“I’m so much like you.
Restless and reckless,
I need a clue.
So show me a sign.
I feel like making a move,
Real geographic, a change in mood.
We’ll let go of everything we know.
You and I will ride tonight,
‘Till the past is out of sight.
We don’t have to look back now.
From the dark in to the light,
We can leave it all behind.
We can stand together,
We don’t have to look back now-ow-ow.”
~Puddle of Mud (We Don’t Have to Look Back Now)
This morning I attended a state-run training session for the unemployed entitled “Job Search Express”.
I expected an overview of things like where one should look to find a job, how to create an attention-grabbing resume, and tips on cover letters and interviewing. I figured I would know pretty much everything the instructor had to say but perhaps I would get some new inspiration. I was wrong; the whole thing was a joke.
First we wrote our names on cards to set in front of ourselves around a large U-shaped table set-up. Then we went around the room and introduced ourselves and mentioned what we used to do and what we were looking to do. By the time we got around all 30 of us (an hour later), there were lots of little side conversations. The instructor realised he had lost control of the group and had us take a 20 minute break. After our break, there was universal griping about how the unemployment benefits office/system is run, a debate about our “work search logs” and how frequently can you list the same employer on your log, and the handing out of three pages worth of totally useless q & a (eg, “Do I have a right to be angry? How long will I feel like this?). And that was it. We were free to go. What a waste of two hours!
However, I knew two other people in the room. LD and LT were also let go from the same company I was, and we shared hugs and a few grievances and phone numbers. LT’s doing ok; he’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s looking for work and enjoying the extra time with his children. LD’s doing even better; she’s working to start her own business, and has found out tons of information about assistance programs and grants. They are both healthy and happy. It was good to see that and to see them.
I’ve been so lost. I was initially so scared about being unemployed that I tried to jump right in to job searching. I failed to realize that I needed time to grieve and do some soul searching. I’ve done next to nothing in the last two weeks, and being sick isn’t the only excuse. I am a procrastinator; actually that is my “biggest weakness” that interviewers ask about. If I have a mile-long to-do list or a series of deadlines, I get down to business and set the cruise control. If I have little to do, I do little.
Today I received my final check from my old employer. Next week I will receive nothing, and the week after I will begin receiving $344 /wk, before taxes. The deadline is now upon me. I’m wide awake and suddenly focusing clearly.
I am better off than most of the other people sitting in that room this morning. I have an education, and I’m not to proud to take something beneath my skill level, providing – and this is what separates new job from old job – there is room and expectation for advancement.
So what are my job prospects?
1) I’ve been communicating with an individual who works for a government office. This is potentially my long-term dream job. However, this individual is unsure that my skill set suits their available openings and is looking into it. She does expect the office to expand within the next year, creating jobs in subject matter I am educated in. Maybe I can’t work there next week or next month, but this woman is really the first person to take notice of me and seems to think that I might be a match for the organization.
2) The local hospital is advertising two positions that interest me. The first is for a histologist, and the position involves performing chemical experiments on tissues and fluids. Cool. I like chemistry. I do not have the requisite certification, but perhaps there is training available. The other position is in billing and only requires a high school diploma. I’m good with computers, good with numbers, and have a willingness to learn about the medical field. I’m going to the hospital tomorrow morning.
3) A major financial corporation has a call center near here and has advertised two positions online. I applied to one but did not receive a response, which thus far has not been unusual. I’m not going to bother with the online application for the second. Instead, I’m going to go directly to that office and show them that I can be the aggressive sales agent they need.