Ahhh…a well needed and much deserved break. I decided to come “home”, the place where I grew up, the place where my huge, multi-generational family is, the place I used to run away from and now I go to in order to regroup, rest and remember that many of my dreams HAVE indeed come true 🙂
I have not thought about the job search much, except to have a few conversations and the sometimes sudden pang of worry that I shoo away readily. Instead, for the past week, I have embarked on a “de-cluttering” mission, gutting my childhood bedroom and my mother’s house. I have been using yerdle, a fun app where you can give away the stuff you don’t need or no longer use and get other stuff that’s interesting or even stuff that you might need. It’s amazing how much we can accumulate, some things that are never even used but you don’t really want to give to Goodwill. Anyway, I have had fun packing stuff, interacting with people all over the US and even finding awesome stuff that I forgot I had.
Next week it’s back to the job search. I am working on creating a different vision of the search. Instead of imagining it as a daily grind knocking on closed doors or getting them slammed in my face, perhaps I will imagine that I am in the jungle on a super secret and important mission of finding the lost city of a long forgotten peoples. It’s a vast jungle and I must be vigilant, I must gather clues that will lead me to that long forgotten city. There are no maps, no well trodden paths that will lead me there. I must rely on my resourcefulness, hardiness and persistence to lead me to that mythical city that holds the key to a long forgotten and underestimated civilization. For now, I spot a watering hole and some berries, time for a lunch break!
The sloth, the dragging feet, the procrastination….My new theory is that j*b se*rching, like searching for a lost item, must be done and concluded rather quickly, otherwise your likelihood of finding said j*b or item drops precipitously. This is easily explained for j*b se*rching requires a series of onerous, nerve racking, thankless tasks that no sane human being would like to have prolonged exposure to. Like searching for a lost item, the longer time lapses, the more you forget the original reasons for the search, the original steps you took to come to this decision that is now inflicting so much “ugghhhh” in your life.
I am now avoiding my j*b se*arching responsibilities like the plague. Washing dishes is more important, going to acupuncture is more important, walking the dog is more important. Some days I declare “Off” days in which I don’t have to do any required duties. This is laughable because the only difference is that I don’t “worry” about the j*b se*rch on “off” days nor do I have that little voice in my head that says “Well you should be doing something”.
I have tried many tools to break out of these times–giving myself “points” for actions taken, setting minimum “goals” of actions to be taken, setting more “structure” to my days. They sometimes work well for the first few months of job searching but as the search now drags on way past what I was prepared for it gets harder and harder to rev up the engines. “Maybe you need a break”, I’ve heard from two people. My life IS a Break! So I shouldn’t complain right? I didn’t quit my job to waste my time away. “But whose fault is it now?”, says that little voice in my head.
I recently found solace in a wonderful piece on raptitude.com : The frightening thing you learn when you quit the 9-5. While I’m not trying to quit the 9-5 permanently, not yet anyways, it did make me wonder if I’m ok with being a robot that requires someone/something else (parents, school, job, boss) to give me direction and purpose rather than declaring my own. I’ve always prided myself on liking structure and finding purpose in the 9-5. I thought I was just a hardworking individual. But the article made me wonder. Am I just being a robot, unable to think on my own and this is why I’m just wandering about with no rhyme or reason and not even enjoying this time where I can define my days to my choosing so I’m not so aimless, bored and frustrated.
I’m a self help junkie. I guess I figure SOMEONE out there knows what they’re doing! That’s not always the case but in reading books and articles on job searching I have often read that it’s good to volunteer while going through a job search or career transition. I have often looked for volunteering opportunities regardless and about six months before I left my job I started volunteering for the Taproot Foundation. Taproot is an excellent organization that puts groups of professionals together on consulting projects that last about 4-6 months to help non-profit organizations. Having volunteered for several organizations in the past, Taproot is a wonderful, well-organized, professional foundation that, I felt, treats their volunteers as professionals and seeks to provide quality help to their “client” base (the non-profits they help). We had an awesome group of five finance professionals that sought to advise and build a financial model for an education non-profit. This project reminded me of what it was like to work with a cool team on a cool project for cool people.
Now that I am out in limbo I have done a little volunteer work for the same education non-profit that we worked with through Taproot and, while it doesn’t give me the “boost” that I expected, it does get me out of the apartment to interact with people in the real world for a good cause. It helps me check a “completed” box at the end of the day that includes an appreciation for my efforts, as opposed to the hated, fruitless tasks related to that which we shall…. not…… name….
It helps that I worked with this organization before in a professional capacity so I am able to use at least a small portion of my professional skills. Still, I think I might try volunteering in something more active or hands on. Perhaps something I’ve never tried before is in order– an animal rescue (though I risk coming home with another pup) or a gardening circle (I haven’t had a farmer’s tan -or any tan!- in years). The verdict is still out on how much volunteer work helps your mindset during the job search, however, I highly recommend Taproot Foundation as a great organization to volunteer with. Another organization I enjoyed being a part of was Streetwise Partners which seeks to help under-resourced adults improve their employ-ability by improving their office/administrative skills, improving their computer skills, providing mentorship and helping them understand that process which shall… not… be… named.
Happy volunteering and Happy hunting.
