Friday, July 23, 2010

Who wants to pay for me?

I'm looking for a job.

Like millions of Americans, I'm currently unemployed. When my husband and I made the decision to move back east, we knew we'd be giving up our jobs and the security that goes along with them. I was okay with that for a lot of reasons (see previous posts that I'm sure outline said reasons ad nauseum). But now it's been a month since the Great Job Search began (or what I not-so-lovingly refer to as God It Hurts). And I'm not getting the bites I had anticipated. Hell, I'm not even getting friendly little nibbles.

Maybe I have an overinflated sense of myself and my job skills. That's always possible. And in this market, goodness knows it's super competitive. But I like to think I'm fairly employable. I've got an advanced degree and lots of experience. I'm not too old. I'm fun and smart and gosh darn it, people like me! So what's the deal? Why isn't my cell phone ringing?

The reality is that I haven't exhausted all my resources; instead, I've been mentally exhausting myself. I've been knocking myself out just making mental lists of everything needing to be done and letting my fear get in the way of my future. If that sounds all cliche, it probably is. But it's true. I'm fantastically skilled at talking myself in and out of things, and putting an intense amount of mental and emotional energy into all sorts of things that don't necessarily bode well for me. It's something I need to work on.

This summer hasn't exactly gone how I had planned. Lack of finances, living with my extended family, having the kids around full time, caring for my aging parents has all been more difficult at times than I had anticipated in my rosy dreams. But every time I take my father to another doctor's appointment or one of his ongoing lab tests, or hear of more potential illnesses my mother may have, I know in my soul we made the right choice.

I have always believed that a job doesn't define a person, even though many people choose to let that happen. My job has always been an important part of who I was, or at least I thought so. Now, I'm beginning to ponder the idea that the skills I have developed are who I am, and I take them with me, wherever I go. My abilities to think critically, to analyze information, to relate to many different people with kindness and tact and honesty are who I am. My job is just an outlet that allows those traits to shine. Thinking like this allows me to feel more empowered and to remember that a job, while important, isn't all encompassing. At the end of the day, I'm still myself and everything really important comes home with me.

That being said, I'll be very happy when I find someone who's willing to pay for me....and if they're willing to pay what I think I'm worth, even better.

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