Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finding a meaningful career

One thing I was told again and again by friends and people I'd run into when discussing being laid off, at least in the early days of my layoff, was that things happen for a reason and that the best will come of this. I agree with fatalism to a certain point, but I also think we each make our own path based on the decisions we make. I was laid off almost six months ago (June 27, making the day after the day after Christmas a six-month anniversary I don't want to celebrate) and while I can partially agree to the premise that all things happen for a reason, I'm still searching for the good behind losing my job. Maybe when I find one the clouds will clear and I'll know where I stand in the universe.

But until then, I continue looking for full-time work. And one good thing I can pull from this search is that it gives me a chance to explore careers I probably wouldn't have if I was still working at a newspaper. For example, as a newspaper reporter and editor, I could never take a stand on an issue, for fear that it would look like I had a bias on a story. I tried to keep my opinions to myself on politics and the like, and I didn't appear at community events such as a fund-raiser for a local politician I supported, because I worked at a newspaper and was to remain objective. I didn't mind because I loved my job so much.
Now I'm free to choose a career where I can have an opinion and if not actively advocate for a position, at least support it openly. For example, I want to work somewhere where I can not only make a difference, but can do work that will benefit the local community, if not the world. I want my writing, speaking and any other work I do in the job I'll eventually find to help benefit that cause. One arena could be in the "green" field, such as solar power or other energy fields, as I strongly believe that America should be rid of its foreign oil habit and be a leader in ending global warming.
As in journalism, I'd like to work somewhere that benefits people and serves a greater good. I enjoy informing people and helping them learn things, and helping them solve their problems. It may sound like an oxymoron, but I'd like to work in government for those reasons. I think government can help people achieve their best and provide services to make their lives better.
That's partly why I volunteered in the November election to help re-elect U.S. Congressman Jerry McNerney. He was a good candidate and someone with views that I could get behind. The writing and other work I did on that campaign gave me a lot of experience that I hope will lead to a job. It was a great learning experience that showed me I'm on the right path.
A few months ago someone from a career center at a community college reviewed my resume and was so impressed she said she couldn't think of much to change or add to the resume, just a few tweaks. She was amazed by my experience and was confident I would find a good job soon. I was doing everything she could think of to find work, such as networking, getting informational interviews, adding to my job skills and polishing my resume. I was a bit down because I had sent out many resumes and had interviews without any success. She pointed out that everything I'm doing is like a gardener planting seeds, and that all of the contacts and other things I've done in the job search would lead to some flowers growing and that I would have my pick of jobs.
I've planted plenty of seeds, and plan to plant more. I just want to see some start growing.
(NOTE: I've added multiple paragraph marks between paragaphs, and they aren't working. Any blogger experts, please advise.)

1 comment:

npd said...

No expert at blog formatting, I will just say that every once in a while the font goes silly in my blog and I have to delete and re-paste (from Word). The same thing happens in posts to our local newspaper. Go figure.

By the way, I truly admire your idealism and desire to find fulfilling, meaningful employment. And you are not alone in attempting to get a job outside your personal comfort zone. When we find the 'reason' that all these things just happened, maybe that challenging position will be ours. Blessings.