a disaster. As my location suggests, I moved to a city not rich in opportunities. I found a job with a small company that, while offering extremely good pay for my age group and this area, it is just not a story I want to emphasize in my resume at this time. I'm doing marketing and international development work for a company an acquaintance owns, which she recruited me for. My efforts have experienced setbacks, the owner chickened, and is now basically paying for me to fill a chair while she figures out how to make use of me. It's not worth quitting over -- the money is good and it may take months to find another job I'll have to quit a few months later. Nevertheless, it feels like a downgrade from my last job, both in importance and the amount of experience I gained. I also can't point to any quantifiable results I gained for this company. If it helps, I did do some things I've never done in my career before -- they just didn't work out.
I know many admissions committees like to see increased responsibility and growth throughout an applicant's career. This is something of a backslide. Admissions committees probably don't care for my mental health sob stories, and I really don't want to share unless I have to. Is there a way I can spin this? Do admissions committees even care? For what it's worth, the president of the trade association I worked for (who knows me very well) is writing a recommendation letter for me.