In my bio, I wrote that I swore to never work in an office again. Well, I guess hell is getting a little chilly right about now, because I started a new job at a physical office. What one might call a "real" job.
And the world has yet to end.
While I do love the freedom of freelancing, the constant hustle for work coupled with chasing down payments has become somewhat less attractive these days. After deciding to send my kids to regular schools in the fall (no more on-line charter school), I started thinking about how it was I was going to fill my days. I had so many wild dreams.
- Becoming an integrative health coach. Why not?
- Open up a bento lunch bar. Naturally, we'll serve cold-pressed juices.
- Ride my bike sixty miles a day to train for a cross-country ride.
- Become a Yoga Instructor. Open up my own studio.
- Finally learn to surf instead of just flopping around on a board.
- Or just screw surfing and buy a paddle board and ride it every day in the sun.
- Teach yoga on paddle boards.
- Go back to taking pictures of families on the beach.
- Start a new YouTube series and finally become a vlogging sensation.
- Start a co-op space for creatives and misfits that pay rent on time.
Unfortunately, none of those things pay the bills. I mean, they could... eventually. Except for the surfing thing. I was going to have to get a "real" job, as opposed to my virtual work, but I also wanted to make sure that I didn't get into a position that I would later regret. So I set about spiffing up my LinkedIn profile and resume to reflect the work I've done since starting my blog and the work I wanted to land.
That was not as easy as I thought it would be.
My work life before blogging was very linear. I had one job at a time with one title at a time for one company at a time for at least a year at each place. Before I got started blogging, I spent several years at home being mom. I worried about potential employers looking at my resume and seeing a gap of time.
The dreaded gap... the gaping void of not working.
It's not that I wasn't working. I was caring for my new kids, taxi-ing my older kids all over town, and working on a lovely patio garden out on the west side of my house. I also enjoyed long days at the beach and volunteering at the welcome desk at my church. Okay, so maybe it wasn't hard work... but whatever. It wasn't anything that I could put on a resume. It was just going to have to be a gap between the years 2000 and 2008.
Then came the daunting task of summarizing all the random things I had done and trying to create a resume that would properly organize those random things in a way that was not necessarily linear, but would at least be organized and understandable. I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at what other people with similar histories have done, which seems like a good idea... unless you have issues with not being enough. I totally started comparing myself to others and wondering how my life would have turned out if I would have made different choices. Or if my mom would have let me go to the other high school. Or if my grandma had met some other man and not my grandpa. Or if my great-grandparents had never moved out to California...
Confession: I tend to over-complicate the simple.
After climbing out of the self-pity hole, I got back to work. It took a while, but I eventually found enough examples and job descriptions that matched what it was that I had done that I was able to cobble together a summary that explained what I have been doing for the last seven years. When I look back at pictures and blog posts, I remember how much cool stuff I've actually done. It's not easy touting yourself. It's a lot like having to write your own bio. You know what you've done and you know that you rocked it, but if you have enough humility or possible "deserve issues," getting that out in black and white can be intimidating. I had to really work at getting out of my own way.
So I finally created a summary and organized my stuff in a way that seemed decent. I upgraded to Job Seeker Premium on LinkedIn and set about applying for jobs. I also did something that was uncomfortable to do, but I'm so glad I did. I posted my LinkedIn profile on Facebook wall and told people what I was looking for. My views shot up, which was great for whatever algorithm monkeys they've got over at LinkedIn, because suddenly, my profile was being found in searches.
I got a few calls, a couple of companies actually contacted me first, one of which asked me in to meet. I ended up going all the way down to the wire against a guy with a more linear history and with experience at a big name electronics company. Unfortunately, I didn't get the job. And oh my goodness, I'm embarrassed to admit... I cried. I really wanted that job! But there was something more about it that stung. I felt like I wasn't good enough for the job.
Once again, I had to climb out of that self-pity hole and realize a few things. A) They found me and liked what they saw, so much so that they contacted me; B) I made it through a series of interviews, being told by a few of my interviewers that I pretty much had the job, and C) I went up against a guy who probably didn't have an eight year gap in his resume and probably did have a degree. I felt slightly empowered by that and decided to continue my job search.
One day, my phone rang, and it was a company I had had a couple of initial phone interviews with. I didn't have a degree nor did I have industry experience, so I assumed they passed on me. Turns out, I was still in the running. Something the HR person said made me smile:
"We've been enjoying your work."
I came in for a formal face-to-face and was told they had a few other people to talk to. I didn't hear anything by the end of the week, so I figured that was that. But then on Monday, I got an offer. I wanted to make sure they were cool with me continuing my random side projects and they were. So I said, "Sure... why not?!"
And now I'm gainfully employed at an office. A real one, as opposed to virtual. Some things remain the same, though. My official title is Blogger.
See... you CAN make money blogging. ;)