Taking a Small Step

I signed up for a thing!

Being near my alma mater has its advantages, as I have been able to reconnect with many W&M folks. Since the pandemic, a lot of the alumni programs have moved online, including a career development program option.

An email popped into my inbox a couple months ago about this online collaborative career development program. I thought, “Why not?”

Nothing to Lose!

Since I currently have no career to speak of, I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining in on the program.

It has the added benefit of being online, and fitting fairly easily into my “schedule” (meaning, I can do most of it after the kids are in bed).

The Format

For the next four weeks, I’ll be dedicating about five hours a week first to reflection, then definition, testing, and creating an action plan for moving forward in my career.

Each week, you have individual assignments to complete (this week’s include a worksheet to help me identify my strengths, likes and dislikes, and preparing an introduction of myself).

You’re also paired with an accountability partner, and a team. You’re supposed to meet with your partner and your team once a week. Before each meeting, you have some materials to prepare so that you’ll actually have something to talk about.

The program is run by a company called Mission Collaborative. They’re a pretty new start-up, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

There’s a lot of fluffy language on their website, which is worrisome, but that seems to be pretty typical here in the States. Let me tell ya, it wouldn’t fly in Deutschland! “Vat does ‘authentic expression‘ mean? Am I not expressing myself clearly??”

What I hope to get out of it

If I can get even one or two good ideas for different possible career paths, then I’ll be pleased with the result.

I’ll be curious to see if any specific and actionable points come out of a program like this, or if it turns out to be a glorified personality test.

I’ve done one of those in-depth, all-day workshop personality tests, and I found that while it was fun (who doesn’t like hearing about themselves??), it didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know.

That’s what I’m hoping for, really.

To learn something I don’t already know.

fake-productivity

Fooling Myself into Feeling Productive

It’s so easy to feel like you’ve had a productive day!

Here’s the secret:

Start the day by cycling your kids to school.

Voilà! The rest of the day can be entirely misspent, but YOU CYCLED TO SCHOOL THIS MORNING!

So clearly I’m not an unproductive lump!

These October mornings are perfect for a bike ride with the kids. It’s not so cold that your fingers freeze to the handle bars, and not so hot that you arrive a sweaty mess.

Each time we cycle to school, our Bug does better. He’s still practicing starting on his own (it’s tricky to get one foot on a pedal and push off with the other!), but with each ride he gains confidence.

It’s a great way to kick-start the morning.

It is, however, no guarantee that the rest of the day will be as productive.

Avoidance

Sadly, cycling to school is simply a way for me to mask the feeling (really, the knowledge) that I’m avoiding something.

What am I avoiding?

Well, job applications. The knowledge that I am not putting as much time and energy into my job hunt as I know I should.

So instead, I thrive on fake productivity.

Fake Productivity

It’s not like these things don’t need doing: laundry, cleaning, cooking… They’re essential to smooth running of family life.

But they’re not what I really need to be focusing on right now.

And I know it. My Chico knows it. And now all of you know it.

How Can I Make it Better?

Try again tomorrow.

And if that fails, try again the next day. And the next. And the next…

Until I find a job.

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Can Anybody Hear Me?

Is it just me?

Or is applying for jobs a bit like trying to be heard above a loud, noisy crowd?

I guess that’s exactly what it is. I’m trying to make my resume stand out over hundreds of others. All those others are probably stronger than mine in many ways, and weaker in others.

But how am I to know that?

Have I gotten a response to any of my job applications? So far, just one.

Admittedly, it was a good response. I got an interview. Didn’t get the job, but hey, it’s a start.

While I know that I’m trying to be heard over hundreds of others, sometimes it feels much lonelier than that.

It feels like I’m standing in a huge, towering, dark and empty stadium. My little voice echoes and is then swallowed by the enormity of the space.

When you send an application off to an anonymous careers platform, it feels like you’re standing on that enormous stage and throwing pathetic little paper airplanes out into the empty audience.

One after another, after another, after another, after another…

One a day, every day.

Back to work!