Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Full Circle in a New Outfit

Almost nine months ago, I said good-bye to my coworkers and voluntarily left the world of proprietary (i.e. for-profit) education, a world I had inhabited for only 15 months before deciding not to pursue full-fledged citizenship on planet ATI. Never before had I opted to resign from a job without having a next step, but the threats to my psyche from remaining in that environment were far worse than facing the daunting possibility of finding gainful employment during a recession.

I decided then to allow myself some time to recover, to reflect, and as my aunt says, to reinvent. Instead of immediately applying for jobs, I tried on other possibilities: Entrepreneur, Consultant, Editor, Writer, Lazy Bones, Long Distance Walker, Blogger, Poet.... It was like the sabbatical year that we lived in student family housing at Fuller Seminary, and I discovered that the large laundry room nearest to our apartment doubled as a "clothing exchange." If something had shrunk in the dryer and didn't fit anymore, just leave it on the table for someone who is slightly smaller. Or if your kids outgrew their school clothes halfway through the year, display them on the table and some other poor-grad-student mother (from Nigeria or England, Arizona or India) will snatch them up for her children. It was the same way with men's and women's clothes--tired of that thrift-store shirt? It will be gone by noon. Check back next week, ladies, and you'll find a dress, just your size, to replace the one you've recently decided is the wrong color, or pattern, or style. My wardrobe underwent substantial change that year, at no cost! What fun to try things on, wear them once or twice, and then trade them in for a better fit (or a daring experiment, like a red knit mini-skirt).

After publishing a book, walking 60 miles, making multiple trips to California to visit family, and concluding that the yoga-business-idea did not fit, I determined that January 2013 would be a good time to start looking for bona fide employment, in earnest. Armed with an updated LinkedIn profile and subscriptions to several good job-search sites, I once again entered "the job market," an arena I'd done battle in a few times.

In brief, here's how it has played out:
  • January 15: Apply for Senior Technical Writer/Editor job.
  • February 13: Panel Interview
  • March 6: HR/pre-employment briefing, but nothing official yet.
  • March 22: Official offer and approval for hire.
  • April 3: Drug test and medical screening
  • April 15: Day One!
(Meanwhile, I also applied in earnest for 2 other positions, and had 2 in-person interviews, and 2 nice-to-meet-you-but-you're-not-a-fit phone calls. I have also given 3 poetry readings/book-signings, tutored for the Albuquerque GED organization, taken a sestina-writing class, traveled to CA and LA*, and done some freelance editing.... the Lazy Bones outfit didn't fit, either.)

In a weird way, this brings me full circle to the same place my father worked in the 1950s when he and my mother were first married...the place that launched his career and enabled him to support a young family.

And so today I am grateful, for the time and space between the last job and this one, for the life the Scientist and I have made together, and for a new adventure. Happy April.

*Note to those west-coasters who think that LA means only Los Angeles, thereby making my statement redundant, review your USPS state abbreviations (or look for New Orleans on a map).

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