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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Lifetime of Searching

Happy Canada Day!

Well, I've gone and done it now. I'm all wired up and need to rant! As you know I've been in this personal funk. I've been in it for so long now it's getting hard to remember what having hopes and dreams felt like. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to end it all or anything so dire. I have a pretty fantastic life, but as I mentioned before there's a big hole in my life that I can't seem to fill.

Let's see, where to begin. So, at 17 I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was positive that I would be a reporter. It had been strongly suggested by my high school guidance counselor that I go into journalism and not only did it seem like I had an aptitude for it, but it also fit with my interests. I did a co-op placement at the local newspaper and loved it.

However, journalism in college was a completely different ball game and I realized this was not what I wanted to do. I stuck it out and passed...barely. I did find that I had a knack for layout and design so after a maternity leave contract ended I decided to go back to school once again.

This time I took web design. I rocked that course. I did so well I ended up tutoring other students in my own class. But when I had to face the real world I didn't have the confidence in myself or what I could do and I didn't put a lot of effort into my job search. I did some small business websites for friends, but that was about the extent of it. Web design also took a crazy turn for the dynamic and I was lost in the wilderness. I'm good with design, not so good with learning new languages.

So, I entered the technical support and customer service world and stayed at call centers for the most part over the next 12 years. Once you're in a call center type job it's really difficult to get back out. A couple of years ago, my technical support contract ended and I was able to get into the Second Career program through Employment Ontario.

I ended up taking the Addictions and Community Service Worker program at Everest College. I learned a lot through this program. I was a leader in my classroom. I made really decent marks and when I graduated I was certain that I would be able to find a job this time. I had self-confidence and the perseverance to apply, apply, apply. What I hadn't counted on was a lack of opportunities for full time work in the field. I admit my teacher did tell us over and over again this is not the field to be making a lot of money, but I did think I could find something full time.

I bought into the Second Career hype that over the next five years social service and community service workers were going to be in high demand. There's a demand all right. A demand for casual, part-time employees with no real hope for more.

Social and Community Service Workers Regional Trend
After a year of looking and only being able to get casual part-time work I threw in the towel. Yes, maybe I did give up too easily, but I was heart broken. I'd finally found my passion. I'd finally found what that I felt I'd been called to do. Being a leader in the classroom just doesn't translate to the real world of job searching.

Knowing what you're good at doesn't promise you a job. Maybe this is coming off as conceited but I promise you this is not about my ego. For the first time in my life I've had a glimpse of what I've been missing throughout my entire employment history. This glimpse has taken what I thought I knew and thrown it out the window. I thought that all I ever really wanted was to have a stable job with normal daytime hours and weekends off. And maybe there was a time that would have been enough for me, but I caught that glimpse of more and I can't seem to let it go.

The question is, where do I go from here?

Do I go back to school again, only this time go big or go home and try the university route? I have to admit I'm quite gun-shy about going back to school. How many stories have you heard about recent graduates not being able to find jobs? I know I've heard plenty and I've experienced a few myself. Plus, there's the whole issue of how would I afford it even if I could get in.

Do I attempt entrepreneurship and start my own company? There's a lot of risk there and an initial investment that, let's face it, I don't have. Plus, I have a family to support so is the risk really worth it?

Do I stay where I am even though I feel like I lose another piece of myself everyday? I have decent hours so I can enjoy my evenings and weekends. Except that I'm left so drained at the end of the day I don't really enjoy my time off. Oh, but don't forget the old adage "at least I have a job".

Do I put myself through the humiliation of another job search? I'm a Jane of all trades and master of none. Have you ever tried to look for a job but not known where to even start?

So, I have options. (Insert eye roll here and sarcastic "yay".) Maybe we should be teaching our children that the ideal dream job just isn't out there. Find a job that you can stand, one that doesn't take away who you are, pays the bills and is just...good...enough.

Don't worry, I know that's ridiculous and jaded. Believe me, I want my kids to pursue their dreams and to actually be able to surpass their own imaginations! But I also want my kids to see that I've done everything I possibly could to accomplish my own dreams no matter how terrifying they may seem.

~End Rant~

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