Looking for the Next Big Thing: Willing to Learn!

I have often heard that one should not post anything in public about one’s (un)employment status. I can think of worse things to post! Those of you who listen in regularly by means other than this blog will already know that I am one of those Americans who has almost stopped looking for the next big thing, i.e. a job. I have turned every stone twice and am now digging holes under those stones.

582134_10150940952183167_412493146_n

This job hunt has been like no other in my life. Fortunately, I haven’t had to go through this soul-crushing process many times in my life. During the past year I have met some interesting and talented folks as well as… some others. I have contacted hundreds (literally) of companies and individuals. I can hear you wondering why I am not gainfully or otherwise employed by now. Well, here is one of the things I have learned: if I believed even half of the reasons that are implied (none are ever given, of course), then I would think myself completely worthless. Instead I cling to the belief that I just didn’t do a good job of “selling myself” to the potential employer.

Someone who does the things that I do can simultaneously have too much and not enough experience. One can also be too young or too old, all the while knowing all the right or wrong people.  Picking up new skills and meeting new people are things that I generally enjoy. As a bonus, I clean up pretty well! Otherwise, I have found that no matter how specific the job notice, the very factors that we do not ask or tell about are the ones that usually get one hired. In fact, they have worked for me in the past. They have also worked against me.

I will also need my cowboy boots.

I will also need my cowboy boots.

I have also learned that it can be quite difficult to get past the HR departments of many places, but that HR departments will call me and begin to interview me before even telling me the name of their company. I recently overhauled my cv so that now I have both a resume and a cv. I posted both on two well-known sites that I have avoided in the past because they typically do not have the kinds of jobs that interest me. I clearly hit the search word bonus because now my cell phone rings way too much, and these callers do not leave messages. They call, and call, and call- no matter how many times I block their numbers.  Never mind the fact that I clearly indicated that email is my preferred means of contact. These companies hire people to do searches and then call the people whose resumes match the search. For some reason, my name is a big hit in the benefits management and HR departments of the world right now. Why? I have no idea. When I ask these people what made them call me, they all say that they don’t have my resume in front of them! One poor person admitted flat out that she had no idea- her boss just gave her a list and told her to call everyone on it. They promise to send me information, but so far, none have.

Try calling an HR department and asking then where to send your resume. Nope. No way. Not happening. They don’t do that. There are some exceptions to this statement, but just posting a random resume with those exceptions has not been very productive either.

1010412_10152006662453167_1250737311_n

I have also had a few offers. Sadly, they all fell through due to lack of funding, political unrest, or pay so low that I can’t afford to take the job because it would be a waste of my time. For example, I can’t afford to take an adjunct teaching job that pays $1500 for one semester (16 weeks, 3 classroom hours/week, 3 hours (minimum) office hours, grading/prep/etc- you do the math!).  Ironically, most of the jobs that fail to materialize due to the first two factors would actually provide some relief to the very problems. All three of these circumstances can arise in combinations too. No matter how many times I reinvent myself there is little that I can do to change those factors. Round and round we go.

65200_10151579187048167_1169810934_n
Happy face? Well, like I said, I do clean up well. I’m normally pretty “upbeat” to the great irritation of my “cooler” friends. I’m also pretty thick-skinned and, well… direct. Yeah, direct. The most painful lesson of this stretch of being between gigs has been that I should not even be between gigs as evidenced by the strained, embarrassed expressions on some faces when I decline an invitation or don’t make an expected donation because I can’t afford it. It’s worth noting here that directness notwithstanding, I don’t just drop that buzz killer straight into the conversation. Someone usually asks “why?” and then  insists, ignoring my polite but vague refusal. Nothing brings out the lightweights like someone they know having a rough spell. The lightweights flee the crime scene in order to avoid the taint of failure.

1288805110026_107242
Paradoxically, the light weights are also the first ones to judge me for being… you know… unemployed. I don’t have a writing career, but I do enjoy writing. Somehow I have let the current situation- unemployment! say it with me!- make me feel like I can’t afford (in any sense of the word) to do anything I like because I should be spending all of my waking hours trying to find a job.  One of the lessons that I have learned during the last year is false. Can you guess which one?

Busy! Busy! Busy!

“How busy?” you ask. Well, I am so busy that I can’t possibly find the time to do something like keep a blog. NOT! Actually the preceding exchange was constructed to illustrate the paradox that is my life right now. I do not have an income-producing job; however, I am quite busy. I am so unaccustomed to being in (almost) complete control of my time that my brain simply can’t accept it. Even writing it doesn’t make it any more real. Certain family members, however, are convinced that am decidedly not busy and should be on some sort of grand tour of relatives (see #1 below).

The compulsion to be productive has taken over my life! It has displaced the desire to be in control of my own time, so much so that I have settled into a daily routine. I get quite irritated if anyone or anything upsets it. I think I am in control, but I am being very productive for most of the day. I am my own intern. This isn’t quite a case of “be careful what you ask for” because what I want is to be financially independent and in control of my own time. Hey! A person can dream.

So, what do I do with all this time?

1.) I look for a job that will take up a lot of my time, but bring me an income so that I can cram everything else I like to do into what time remains. I have lost count of how many versions of my c.v. are in my computer c.v. folder. If I am not job hunting, I feel guilty. Some day I will write more about the Southern version(s) of guilt.

Nope. No jobs here.

2.) Those of you who are devoted listeners to my noise (out of guilt or other reasons) know a bit about my horses. To their dismay, the training has been turned up a few notches. My Spanish horse still hates my Quarter Horse, but we are working on it. That’s all I can say about that. You’re going to have to trust me here: if you click on the IMG 1732 below, you can see 22 seconds of a warm up session.

IMG_1732

If the video doesn’t work, here is a picture of El Bastardo, the Spanish Snob, hard at work with Gris Gris in what used to be our pond.

You come get me!

3.) And of course Gris Gris gets his own picture because he has, I think, reached the maintenance stage of our rehab plan. He must be lunged a few times a week just to burn calories. His feelings get hurt when I take “the other guy” out instead of him! We had our first trail ride recently. It was really just a few miles through the fields. All went well!

It doesn’t get much better!

4.) I’ve been cooking a lot. I’ve always done that, so maybe we don’t need pictures or details here. The next big thing will be a birthday cake for a friend. Her only request- something with white chocolate and raspberries. I can work with that!!

5.) Studying Turkish. Yes, Turkish. If I remember correctly, Benim hoverkraft yılan dolu means: My hovercraft is full of eels. I don’t know which I find more amusing; the fact that I know this or the fact that someone thinks I need to know this. On the other hand, some of you have seen my posts on baklava. Next time you hover out my way…

6.) Reading. Everything.

7.) And finally, I have NOT been doing housework. But then I never did. Housework makes me a mess. I have been entertaining quite a lot. That’s my excuse to clean up. It has always been acceptable to those who show up.

I have no immediate plans for the future except to not feel guilty about not having plans and continue with 1-7 as listed above. Too bad horses have to eat, or I would delete #1.