Posts Tagged ‘Going Back to Work’

Okay, so I wrote this post on my job huntin’ site. It’s about the stuff I’ve learned by living amongst stay-at-home moms rather than through analyzing them in research reports, a task that was ironically, a big part of my former job.

The post idea was spurred by all this reflecting on what-in-the-heck has happened to me over the last 10 years. I swear, I used to feel so foreign in my suburban surroundings. I didn’t know how to be a mom, give my days structure, make friends, cook, or have a hobby. Nothing felt right or familiar or as I expected.

Now ten years later, I’ve gotten used to being at home. I’ve ushered my kids off to school successfully (enough), made great friends, cultivated some interests and adjusted to the pace. Dare I say, I enjoy it.

I remember how I used to love going to work, carrying my latte and tote bag. I loved the big windows in my office and the cold bottles of Evian in the conference room down the hall. I felt at-home in a black suit. I thought nothing of giving a presentation. I could draft a Powerpoint “deck” in a single afternoon. I had business cards, a title and an assistant.

Now I sit in reception areas waiting for interviews, and I feel completely ridiculous. I don’t like the smell of offices. The fake, piped-in air seems toxic. I see stress on faces that race past the waiting room, and my stomach hurts. I’m tortured with my inability (or desire) to button-up myself up into a business persona. I’ve spent the last ten years speaking frankly and cracking self-effacing jokes. I’ve forgotten how to wear a poker face or use terms like “circle the wagons” without laughing.

So I ring my hands and force myself to keep trying. Maybe this adjustment can be different. Maybe it will take less than ten years, two nervous breakdowns and 92 desperate blog posts.

Yeah, so…got any advice for me? Anyone? Bueller?


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‘Appy new year!

Hope your fresh start is brimming in optimism. Mine, as of day 4, has been good-ish. I’m putting serious effort into finding a job to fill my days and weary bank account. For ten years I’ve been swimming upstream in suburban utopia, and it’s time to get out and dry off (ew, bad metaphor and two clichés to boot — wait, three…). 

The first prong of my get-a-job strategy involves hunkering down in coffee shops all across town, sopping up free Wi-Fi while abstaining from mega cookies and buttery scones. I try not to peek at other laptop screens and/or eavesdrop, but the temptation — oooh, I tell you, it’s not easy. I think the lady to my right has a cool job. She’s drapped in a plum-colored scarf, hunched over her Mac and doesn’t appear to checking Facebook — a coffee-shop anomaly. Another guy in a too-big coat keeps making business calls to people I can tell don’t want to talk to him. He’s using an amped-up, folksy voice to coax them into thinking business with him is so fun.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, my second prong to the search involves soliciting friends and unfortunate blog readers (Mom, are you there?) for help. I’m conducting a little “grandma research” experiment as part of a potential job idea, which I won’t explain now because, well, you guys are busy, right?

Normally, being a purist, I eschew using a personal blog for anything impersonal. But 2011 is a new year, and I need to get something done. 

So I’m hosting a mini-writing contest. Yep.

My contest is this: win a free ten-dollar gift card to Starbucks (I know, not a windfall, but still: free!)  in exchange for a dazzling comment to the following prompt:

Tell me how you feel about Starbucks and why.

In ten days, I’ll randomly select a “winner.”

That’s right: ten days, ten dollahs. Exciting, no?

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connecticut 138
Chapter Two has started out less efficiently than I expected. It’s been 3 weeks and I don’t have a job, my closets are a mess and my triceps are still drapey sacks of useless flesh. But I’ve been having fun going out for lunch, drinking coffee, browsing at the bookstore, and playing a lot of bridge. Yes, bridge. I know, right? I’ll cover bridge another time — I’ll need time to cover it.

Anyhoo, while I’ve been messing around living a temporary (and financially deprived) life of suburban leisure, I haven’t stopped thinking about what I need to do next. Do I make money with a marketing job and start repaying the enormous debt caused by my time “off-ramp,” or do I get honest and pursue what I’ve secretly always wanted to do? Do I try and write?

I’ve been through the whole “do what you love, love what you do” argument. I’ve considered the now-or-never timing ever since my age rudely shoved me into the middle (God willing) of my life. I’ve analyzed the lifestyle issues:self-discipline, time management, low pay, even the loneliness. I’m pretty good with most of it.

What I’m not good with is the emotional part. You don’t have to read very deep in this blog to grasp my desperate need for approval. I can make myself sick waiting for a little validation or encouragement. The first hour after I hit “publish” is dicey. I’ve gone back and hit “delete post” on at least three separate occassions.

It’s not that I need ego stoking, well okay, it is — but not because my ego is so big it needs to be fed. Rather, it’s because my ego is such a pussy. Someone could walk by and take it out with just a funny look.

I’ve loved to write since I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was young, and we moved around a lot. Stories kept me company. I’ve written in a journal since I was nine. Anyone who writes knows what this is like: I have to write. It keeps me quiet, grounded and fortified.

Recently I’ve been reading what other writers have written about writing. The one thing each one (Stephen King, Sol Stein, Anne Lammot, Betsy Lerner, my Uncle Fred) has said is that a writer has to be brave. She needs to write honestly. She can’t be afraid of what others say. This is the only way to possibly be good.

See the problem here? I want approval, but the only way for me to get approval is to not want approval. This is the point when I moan, define myself as woe and seek refuge in my anonymous blog.

But the blog is not as safe anymore because in deciding to test my bravery, I outed myself. I gave this URL to someone in Jcrewville I know who is ridiculously well-read and masterfully critical. She is intelligent and knows everyone, I mean EVERYone, in town. This could give her power over my sorry, little, writer-wannabe soul. But I am brave (while furiously checking stats).

It’s been three days and I’ve gotten nothing. I figure either a) she already found out about the blog and read it a while ago, or b) is not interested, or c) both. So this is the point when I say: so what. So whaaaaat! And I hit “publish” and leave the house for a pumpkin latte because whether I suck or not, I want to write –and my triceps will always be drapey sacks of useless flesh.

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