Next Steps: My Job Hunt

Now that my father-in-law has passed away, it’s time to reshuffle the career/life deck of cards. While he was with us, I had to be home, and that requirement limited my vocational options.

Writing this blog is my way of forcing myself to put some of the building blocks in place (resume updated? check!) and organize my thoughts (while simultaneously asking for help/ideas/support).

First Steps

I am transitioning out of my freelance commitments at Weaving Influence and the Lead Change Group. I started working there in October 2014 (although I had been a friend of the organization before that), and am abundantly grateful for what I have gained from WI and LCG. It has definitely been more than a paycheck.

I updated my resume (here it is!).

I added a passage to my LinkedIn profile, detailing the demands of being a caregiver. I don’t know why this seems like such a renegade thing to doย because it was most definitely “real” work but the management skills, empathy, and paraprofessional medical capabilities needed to shepherd someone through mini-strokes, dental crises and two recurrences of cancer have to count for something.

Options

There are several options as I see it now, some more realistic than others.

Add A Second Part-Time Job (virtual or brick and mortar)

Now that Dad is gone, so is the restriction that I be at home. For that reason, my “Plan A” is to keep my part time position with a B2B newsletter, which takes from roughly 6:45 am – 12:15 pm every day, and add “something else” to the mix.

Maybe that “something else” will be, for example, something out of the house from 2-6 pm.

Maybe it will be something virtual (I have feelers out for that).

There are pros and cons to both. I love working from home and honestly wouldn’t mind working from home, 100%. However, I also realize there may be some value for me, growth-wise and spirit-wise, to interact more directly with human beings in person more than I do now.

(Note: I know I have left out the option of “one full time job.” Time will tell and obviously that’s not ruled out, but I love my current B2B newsletter job and am not ready to give it up barring the most amazing offer/opportunity ever.)

Write a Book

On the one hand, I feel that writing a book is one of those things that you should only do because youย have to, not to make money or meet some other perceived external need.

On the other hand, I work with many authors though Weaving Influence, and I often find myself saying, “I wish I had my own book to promote.”

I have set aside my idea of writing about Camp Gordon Johnston (for now). I am toying with the idea of writing about caregiving, but want to do that while the memories are fresh. I also have an edge idea of a picture-book type thing (comedy) related to elder care.

Hmmm.

Be an Elder Care Sherpa

This is the one that, if I had a little more courage, surplus organizational skills, and enough income to build it as a practice, would, in my opinion, eliminate (or reduce) the types of frustrations we had as caregivers, for an easy-to-navigate resource directory, for advocacy with physicians/dentists/other providers, for assistance centralizing all of the pieces of information we were invariably hunting for, for helping cut through the conflicting pieces of information we received. The key to being a kick-a** elder care sherpa (in addition to the courage and organizational skills) would be a true heart for eldercare (especially the element of serving the families doing the eldercare) with the counteracting asset of not beingย personally emotionally invested in each elder’s life.

The challenge of being a loving family member, marginally equipped to handle all of the onslaught of needs/requests/demands while also working to make a living, is daunting. An eldercare sherpa could help streamline the demands, in a caring yet businesslike way, while *possibly* helping that family find a little more peace of mind (and get a little more sleep every night).

Strengths and Weaknesses

As I cast my net to seek new opportunities, and in the event you’re reading this and are aware of something, here are my top three (self-perceived) strengths (and a bit about weaknesses):

A love of writing, decent writing skills, and an intent to always improve

The ability to apply social media skills to helping people extend their messages and refine their presence online

Being capable of “connecting dots” and helping find unlikely intersections between people/entities that help both be better

As far as weaknesses, I guess the upside of my weaknesses is that I have pretty transparently written about them here, here and here. (TL:DR – taming the confidence monster.)

I know I have a tendency to focus on a single pine needle to the point that I may not realize the entire forest is on fire, but attention to detail is not always a big thing (unless the forest is on fire).

Why Change Matters Now

There’s a very practical reason I need to change now. With Wayne’s dad gone, I need to redouble my efforts to contribute to our family’s bottom line, especially until we can make a change to our housing situation to save money (and that’s going to take time).

