Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Looking for Work in all the Wrong Places

Maybe it's shallow of me, but I can't handle being at a job for more than three years. The first year I'm learning, checking out the parameters, enjoying the new and exciting. The second year I begin to put my mark on the situation. This is where I try tweaking things to see if I can make it better than it is. This involves figuring out ways to streamline production, cut waste, improve morale and keep things fun and interesting. The third year I find out if I've made an impact. If I have, I'm enjoying my work and making a difference. If I haven't made an impact, I'm alternately bored, disgruntled, discouraged, discontented. If nothing improves, I'm looking for a new job, an alternate way to make my living.

The job I have now is in its fourth year! I've been through the process and realize its time to move on or give up and accept that this is all it's ever going to be. It is tempting to just settle into a groove, but the work is physically strenuous and the early morning are getting harder and harder to deal with. So, it's time to look for greener pastures.

Starting with the Want Ads in the local paper is depressing! I read them from A to Z and realize I'm not qualified to do much of anything. Forget that I have a college education and 30 years of experience--in THIS job market, I'm unskilled. No computer skills and/or no experience in the specified field eliminate me from 80% of the ads. However, 90% of the ads make me glad that I'm unskilled and unqualified, as I realize I'd be bored stiff within six months.

On to bigger and better methods of finding a job. I start on the Internet with a general job search. The sheer number of jobs available is very nearly overwhelming. I randomly click on something that catches my eye and save them to look through at a later time. Soon I have a file of jobs that appear interesting. I find I have registered on multiple sites and need to download (upload?) a resume so that I can apply online. So far I haven't done this, as my resume is a living, changing organism!

I did e-mail a couple of the more interesting possibilities. One is to work in Antarctica for a season as part of the staff that provides food for the scientists doing research projects. Another was to the University of Madison, Appleton Campus to help with the selection process for the candidates to their Medical Residency program. The third possibility is to drive the school bus. I got a response from each of these e-mails, and I have to decide what to do next.

In many ways, it is a relief to finally get the process started. As I get older, I'm less inclined to do what is necessary to change jobs. I don't enjoy interviewing. It's difficult to learn and acclimate to the new job once it's offered and accepted. I've come to realize that I only have 15 more years to work, and need to find something I can stay with until retirement. It's time to build up a small portfolio, make my 401K viable, and qualify for a pension if possible.

Fifteen years in the same job? The mere though of this induces panic. Then I tell myself that I don't have to stay in the same "job"--but I DO have to stay with the same company. I need to find something that I can grow with, that allows me to progress, be promoted, and have a variety of experiences. It also limits the field. I can't just go with the next most interesting position. I've done that for 25 years (and enjoyed most of it). I need to find a career. HELP!

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