Saturday 9 March 2013

This Job Search Feels More Like a Quest

            There are times when you get discouraged. Times when things just aren't going the way you want them to. Maybe your plans to eat healthy aren't going so well. Maybe you're not hitting the gym as much as you would like. Maybe your whole life plan seems to be stuck. That's where I'm at. I quit my part-time job (where I worked shift-work and crazy, full-time hours) to move 1000 miles away to search for a job in a bigger centre. I'll accept pats-on-the-back for this ballsy move, but in my mind, this ballsy move would be rewarded in short time with a job offer.
            No such luck.
            People tell me that three months isn't a long time to be searching for a job and I suppose it isn't. Three months is a long time to go without money coming in. Three months feels like an eternity when you're used to working crazy hours and always having things to fill your time. Three months feels longer than an eternity when you're staying with your wonderful, loving family while you search for a job. These extra challenges to the job search are things you might expect, but I didn't count on how much they would contribute to that desperation and increase the pressure to find a job- any job.
            Sure, I wasn't raking in the big bucks at my last job. I had enough to pay my bills, buy groceries, and occasionally treat myself to a sushi date with a friend or a trip to the local pawnshop to get some four-for-ten-dollars used DVDs. I was doing just fine. I didn't have a car. I was renting a tiny apartment. I had what I needed for the basics and a teensy bit extra. I'm missing that right now. Three months with no income means no sushi dates. It means no new shirt for a job interview. Severely limited visits to the used bookstore to stock up on some non-fiction with which to educate myself (I love those Isaac Asimov books where he explains complex scientific concepts using great examples and clear language!). It also means that my meagre savings are being used up pretty quickly to help buy groceries, pay for my toiletries, buy bus tickets, and get new glasses (those suckers nearly drained me, but glasses aren't exactly something you can go without!). I'm not one of those people who enjoys being taken care of by others, so not being able to contribute financially the way I would like to is extremely difficult to deal with. I try to compensate by doing everything I can in the home: planning and cooking all the meals, doing all the laundry, and keeping the house clean. It helps a little- at least I feel a little less useless. It also helps kill the time that I'm not searching for a job or watching episodes of "Doctor Who" and wondering when The Doctor will come and take me away for an adventure.
            And there is a lot of time. I understand exactly how retirement can kill a person. I went from working 40-60 hour work weeks, going to school full-time, and having a decent social life to job searches and daytime television in my pajamas. There is a good chunk of time I spend every day searching the regular job websites, writing cover letters, filling out applications, and emailing resumes, but it's not an eight hour affair. I watch way too much Food Network which means I've done way too much baking. I search for new recipes and plan new meals to try out (I made my first mushroom risotto last week and it was amazing!). Home manicures and pedicures happen weekly. I started one of those memory boxes that you keep little slips of paper in and write down good things that happen all year before reading them all on New Years' Eve (the box is pretty empty right now, I've got to tell you). So I've learned something very important. I don't think I'm looking forward to retirement as much as I previously thought. I mean, if I'm independently wealthy and can spend my time in the Caribbean on a beach making people uncomfortable because I'm the 65-year-old lady sunbathing topless that would be great. If my retirement life involves knitting, baking cookies, and waiting for my grandchildren to visit I think I'd rather stay working as long as I can. I need something to fill my time other than family time.

 My Dutch apple crumb pie, another product of my spare time

            I'm getting plenty of quality family time right now since I'm staying with my mom. I need to stress the point that I am STAYING with my mom. I don't want to be the person who moved home- and I'm not. It may seem like a tenuous distinction, but it isn't. I have an amazing family: my brother, living far away, calls all the time and is so helpful with job application stuff since he's a professional type. My mom is so supportive and I know she loves having me around to cook and help her out with things. My extended family is always calling with suggestions for new fields to look at or organizations to contact. It's tough going from living on my own, alone, and suddenly having my mom as a roommate. We have all the usual roommate-type squabbles, only with a twist. We have different taste in many TV shows. We sort laundry differently. I use too many dishes making delicious meals and she occasionally comments on this when she does the dishes. But we also have some great laughs. We watch Friday Bride-Day on TLC (yes, we love "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Something Borrowed, Something New!"). She has even come to love my cat and she has never been a cat person. The cat and I are both looking forward to having our own space soon, though.
            I know I will find a job, but patience is difficult to hold onto sometimes. That desperation sets in. The little voice in your head tells you, "Just take anything!" and you apply for any job. You get depressed when Wendy's doesn't call you back for an interview (I'd make a mean Baconator and you all know it!). I'm there. I'm at that point. I'm so ready for income, responsibilities, and personal space. I want it tomorrow. I keep reminding myself that there is a difference between taking your time to find the right job and passing over jobs. I've turned down one job offer since I've been here because it wasn't right for me. Taking any job isn't a solution to all of this. It has to be the right job. I hope the next offer that comes in is the reward for that ballsy first move I made when I moved back here. I'm ready to finish this quest and begin a new one.

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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