Lost and Found Identity-part 2

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I’ve been toying with the idea of returning to the workforce. I thought I would elaborate on that.

I have been a SAHM for just about 10 years now. I don’t have a “career” to go back to.  I never became a practicing attorney, and I was just getting my “foot in the door” into the HR world. Most of my work experience is administrative or paralegal in nature.

During my 10 year tenure at Thomas Inc, I have tried my best to keep the mind sharp. I am an expert at research on the internet and I’m pretty-gosh-darn-good at Soduku puzzles. I attempted to be crafty–making cards and scrapbooks. But that just filled the time in between naps and preschool.

I volunteered a lot. It started when I joined my local Mom of Twins group. I went to a few meetings and felt like I could contribute to this organization that saved me from the stress of having twins.  Within a year, I became co-editor of the club’s newsletter–a position that I held for 2.5 years. I became the Membership Secretary, and President. I am currently club treasurer.  While writing for the club’s newsletter, I was approached by the National Mothers of Twins Organization to write for their publication–which has 26,000 readers!! I wrote articles bi-monthly for two years. I was a nationally published author!! (ok, maybe that’s a stretch….but it IS true).  While we lived in England, this little American was even PTA President for a year! 

So, contrary to what some may think, I have not spent the last 10 years of my life sitting around eating bon-bons while watching soap operas.   OK—I’ll fess up. Everyday, at 1pm–it’s MY TV TIME.  I watch “All My Children.” It’s the only “luxury” I allow myself between laundry, vacuuming, oil changes, battling insurance companies, taxiing kids, groceries, etc.

And….as you may recall, last year I started a home-based travel agency, hoping to use all the travel knowledge I’ve picked up over the years and put it to good use and help others. “So, how goes it?” you ask.  Mediocre, at best.  Granted, I have not put on a mega-media-blitz to get my name out there. My “marketing” has been low-key and “grass-roots.” But it has saddened me to see friends and family make their own travel plans without contacting me. 

I figured that if I were to get a “real” job, that I could still do the travel thing on the side—or at least just get REAL GOOD deals for myself!

[Surprisingly, though, two people contacted me within the last 2 weeks to help them with their travel plans. And, they seem VERY HAPPY with my research!! They have both asked for business cards to pass along to their friends. (Yippee)]

Let’s get back on track….

Two thoughts left on returning to work:  (1) Why? (2) Why not?

WHY? My boys seem to need ME less and less.  All 3 boys are in school “full time” now. At home, they always ask Hubby to play with them. Hubby has been doing bath/shower time since I became pregnant w/ Little Guy. Speaking of Little Guy, he has started asking that Daddy read to him at night instead of me. My presence is less and less needed/wanted.

Unless, of course, if it concerns laundry or food. And then it’s EXPECTED. No appreciation or gratefulness. 

I am Hubby’s biggest fan, but after 10 years of “working from home”, it is tiring (not the right word, but I don’t know what to put in here)….I envy…. when he comes home from the office and tells me how well his meeting went, or how so-and-so complimented his presentation, or how is boss gave him a “juicy” project.  He gets to interact with people on a daily basis and he gets the praise and recognition he deserves. (Yes, “work” is a 4-letter word, and he has more than his fair-share of bad days…but still…)  I hope you catch my drift . No one compliments me on a shiny toilet bowl or thanks me for making sure their basketball shirt was washed in time for the game.

I feel as if my “Joie de Vivre” is missing. Because I am in charge of homework, clean-up, and other “sticky points” as a mom of 3 boys, I feel like (and truthfully, they feel like) I am always yelling at them. I am the Bad Guy. I don’t want to be remembered later in life as the “mean mom.” I just get SOOOOO TIRED of the asking, pleading, nagging, snapping. They simply wear me out. No wonder they don’t ask me to play with them (although their games are more “testosterone-based”)  I simply feel like I’ve misplaced my fun. I used to be fun and cheerful and bubbly. Really. I was.

