One of my Facebook friends wrote on her status report that she was told her job search was a 'treasure hunt.'
Yeah, right! A Buddhist chant I jokingly created years ago repeating: yeah, right, yeah, right, yeah right yeah right, yeah, right, right, right, yeah right......... a mantra to chant when you don't believe what someone is telling you. A joke. A dance with spiritualism and how serious or light it can be.
But, what is this search for work, it is deeper, it is a metamorphosis of self in a process of change. A meltdown, a butterfly inside a cocoon. For what is one truly searching for?
I'm looking for work. Which I've not shared on the internet until now. Why is that? Not wanting to expose myself. A fear that a torrent of jobs will overwhelm me? A denial of how bad it could get. It's going on a year. How long could it possibly go? I'm skilled. I'm smart. I smell good. I'm willing and able to work.
Laid off July 2009. I've been diligently looking during my process of thinking again, at age 57, what do I want to do with my life? What would be a satisfying career now? A poet who just came out of the second major career of my life. I started a lab technician after high school. Transitioned after finishing my Masters to spend the last 18 years as an HIV/AIDS Case Manager & Adherence Counselor in a Treatment Education Program. I know computers, I'm creative. I like running things. I take charge, counsel, resolve conflict. I deserve to get paid well.
I joined CenterPoint, a career center, which I paid to be a member of. They provide workshops, groups to help develops resumes, have interesting quarterly forums.
This all reminds me, I have to find the place on my taxes where I deduct for work search related expenses.
I've traveled close to 500 miles. Made two trips to Tumwater. That set of interviews didn't even reward me with a formal rejection letter. Ouch! It was a job I thought I was perfectly skilled and positioned for. An AIDS Case Management Consultant. But it was not in the fates for my future. And fate is an important player on this treasure hunt, this metamorphosis. Okay, I let that one go. It was not to be my destiny.
I've 'networked' and gone to talks about networking. But, I've not used the social networking sites Facebook or Twitter. A little on Linked in, but I only updated my site and explored recently because of a talk at CenterPoint on Networking. I may have missed opportunities, but I'm constantly learning.
I've scanned jobs on Craig's list. That's fun. Everyone looks for everything on Craig's list. I've been listed on a site for a movie extra. Did they call me? No. Even a one day shoot has not call me. I'm probably too old. Agism creeps up in the thick mud as something to consider.
Speaking of agism, I am getting older every day. I traveled 60 miles to Kent to take a multi-task test for a 911 operator. I failed the test. Found it impossible to keep up with multiple tracks speeding up throwing colors, series of numbers, and names through a box. The quicksand is gaining on my knees. But chin up because who wants to travel 60 miles round trip every day to go to work!
I have memories when I first moved to Seattle in 1989 I applied for King County 911. It was different then, I had a top score, and there was no multi-task test back then. Obviously, not my fate.
I've joined lists that send me job announcements daily: School of Social Work, Ideallist.org, City of Bellevue, KCDOH. They all send regular notification of jobs. Plus, jobs come through my partner's sources. He spent three years on his treasure hunt in his own quagmire. Lots of time reading and downloading and organizing the many job opportunities on email, every step I take has to be tracked for unemployment. A step he didn't have. At least I have a cushion I remind myself. But cushions are not a solution in a quagmire.
I send out cover letters, resumes, fill out long applications online that take hours even with cut and paste. Some I never hear back from. They go puff into the vast universe and disappear like light. Not even a star in the distance. (Sorry to mix metaphors.)
This quagmire meltdown, is an emotional quicksand. I learned somewhere that one can pull out of quicksand using a long stick, long & lateral, in the sand in front of you, you pull up & push down on it for support. But in this treasure hunt there is no long stick. I feel the sticky web of disfunction pulling my lower limbs. One has to be strong in quicksand to not go under.
I love time. I'm a poet, time is more valuable than money. Time is the essence of life. Time to walk, write, think, read, indulge in memories, reverie, and random threads that pull into poems. Time to catch up. I've used the time between the hours I spend looking for work, getting other things done, which I've not had time to do in years. I've gone though my childhood slides, nearly 800 my father took and stored in a big box made for slides, and scanned them. I lugged them with me every time I've moved in my life. Time to reevaluate or think in circles the big question, what next? How will I support myself?
I've set up a website/blog and this Blogger blog. I've completed my manuscript. I'm reading more books! I've visited a few more friends than I had time for when working, but still not as many as I'd like. I've visited my former workplace. I miss the camaraderie, the daily banter & drama a workplace provides. Especially the one I worked in. It has been the career of my lifetime. I wax in the glory of what the work has meant to me.
So here I am in my metamorphosis each day wondering what it is I want to do next in a city where changing a career is difficult. I came close on one position, I was number one till a former employee applied late. Another, the interviewer said she really likes me, but they have others with more 'specific skills.'
On this 'treasure hunt' I wonder what I'm doing wrong that a smart, skilled, creative person like me doesn't have a job yet. Maybe I'm too picky. Too particular about where I apply. And that is the start of another round, what do I deserve? What do I truly, truly, really want to do next? The muddy questions pulling me down. Anther day I'll focus on the other questions or thoughts that pull me up.
More will follow. A stick will manifest. A fate will call. A treasure will be found. Yeah right, right, right, yeah right.
Divine rod to pull my way out of this quicksand.