After ranting about the silent treatment the universe decided to give me a little something back. I had coffee yesterday with a woman I met through the job hunt madness. She has more experience than I but our career aspirations are tangentially related. I have only met up with her once before, about two months ago for lunch, and I liked her energy so I decided to hit her up again to chat. She has recently found a job but she made time for me. And it was so nice to hear her encouragement, her affirmation that the process is hard and tiring, even for someone with as much energy and experience as she has. She offered to put me in touch with a few people that might be useful and I was on my way, standing up a little straighter from her genuinely kind pep talk.
I suppose I should focus on and be thankful for those people who are open and willing to help, even if only on one small step, one connection, one piece of advice. I appreciate those that do put me in touch with their contacts even though my email is out of the blue and I haven’t spoken to them in years. I appreciate those alumni who answer my emails and are willing to chat. Sometimes people are willing to chat whom I just happened to find on Linkedin and I thought they could help me- no connections, no introductions. I appreciate those people who are encouraging of my career transition and give me tangible advice and a bit of encouragement. They tell me what was helpful to them in their job search or transition, they recognize some things they should have done but didn’t do because they understand its hard to do, they acknowledge the difficulties and encourage you to push through because they did it and they hope that I can too. Looking back, when job hunters “networked” me I might have been an average contact at best. It’s hard to know how to help sometimes but even just saying yes to a call and giving fifteen minutes of your time breaks the cold shoulder pattern that makes the job hunting process so difficult.
Ahh, don’t you just love the cold shoulder when you are job hunting? You do your best. You dress up for the nice interview. You do your homework. You are polite, you smile, you do your best to see straight ad sound smart after four hours of interviews. You are actually interested in the damn company. Everyone is nice and cordial. You think you did ok, you put your best foot forward. “We’ll let you know tomorrow.” You write your thank you notes like you’re supposed to. And then….radio silence. You follow up, not even a response to your email. Job hunters out there, it’s the best feeling out there isn’t it??!!!
I wish I could say, “Well if that’s how they treat you, then you don’t want to work there anyhow. Good riddance!”. Well, at this rate, there will be no one else to work for! HAHA…(not really, its not really funny but sometimes you have to pretend to laugh). When I worked on “wall street” it was ok. They have the reputation of skinning people so you can grow it all back much thicker than before. I really don’t know why “the street” gets a bad rap, considering that I have now seen equal rudeness elsewhere. Perhaps it is a function of capitalism. People forget their manners when they are dealing with job hunters. Is it the power play? Does it make them feel better to treat someone else like they don’t matter? Just once, I’d like to walk into an interview and tell the interviewer how much their product sucks and how I’m glad they are getting devoured by their competitors and how I look forward to the further implosion of their stock price. Take that and stuff it where the sun don’t shine!
But that’s not how my momma taught me. And plus, I’d probably end up doing my rude antics to the one person who WOULD in fact answer my email and treat me cordially. There are those nice ones out there, they are few and far between. I hope they are blessed with great employees.
This blog’s purpose is to vent, whine and complain, for me and for you if you want. Most people don’t want to hear it. Many think its unproductive but sometimes you just need to let it out before you move on and take action. If everyone agrees that life isn’t fair then why can’t we complain a bit about this unfairness?
I’ve never written a blog and publishing such whining on the internet is probably not the smartest thing but I need more audiences for my bitching! Ha! So I will shove out into the ether of the internet where it can float around and maybe find some kindred soul out there that knows what I’m talking about.
I’m going through a ‘career transition’. I read all this bull crap about ‘finding your passion’, ‘doing what you love’ blah blah blah. Well, I’m a sucker and I bought into it. In college I did all these things to find something I would like to do. I thought I was pursuing something I was genuinely interested in. I did that for about seven years. It was great for the first two and then it was a slow downhill trajectory to oblivion. After getting the graduate degree I needed, the industry certification most people don’t bother with because its so hard to get; it all ended in a dead end that was completely bland, unfulfilling and semi soul destroying. The paycheck was good, the easiest six figure salary I will ever make. And now you might stop listening because I’m whining about the frosting on the cake. Well, it was the lowest of six figures and, by the way, all these articles you read about passions blah blah blah are promising you everything under the sun, giving you visions of frolicking in a sunny, green field prancing about with deer, rabbits and other benign animals.
What does this have to do with being put in a box. Well, I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit that old, soul destroying job. I had some savings and decided to take the time to clear the confusion and find that PASSION. After much research and the dreaded “networking”, I settled into a path that I thought wasn’t a hard sell. It was tangentially related to my previous job, I would take a lower position to get my foot in the door and a pay cut and everything would be ok because I would frolic with the deer. So I set off to find this dream of dreams and over six months later I find myself here, venting to you, the internet, the ether. I haven’t fit into anybody’s little box. My resume apparently says I’m only good for one thing and so I only fit into one little box, the box I came from. Apparently my experience says I can only jump through purple hoops and therefore I must be incapable of jumping through green hoops, or yellow ones for that matter. “No thank you, you can’t do it, you don’t fit into this little green box. We need the little Tellituby that will fit into this green box and you only fit into purple boxes.”
What to do? When everyone just wants you to fit into the little purple box that you don’t want to be a part of anymore. I WANT TO TRY THE GREEN BOX! Uggghhhhh.