Posts Tagged 'Hope'

Job Search Express

“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.

Just Hang On

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you’ll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something’s coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you”

~Pink Martini (Hang on Little Tomato)

What a way to start the new year.

First of all, I’m sick. Boyfriend had a nasty cold/flu thing just before Christmas, which got him out of having to meet my family. I wished really really hard that I would get it too, and miss the whole holiday crap myself, but it came too late.  Ugh. And I’m supposed to work tomorrow, to do some really nasty work that nobody else wants to be around during the normal workday.

Second, the heat and hot water are out in my apartment. Again. What terrible timing! I’m always the one who ends up calling the landlord when somethings wrong with the building, so I always feel like a whiny brat. There are at least six other tenants, and the guy who runs a business on the street level. Why can’ t one of them call for once? But I’m the sicky one, so I’m sure it will be me again. What can I say? My tolerance level for this crap happens to be kinda low at the moment.

Third, Did I mention I have to work tomorrow? With dangerous chemicals. They’re so bad, in fact, that I’ll be earning my hazard pay, which is part of the reason I agreed to do this in the first place. I’ll be wearing a respirator, and I’ll be sure to change the chemical cartridges a couple times during the day, but it is really really hard to blow your nose with a respirator on. I’ll have to go outside every ten minutes! Boyfriend, and perhaps you all agree with him, thinks I’m nuts, but there is a reason behind this. By working Sunday, when nothing is open anyway, I can take a weekday off and get things done.

Fourth, my to-do list is a mile long. And being sick has slowed my productivity rate significantly. There are things I want to do. Please note, these are not New Year’s Resolutions. I firmly believe that if we want to make changes in our lives, the best time to start is immediately, not at some fixed, yet mostly meaningless point in time. There are time sensitive items on this list, so I guess they are the priority. No, blogging is not one of them. Yes, I am wasting precious time and energy.

Fifth, one of the items on my to-do list. My license expires in May. Not my car drivers license, that other drivers license. I’ve been real reluctant to do anything about it. There are a number of steps, some of which cost money, others that just cause hassles, and some that cause both. I haven’t been through this process before, so I don’t really know what to expect. Most of my friends can’t help, because they got theirs after me. My former employers have been through it several times each, but getting advice from them is like pulling teeth. I feel all alone in this. And I’m not entirely committed to renewing; I’m not sure there is a point. I’ve never really used the darn thing, and I hope my life path leads me farther away from ever needing it. But the economy is crap, so who knows where I’ll be next month or next year?

Sixth, and I like to think of this last one as the bright spot right now, I am revamping my job search efforts. No, I have not been laid off, but I can’t handle the stress of constantly believing that any week could be my last. Despite assurances from the company that I have nothing to worry about, I can’t help freaking out. I cannot live like this. So I’m actively looking for a Plan B, which depending on what I find, could potentially become Plan A. I’m back to using USAJOBS, a site that has caused me much difficulties and no luck in the past, but I’m looking at a different department. I’m currently looking for a job in a national park, preferably one in the Rockies, the West, or Alaska. Many of these job opportunities are temporary appointments, which would give me the chance to get out of here for a while and see something new. What happens after the temporary time is up (probably September)? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps current job will still exist, particularly if people do get laid off for the summer and we have some work again next winter. Perhaps the current state government hiring freeze will no longer be in effect, and I could use my experience in a national park as a bridge to say, the Department of Conservation. Perhaps I don’t return here.

I do have other bright spots in my life. My new yoga class starts on Monday, and after the holiday break, I feel like I sure do need it! My saxophone is currently in the repair shop, but I will have it back this week, and the repair guy is going to help me find a new mouthpiece, which will hopefully help to correct some of my tone issues. And then the first rehearsal for my new band is next weekend! I’m also thinking of doing some volunteering at the local hospital. In high school, I was a volunteer in the O.R., and I think it is a great way to branch out of my little rut, meet new people, and gain new experiences.

What Happened to You? What Will Happen to Me?

Perfumed and smoky,
She swears that she knows me,
She’s falling down drunk again,
I say she’s mistaken.
She’s visibly shaken,
Emotions all drowned in gin,
She said I used to be beautiful,
But now it’s all gone,
I let my dreams slip away from me,
That’s where it went wrong.

Go be young,
Go be free,
Follow your heart where it leads you.
Don’t end up like me.

~Edwin McCain (Go Be Young)

Hello, Old Friend. I’ve missed you. I haven’t heard a word from you since you went away, just rumors from people you must care about more than me. And now you’ve come back here? Why? Dear Friend, what went wrong?

I see so much of myself in you. Slightly older, you’ve always been one step ahead of me in life. I was following in your footsteps years before we even met. Did you know that I remember, as clearly as if it was yesterday, the day we met? I’ve loved our conversations that could run all night long, simply because we talk about anything and everything and never tire of each other’s stories. I’ve hated that you are flaky and unreliable. I’ve had many laughs with you; I’ve had many tears because of you. Again and again, I’ve promised myself to forget about you. But you are a drug, and I, an addict. When will I learn? You are not so special.

Dear Friend, ou’ve gone away before. This time, things were supposed to be different. You had a plan. You had a future. You were going to grow up. You were going to leave this dead end place and the only “careers” we’ve ever known. Forever. I let you go. I had to. I was happy for you. You gave me hope. You gave me something to believe in. You were going to make it, and someday I would too.

Why are you back here? What went wrong? Why did you give up? I don’t understand. And you’re engaged? What the hell?

You were supposed to make it. I was supposed to follow in your footsteps. Seeing you here is one of the saddest times of my life. What does this mean for me? Do I too have no future better than this one-horse town?

Perhaps we are more different than I think. Perhaps you have only returned to tell me to lead my own life. Perhaps I’m flying this plane now. But I’m sorry, Old Friend; I will be leaving your dead weight behind. I won’t let my dreams slip away from me. I will be young. I will be free. I will follow my heart where it leads me. I won’t end up like you.