Friday, July 1, 2011

Plan, and replan

The thing about plans, is that they change.

This is actually the best thing about plans.

I tried the 4-in-the-morning job. It only took one shift for me to realize that this was a terrible plan for me. In the abstract, it had sounded like a good idea - a job where I didn't have to think and where I could bring in a little money while conducting my job search. Others told me that it sounded horrible, and I agreed, but then I went and did it anyway and found that for me it was, indeed, horrible.

I'm not knocking people who decide to do these jobs, or who do these jobs because they need the money and can't find anything else. In six months, maybe I will feel that way too. But that's my point - I need to wait six months before feeling that way rather than jumping to feeling that way immediately. When a crisis hits - whether it is the loss of a job, of a loved one or the end of a relationship - we tend to feel desperate. We jump into things that we are not ready for because it somehow feels like doing something. It feels like fixing the problem. But problems are wily, and they don't always want to be fixed right away, or in the way that we think they need to be fixed. Just as you can't replace one person with another, you can't replace one job with another.

There are many jobs that I would do, jobs that are somewhat more like my own. In the past I have worked in childcare and loved it. I know that's not a job for everyone. Taking a job that "not everyone" would or could do is a good move, because it makes you feel valued. Your particular temperament and skills are suited to that job. I haven't applied for a job in childcare at this point because there are emotions involved (mine and the children's); it's not fair to children to form relationships with them and then suddenly leave.

What I learned from this misstep is to not jump to desperation. Save desperation for when you actually are desperate. Minimum and low-wage jobs are physically taxing and will leave you with little time or energy to apply for the job you really want - something you have to spend a lot of time doing in your first few weeks of unemployment. I lost a couple days by spending my energy on something I didn't need to do. But I'm back on that horse, and I've got dozens of job listings that need my attention.

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