this week marks six months that i’ve been without a job. six months ago, we left tucson with all kinds of emotions – unabashedly excited, nervous, and a little sad – but most of all, hopeful. even though i was scared out of my mind that i’d have to find another new job after less than a year in last one, i was hopeful that i would find something.
fast forward six months to right now, and obviously, i haven’t. many of you who know me closely know some of the ins and outs of what has transpired in this time, but suffice it to say that i’ve watched several dream jobs slip away for a variety of reasons. first, i shook it off. it’s still early, i told myself, we just got here and it’s nice to have some time off while i can. i threw myself into volunteering this summer initially to pass the time, but ended up getting to know some incredibly dedicated, warm-hearted people who encouraged me to keep pressing on. one of them even gave me a rosary handmade by her sister on the first day she met me.
i started to get antsy near the end of the summer. it meant kevin would be working more hours, and i’d be alone more often, and it just felt like it was time to make something happen. i tried to put my pride and entitlement on the shelf while i applied for jobs i was just as qualified for before three degrees. i blamed it on the economy that there aren’t a lot of public health dollars right now, and i blamed it on the midwest that public health and nutrition aren’t exactly priorities here yet.
i’ve applied for countless positions this fall, and haven’t had a callback or interview of any kind since september. i check at least 10 websites every day and am constantly applying for new positions. i’ve changed my resume and cover letter more times that i can remember. and nothing.
and then came the blue period. it was always there – i was sad from the very moment that i got rejected from the first job i interviewed for after we moved here – but it was always in the background. until these last couple of months, when i started worrying about getting questioned in future interviews about such a large employment gap; when i started wondering why it seemed like everyone else in my graduate class had good jobs in the fields they wanted; when i started feeling like the last six years i spent in school and an unmentionable amount of loans were completely useless; when i started thinking it was all my fault.
and part of it was, or is. i’m not a confident interviewer. even though i know in my heart i want to work in nutrition + food security, my resume doesn’t showcase that. i’m introverted by nature, so i don’t put myself out there in networking situations as much as i should. i don’t always believe in me.
but enough of all that. i could spend a lifetime feeling sorry for myself, but i’m making a conscious effort not to, and instead to focus on all the good things this time has brought me.
i’m thankful that i had time this summer to adapt to all of the new things around me, to living in a residence hall. i know i need more time than most people to adjust to changes and settle in, and i’m so grateful that i could process all of this without worrying about a new job, too. thankful for all the things i’ve been able to pursue and learn during this time…i have loved spending more time working towards growing our blog, learning a little bit about graphic and web design, practicing food photography, brainstorming business ideas, and even taking time to make our teeny little apartment our own. i know being able to have time for hobbies like these is an incredible luxury.
thankful for a situation where i don’t have to work. even though sometimes it feels like i’d do absolutely anything to get out of the house, i’m happy that i haven’t had to make any compromises and take a job i don’t want or feel passionate about. even though he drives me crazy most of the time, i’m thankful for a husband who has never, ever pushed me to be working, and who still provides me with an amazing quality of life and supports all of my little hobbies and business plans even though most of them have fallen through.
i know that i’m lucky. i know that there are plenty of people who have it much harder than me, including a family member who worked for hostess, not to mention the other millions of unemployed americans who don’t even have one income to work with, and who have kids to provide for. i don’t pretend to understand what that’s like. even though these past months have brought on some of the lowest lows of my life, i do trust that eventually, things will work out the way they’re supposed to, and right now i have no idea what that is.
so these next six weeks, i’m taking a little break. i’m not giving up, but i know that there won’t be a lot of jobs posted in this time, so it seems like a good time. this time is for family – i’m looking forward to time with k’s family this week for thanksgiving, and to being with my own family for christmas, and for ashly’s visit over new year’s. this time is for me and k – to enjoy each other and and not fight or worry about the future. but also to get serious. i have a million ideas that i’ve been sitting on and it’s time to make something happen. i’ve been talking about starting a meal planning / nutrition consulting business forever, but i worry too much about the logistics of it that i end up doing nothing. i’d love to for k and i to take photos for more families, but we haven’t done any marketing. i’d love for our blog to get bigger and to maybe add sponsors or adds, but i haven’t gone through the steps to make that happen.
i took a design class a couple of months ago, just for fun, and loved it. i have absolutely never considered myself a creative person, but i got great feedback from the instructor on my work, and was inspired to create a set of art prints that we’re going to put up on an etsy shop by next week (once all of our packaging supplies arrive!) i’m excited to finally be putting something in motion that makes me feel worthwhile again, that makes me feel like i’m contributing. i have no idea if we’ll even have any sales, but i’m looking forward to seeing where it takes us and what other ideas will spawn off of this and what that will ultimately lead to. who knows?
“and out of hope, progress.” -bruce barton
(bless you if you made it through all of this).