image by runningkate

I’ve lost things lately:

  • my favorite plastic sports bottle, a souvenir of my snow camping experience
  • my sterling silver hoop earrings
  • my mind

Also, I’ve lacked focus:

  • Literally. I need bifocals. I’m pretending I don’t. The faking it isn’t working anymore and it’s making me look feeble. I hope that explains all the typos in my comments around the blogosphere. I hope that explains all the pasta on the tablecloth at lunch the other day.
  • I’m job hunting outside my field of work. Where to direct the confused self when the forest trails are marked either Overqualified or Underqualified? Some days I’m resigned to signing on with Merry Maids or dressing in red and khaki and enlisting in the Target army. Other days I feel a strong desire to go to grad school and follow dreams. Some days I just shop for a roomy refrigerator box to call home.

Job hunting sucks. I’ve had it too easy all my life. I’ve almost always slipped seamlessly from one position to the next. Even during the rare times when I had a gap in my work history, I filled it with temp work.

Now I’m a woman who is halfway to 90 (as one of my drama queen contemporaries likes to say) and almost three years gone from the workplace. My line of work is no longer an option. I have a young child and outside help one day a week. This job search is like riding a bike up a mountain with one leg.

As Dr. Phil would ask: How’s that working for you?

Not so well, Phil. It’s hard to keep the momentum when you have six days between efforts.Until I find work, I can only use FREE babysitters. So far, I’ve found one who’s willing to give one day a week. I’m grateful for the day but one day does not a job search make.

I live in the state with the highest unemployment in the nation. I’m trying not to let that get me discouraged. Much.

I remain hopeful. I joined a babysitting co-op. My little one starts part-time preschool next week. Something has to give.

Job hunting in 2009 is not the same as it was in the late ’80s and early 1990s. Then, it involved typewriters and telephones. It involved pieces of paper, bulletin boards, classified advertising sections of the newspaper and talking to friends and family.

No one I know seems to have any clear answer for today’s big hunt. Get a Web site, they say. So I did. Create your own personal brand, carve out your niche, they recommend.  Still working on that one. Get on social media and work that bitch daily. I do. Although sometimes it feels as empty, cold and meaningless as, well, working some bitch. Networking? I’ve got a steep learning curve on that one. Remember, I worked as a copy editor for the last decade.

Don’t even get me started on the frustration of online application processes. Do you know what happens when you spend 45 minutes completing an online application for a specific position and then the free Wi-Fi zone drops your Internet connection?

For the first time in my adult life, I’m not sure what my role is in the world. It isn’t enough for our bottom line for me to be a mother and caretaker of the family and home. It won’t be enough for my children if I’m gone all day and tired and stressed when I get home. I’m not sure I can return to the workaholic career treadmill I ran on for almost two decades.

Does society smile upon the mother who cares for her children at home? What about the mother who decided to put her family first for a while and now seeks work? Is she given the same chance as the mother who put her career first but lost her job for economic reasons?  The workplace seems to frown upon the mother who chooses her family over her career. Society also frowns upon the mother who does not take care of her children.

There are no easy answers to any of this. One day a week I try to figure it out.

This I call frustration.

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6 thoughts on “Frustration

  1. I am hearing you! And I am all too familiar with that overqualified/underqualified BS. That sucks big time. Ugh!

    But just keep swimming baby, you’ll get to the lovely white-sand shore in no time.

    Hugs to you.xxxx

  2. i understand the frustration. i’m lucky in that i can work for my dad. and my husband has job security in his profession as an educator…for now. it’s so hard, these times. but something will give. it has to. it will.

  3. I’m so sorry! I really wish I could help you out. If I weren’t heading back to work, I’d take your precious one off your hands occasionally so you can focus! Maybe on some weekend days? Let’s see what we can do…

  4. Oh, boy. You have every right to feel frustrated. I’m going through a similarly disheartening job search, but I don’t have kids, and so at least have more flexibility and freedom. It’s still hard. And, like you, I used to have it so easy. If I wanted a new client, I just sent out a resume, and bam. New client.

    I wish you luck. Sincerely.

  5. I understand the frustration completely! About a year ago I re-entered the workforce. Being middle-age with no recent work history other than stay at home parent, living in a fairly rural Oregon county, I quickly realized that good pay and a rewarding job would not be an option. So after several interviews where I was told I was overqualified, and another job that moved to Southern California right after the hiring process, I found a low paying manual labor job. I work outside all day no matter how hot or cold and wet it is. A year later and I am still in the job with no better options. The sad thing is that I know I am lucky to have found the job I have as for many people this past year finding any job at all has been impossible.

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