So, my thinking is…..if I return to work and interact with other grown-ups, they (the grown-ups) will be cheerful to me and say “thank you” and that will make me a happier person. And if I’m not home all day, there will be an expectation of others to contribute to life at Thomas Inc, since I won’t be there to cater to them.

Flawed logic? Or am I on to something?

WHY NOT? I’m afraid. It’s a tough job market out there.  I have been out of work for TEN years. I have very few “SKILLS” to offer an employer that would be better than the next guy. My skills are “soft” skills rather than “hard” skills. I worry about finding an employer that understands snow days and sick kids and half-days and vacations (as we do seem to take a lot of those).

So, in the meantime, I will work on my resume……….making myself sound as impressive as I can………..continue to volunteer at Little Guy’s K-class, complete my “home projects”, work on the Travel Agency some more, and then start actively looking for a job near the end of the summer to start around the time school starts.  That is my plan.

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Lost and Found Identity

Shortly after Christmas–when the relatives left and the decorations were put away–I became a little frustrated with the length of my “To Do List” and the fact that the other members of Thomas Inc decided, that instead of helping, they would just add to that long friggin’ list.

I was exhausted. I was beginning to feel that my efforts were being wasted on a bunch of uncaring and unappreciative men. I’d been catering to them for far too long.

During one of my “10 minute breaks” I decided—for shits and giggles–to look at the job market on Monster.com.  I found a Part-time administrative assistant position available in a nearby town.    

Hmmmmm………..what IF (for shits and giggles, of course) I applied for said-position? Without telling anyone? Wouldn’t it be SWEET if I got an interview and….God help me….a job offer?? What would they all think then? 

I went to the office to look for my resume. I know I had updated it….back in 2005. 

Ummmmm……………resume missing.  Checked the file drawer. My padfolio. My “human resource” folders. The resume writing books. My momento box. My new laptop. My old laptop.  NOTHING.( I had this very sneaking suspicion a copy might be on the computer hard-drive that we recently destroyed….the computer hadn’t worked in 2 years…..)

I became FRANTIC!!!! 

I found some packages of “resume paper.” Nope, not in there either. Searched through Hubby’s file drawer. I had a vague recollection that he and I might have made a “resume folder” together and, MAYBE he had it.

Up to the frigid 10 degree attic. Searched through boxes. My boxes. His boxes. Joint boxes. NOTHING TURNED UP…..except hubby’s resumes from college! Lot of good that would do me.

The last time I held a (paying) job was December 2000—I quit right after I found out I was preggo w/ twins and moving back to Boston. I had a pretty sweet resume.  I had even kept it “up to date” with my “work” with the Mother of Twins club stuff I had done. And now it was gone.

I know this may sound completely looney, but I honestly felt that a piece of me was missing. I was a great employee–my employers always took a chance on hiring me, and I never let them down–always went above-and-beyond. I had amassed such great experience in the legal/HR world. And that resume did a FANTASTIC JOB of conveying that. I don’t think I could recreate (on paper) my working career from 1993-2000.

When Hubby came home, I had to fess up. I asked if he had a copy of my resume anywhere. Talk about a deer in headlights. “WHY do you need a copy of your resume?”  At this point it was no longer about looking for a job…..I just needed to have a copy of my resume.  Maybe as a reminder that once upon a time I was important…..felt appreciated by my co-workers and bosses.

Hubby took a look around, and came up empty handed. Not good enough. THERE HAD TO BE A COPY SOMEWHERE.

The following week, during a brief “thaw”, I ventured back into the attic. There were 3 boxes I hadn’t opened, because I knew they contained Bar Exam review books and some Law texts (a part of my past that I don’t quite know how to deal with or face). It was time to open them. Deep into box #2, I found a file folder that lo-and-behold held 3 copies of a resume dating from 1997-1998. 

Something I could work with. It contained everything up until my last job in California. I could come up with something for that job. And then all my volunteer work over the past 9 years would have to be added.

BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. 

A part of me was found.