Friday, June 19, 2015

The End of the Unplanned Sabbatical (is nigh....)

On Monday morning, I’ll wake up to an alarm. (Which I don’t honestly think I’ve done since the days when I was employed as an SLP for a school system in Maryland...15 years ago!) Then I’ll make coffee…okay, exactly the same as every other day of my life, for as long as I can remember. Next I’ll don an office-appropriate outfit, do the makeup thing, fiddle with the hair…and drive to work. Yaaaayyy!

Why on earth, you might ask, am I so stoked about something that many folks do every day (whether they are particularly gung-ho about it or not)? Because my current position—unpaid Household Manager—has worn supremely thin over the past year, and it is just HIGH time to shake things up. That’s right, it’s time to dress like a professional…interact with adults…perform my job (about which I will be pleased to provide details, you know, after I actually start)…and earn a paycheck. Oh, words cannot adequately express how much I’ve missed these things. (Yeah, I do realize how dorky that sounds...Eh, I'm fine with that...)

You see, when we relocated to North Carolina I knew that, realistically, I might have arrived at a... vocational fork-in-the-road, which would require me to strike out onto a fresh path. But as anyone who knows me will attest, I’m totally cool with that. I certainly wouldn’t say I’m...fickle...about my career choices…but I do wholeheartedly embrace change and welcome opportunities to try new things. That being said, the obvious $64,000 question was: What to Do Now?

After copious amounts of soul-searching--and a bit of hand-wringing—I revamped my resume and began hitting those employment websites. At first, once a week seemed acceptable; after all, I didn’t want to make myself cuckoo, or anything. But then as time passed, and the applications piled up, and nothing panned out, I found that the crazy was creeping up on me anyway. Oh, and desperation. Also a growing feeling of dissatisfaction because, let's face it, laundry and grocery store runs and trips to Costco are just NOT that fulfilling as a full-time occupation when you get right down to it. Add to that the fact that the kiddos don’t need their Mommy 24/7 anymore, and you have a recipe for…well, a lot of unstructured, unproductive hours…coupled with no small amount of boredom. Hmm, what else? Right: a nagging sense of worthlessness, stemming from not being out there in the workplace, contributing to society or—I’ll admit it—being compensated (by more than just the free samples at the Big Box Warehouse-‘o-Stuff, you know).

I honestly didn’t anticipate experiencing any of these emotions…but then again, I hadn’t been a stay-at-home type person for a full year since I took a leave of absence when Derek was born. And lest I forget to mention it, there was the different dynamic created by Husband's job transitioning to home-based. I mean sure, he’s a great guy, and’s just that I’m sooooo not used to such a large amount of…constant togetherness…fueling my desire to get the HECK out of the house and go do my own thing. So I plugged along, scanning the lists, selecting posts that sounded like something that A) I might be qualified for and B) that would be stimulating enough to keep me satisfied. Plus “part time”, since I still was responsible for all of those mundane tasks previously mentioned. (Hey, the food doesn’t just magically appear in the fridge, no matter how much the growing boys—or I—might wish it.

Along the way there were some interviews….where I tried my best to be charming, and knowledgeable, and articulate and…whatever else they might find appealing. But sadly, no one chose me. The rejection was slightly ego-bruising…at first. Eventually, though, it bordered on, let’s say “crushing” (but honestly, that could possibly have been due to my worsening psychological condition…Paralyzing Dread of Being Forced to Accomplish Household Chores). I’m not gonna lie: a wee bit of despair was beginning to creep in, jockeying for supremacy over the fragile hope that was still valiantly struggling to survive. Why, oh why couldn’t anyone just take my word, that although the exact skills and experience you’re seeking might not appear on my resume, I’m a reasonably intelligent human being, willing and eager to learn, and if you give me the chance, I will Figure. It. Out.

Until…at last...someone did decide to take a leap of faith and believe me. And did I tell you I’ll be going there on Monday, to enthusiastically do…absolutely anything they ask of me. Even if that includes storming Target for paper towels and tea bags to replenish the break room supplies. Because it’s totally a fun, useful, meaningful errand when it’s your JOB! So, stay tuned for the next installment: Tales from the Office...

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