While I am very flexible about what I do next, I also agree with my friend Dwayne and what he said in his awesome blog post about finding purpose:

Our souls know what we are meant to do, and will nudge us in that direction when we are heading somewhere else.

I was also talking on Twitter with @lisamunro, who asked via this tweet, “Do you feel that your work is a calling? If so, how do you know? Can we have more than 1?” Her question led me to revisit this tribute post to my friend Jarrod, who passed away at far too young an age. I closed out that post with this quote from Leigh Caraccioli (I would link to Leigh but I can’t find a recent link, sadly):

When you live your passion, there is no line dividing what you do and who you are.
They are one.

 

Besides these two wonderful, inspiring quotes, I won’t add some self-help inspirational offering from Pinterest about how wonderful change is. I know change is a good thing (mostly) but primarily I am torn between a tiny sense of adventure, the fact that I’m still processing the freedom, emotional and physical, that came with dad’s passing, more than a little anxiety, and the hope that I can find someone/someplace where I can make a difference while meeting our family’s financial obligations.

I would love any ideas/networking recommendations you have to give!

Communications Job Search

25 thoughts on “Next Steps: My Job Hunt

  1. I greatly enjoyed this post! I too am looking to make a move. It’s difficult to express my appreciation for a 22 year career with my current employer, but I’ve outgrown their scope. I need to be a mom for a bit, but I am looking for something freelance/contract focused. Good luck my friend!!!

  2. 2 books you might find helpful: “5-second rule” & “Option B”. I think you have A LOT to offer as elder care sherpa – or maybe running an elder care facility/entity? “They” say you should do whatever scares you the most?!?! I know you’ll be great at whatever you decide!

  3. My efforts to obtain a salaried position as a health-care navigator/senior rights advocate have been unsuccessful these two years since I moved to Seattle. Institutions/private-sector health-care businesses/insurers/governmental agencies aren’t seeing the need to train or retrain for that profession. Reasons? (1) U.S. obsession with youth; (2) the availability of medical professionals burned out with day-to-day care who are moving into the field; (3) the glut of people (such as me) willing to do it for free in hopes of landing a paying gig; and (4) Medicare/insurers locked into old mindset of reimbursement costs. Don’t give up, Paula. I haven’t, but the pathway is rocky.

    • Great (realistic) comments, Joyce. I think “would we have paid [$$] for a sherpa?” and am not sure, even if that had existed. We didn’t exactly know what we needed until we were well into the process. And as for books, we never had/made time to read “The 36 Hour Day” or even (heck) the Hospice Handbook. My wheels are turning — I guess that’s a start.

  4. Paula, Since my caregiving role ended, I have known that I would one day “do something” with that experience. It won’t be direct care, but much more along the lines that you describe as a sherpa. Perhaps there will be another way for our paths to cross or for us to work together again one day. Only in the last couple weeks have some thoughts begun to solidify for me in this area.

  5. Thank you for sharing your decision-making process now that you are another crossroads in life. I think it’s helpful to show others that life is full of transitions and that we don’t know where our life path will take us. I have a 16 yo daughter who wants to know exactly how her life will unfold. But where is the fun in that? All my best to you!

    • Thanks! And I have similar conversations with my 21-year old. It’s hard to process the fact that there are SO MANY vague components of our career (and life) paths. Social media didn’t even exist when I was her age, and now it’s a big part of my life/career. Go figure.

  6. I wish you all the best Paula and know you will be an asset to whatever job you accept. Not as a full time gig but while all your skills are fresh in eldercare before you land something else, why not teach a seminar at local adult education or senior centers but not for free?

    • I loved this idea from the moment I read it, Haralee! Even if not compensated, I would love doing it and it would keep my skills fresh. I made a goal to create an outline before I got to bed tonight. THANKS!

  7. Hi Paula, I always love your writing, so I would upgrade you to an “excellent” writer on your skill set. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am currently reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr and am going to be recommending to every woman I know, starting with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Good luck Paula! I know that you will excel and grow in whatever position you end up in. We will miss you but its been fun working together over the years!

  9. Pingback: Grab Bag! - Big Green PenBig Green Pen

Leave a Reply