Monday, January 16, 2012

Hi ho, it's off to work I go...

In less than 12 hours, I'll be re-entering the workforce for the first time in 7 months. No, it doesn't have the kick-ass travel option I yearn nor is it an industry with a bright future.  What it does offer is a chance to get my recently flagging confidence back and make new networking connections. AND...I'm very ready to take this next step on my career path. 

For most of the time I'd been unemployed, I was fairly unfazed about it. True, I endured a major life change with the loss of my Dad almost three months in.  Settling his affairs and finding a comfort level  with my Mom being completely on her own for the first time in 45 years took another month and a half.  During that time I also tried to study for the Foreign Service Officer test and did indeed take it, though my focus was sorely missing. Still and all, I am glad I was blessed with that down time when it was so critically needed. By the time I was approaching my 7th month of displacement though, I found myself quite a bit more than a little discouraged.  No matter how much I disliked my last job, there was definitely something amiss when I awakened without a familiar routine and then again at day's end lacking the reflective satisfaction (or not) of having accomplished goals, even in part. I loved the interaction with others, the challenges of issue resolution, learning new things and, of course, the freedom that came with earning a paycheck even if the greater portion went to bills.

During the time I was displaced, I scoured the 'net for hours most weeks but only got a dozen
total responses. On one interview they obviously called me and everyone other warm, unemployed body they could find to fill the room because looking around, I honestly felt like I was in the land of misfit toys. I'd like to think I was placed there purely by accident. Anyway, from what I read and heard (on radio programs) with the job market being what it is, lots of folks didn't even get that much attention.  And I've also heard that after about 9 months of unemployment, potential employers begin to look at you as untouchable and like I said, I was in month 7.

A friend called me almost two months ago and asked if I'd be interested in working with her though she knew I had little interest in returning to my former industry.  For the last year she has sung the praises of this company and I count her among my best friends so I don't think she'd steer me wrong. One of the perks of my new position will be that due to the length of my commute, once I'm trained, I will again get to enjoy the office that lies about 25 feet from my bedroom with the wildlife views and babbling brook rushing to Lake Marburg in the comfort of whatever I chose to wear - home sweet home. 

Then just three days ago, I encountered two amazing women  - one just starting out and the other a veteran. The younger is an International Studies major heading to Belgium for a semester abroad but the older one epitomized the path I've envisioned for myself.  She was a retired Foreign Service Officer who looked like me for lack of a better description - brown and voluptuous. She has lived all over the world and though now retired still takes a few consulting assignments each year that take her to exotic locales, most recently Bosnia. During our conversation. I mentioned that I, too, had taken the Foreign Service Officer exam - unsuccessfully, three and a half times to be exact. (The half time I got so disgusted at my lack of recall that I punked out midway through the test and left at the break). Anyway, I gave up the dream of becoming a FSO with my last unsuccessful attempt. The test is only given twice a year and if unsuccessful you have to wait almost a full year to re-take it. The veteran encouraged me not to give up, if a life abroad is truly what I want and rather than studying the way I had in the past to read several foreign newspapers a day for a while instead. 

I think it a bit serendipitous that after giving up my dream of life as a FSO I finally met one - and she looked like me. And while I don't know where this position nor increasing my readership of foreign papers will lead it IS a new year and I'm willing to take some chances again 'cause you know...I'm fearless.









1 comment:

Teri's Trek said...

Welcome back! It seems you were offline the last couple of days. I agree with the FSO VBG- who knows where a different approach will lead you. Congrats on the new gig!