Day 9 – Tuesday: Yikes!

So much for the sense of grace floating me on a cushion of gentleness. Today I met with my employment specialist at JVS. She gave me some forms to start on while she checked her parking meter. As soon as I encountered questions like “Can you give 20 hours a week to your job search?” and “Do you have a stable place to live while you look for work?” I started feeling overwhelmed and disconcertingly close to falling apart. Thankfully, I had distracted myself by the time she came in and she did not actually go through all those (for me) deeply personal questions with unsettling answers.

Instead our conversation centered around what kind of work I want to do and where I might like to do it. This all sounds so simple, but it doesn’t feel at all simple for me right now. It feels distressing and confusing and dreadfully insecure when so much of my life feels up in the air.

Because I need income, I feel I must look for a “survival job” to pay the bills and regain my footing, but I dislike the implications of the term “survival job.” The truth is, I want to work some place – or places – where I enjoy working and want to continue working. I think I may be what some call a “nester” – I want to be able to settle in and enjoy being in one place for a long while. I like the stability; I like the familiarity; I like the opportunity to become better and more efficient at what I’m doing; and I like having a consistent rhythm to my days and weeks. The idea of looking for work that is far more “permanent” than the place I’m staying feels very disconcerting indeed.

My employment specialist encouraged me to start networking, researching some places I might like to work, setting up times to talk to people, considering volunteering, and generally putting myself out there. I could feel my body cringing at the thought. My “ohshitometer” was hitting near the red zone. (That’s pronounced “oh-shi-TAW-mi-tur,” btw.) I kept thinking of all the reasons I had other, more important things to do. You know, like sorting the papers on my desk, or reading about the things I should be doing, or sorting papers, or reading how to use WordPress, or… Well, I know I had some really “good reasons” to do anything but moving toward the many suggestions she gave me. (Lack of convenient online computer access is my current favorite.) She even recommended Toastmasters! That is totally too scary to contemplate just yet.

Still, I’ve finally officially connected with an employment specialist and now have someone who is specifically there to encourage me, send me job possibilities now and then, and generally provide some accountability for my efforts in connecting with job possibilities.

Yesterday’s Linked-In class was very helpful, yet even that kind of connecting feels scary. For reasons that baffle me when I stop to think about them, I tend to presume that everything needs to be done just so or there will be either disaster or acute embarrassment. Of course, neither of these things happens but rarely, but try telling me that when I have that bunny-in-the-headlights expression on my face and the corresponding feelings in my head!

However, to be honest, this day was actually surprisingly graceful despite the scary steps (or should I say, talking about the scary steps). Without planning to, I let things unfold this morning, rather than trying to fit everything I usually do into the time between waking up (or thinking about waking up) and getting out the door. I still have some reflection writing to do, because I tried unbending my self-imposed rules this morning, but I’m looking forward to it ending my evening. It felt good to let things happen with greater ease. I’m still thinking about how I might – or might not – want to do things differently on the mornings I work. Because I went with the flow, I left later than I’d hoped, but right when I was ready, encountered surprisingly unclogged traffic and easily found close parking to work, a blessing that happens inconsistently. Between work and returning home, the transitions went surprisingly smoothly and I feel good about what I got done.

I’ll try not to think too much about the scary steps I hope to begin taking soon and look forward to a full night’s sleep.

Thanks for being there.


My action step(s):

  • Meeting with my employment specialist.
  • Registering for more JVS workshops in the next two weeks (Developing an “Elevator” Pitch, Networking Techniques, and a Resume Lab).

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