I have been unemployed for several months now. I spent the first few months working on a few proposals that did not get funded. I spent the next two months working on a few small contracts that landed in my lap. And I have spent that last 3 months applying for jobs.
It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. I have been working for 30 years. I have a wealth of experience. I have done some very interesting and useful work. BUT there are few jobs for someone with my experience and I am NOT getting interviews for those that are out there.
It has been terrifying financially. While I have been working for 30 years, I have no pension and am NOT able to retire yet. It has been humbling. I am not getting interviews for jobs where only 3 years of experience are needed. It has been emotionally devastating. I am someone who loves to work. When I do a job, I give it everything. I have been a leader in my field for decades but now, it seems, that no one values the work I have spent my life doing.
Everyone wants hard technical skills these days; the kind learned in university. With a masters degree that was earned 30 years ago, my technical skills are weak and out of date. I have strategic skills, project management skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills – skills built upon experience – but these skills are hard to sell.
I am struggling to stay positive; to believe that there is a job out there for me. On my good days, I tell myself that I have not been hired yet because there is a job that I am meant to do that has not yet become available. But that requires faith in the Universe and in myself.
On my bad days, I beat myself up for all of the decisions that I have made that have led to me to being here on the “outside”, while colleagues with equal or lesser skills are on the “inside” with job security, pensions and benefits.
I remind myself that there were good reasons for each decision I made. In each case, I left to do something that was better for my family, improved my quality of life, or fed my soul. In each case, there was a leap of faith. In each case, things worked out. In each case, I was given the opportunity to do something new, something challenging, something valuable to society. But in every case, the leap itself was terrifying.
So, here I am again, in free fall once more, casting my net out in many directions, and trusting that “things will work out” because I have followed that deeper calling that whispers in my ear.