Dear Lalia 12 years ago,
I know you just left a job you loved, and not by choice but by circumstance of the branch being closed down. It is what it is. But girl, you have mad skills! You are in demand so don't take too much time off. Get back on that horse and find the next job of your dreams.
But, but, but.... You know as well as I do that I probably never would have left my job voluntarily. So now that it's been taken from me, it's my chance to do something completely different, completely out of the box. I love to cook, what if I try starting my own catering business. I can work out of my house and it'll be great! That's what I'm going to do.
Thanks, love you.... Lalia
It was great. For a short time. Until the economy took a nosedive. Until I realized I couldn't cater jobs by myself. Until I didn't have enough room in my house to store large trays of food or to cook large trays of food. Until it wasn't great anymore. So where does that leave me? It's 12 years later and the economy is still in the shitter. Money is tight and I need to work. So I decide to go back to what I know, office work. Well that's what I thought I'd be doing anyway. There are jobs to be had, but the pay scale is so awful it's hard to wrap my hairdo around what is going on.
I had a job interview this week. It sounded really good, interesting, different and even fun. And the best part, they use Mac computers. I'm a Mac girl through and through. I love all things Apple. I cried when Steve Jobs died. I want to change my name to iLalia. And Mac jobs are few and far between. They pretty much don't exist unless you are in some kind of graphic design field. This job is not exactly graphic design but along those lines. It was pretty exciting to be called for an interview on this one. So I went and all was well. The job was nothing like anything I had done before but they seemed interested in me. They seemed thrilled with all my Mac experience. So I am liking how this is going. Until they told me the salary. $10 and hour. Seriously. $20K a year. Do you know anyone who could live on that? Me either.
OK yes, I've been out of work for a long time and I realize I have to start over. But that is less than I was making 12 years ago. Cost of living has changed. Gas prices have changed. Everything has changed. I never thought I'd be making less than I was making back then. Maybe the same, but most likely I expected a bit more because of cost of living changes. So not the case.
So what does one do, other than brood and cry and lament the fact that by trying to establish my own business I have in essence ruined my life. Maybe that's not true, but it feels true. There are so many things I want to do. So many things out of my reach because I cannot find a job that will pay me enough to make those changes happen. Do I change course and try a whole different line of work again? Go with what you know seems logical. But how can you go with what you know when everyone is struggling so much that companies can't pay better salaries?
When I'm in an interview and am asked the question, "What are you looking for?" My standard answer, with pauses at the appropriate times so it looks like I'm just making this up on the fly (ha!), is "Well... I'd like to be in a place where I like the people I'm working with. Where I don't dread going everyday and where I'm doing work I can be proud of." In both interviews I've had, I've used this line (it actually was on the fly in the first interview and went over so well I decided to use it again in the next one). Both interviewers loved it, so feel free to use it if you find yourself in a similar position and are asked that question. The thing is, it's not bullshit. I do want to be around people I like, doing work I can be proud of, in a place I won't dread going to. I'm 46 years old, on a fast track to 47. I don't want to be one of those people on Facebook who posts some whiney ass graphic every Monday morning that declares how much Monday's suck. I just want to be able to make ends meet. It's not really a lot to ask. But at the moment it feels completely unattainable.
PS... sorry all my posts are so angsty lately.