I’ve been looking for work to supplement my income. I’m an older university educated woman, and am not ready to be put out to pasture. I’m job hunting in an area where people drop out of high school for that well-paying blue collar job.
A long, hard look at myself made me decide it’s best to think of myself as a multi-tracker. I’m happiest pursuing many interests, so why confine myself to just one? I hope to be able to sandwich part-time work. History has always been a passion of mine, but Fort Edmonton Park is hard to access without a personal vehicle. Scratch that idea.
Knowing too much is a problem. Proudly advertising a teaching degree on my resume won’t help me land those side hustle jobs. People assume I won’t stick around. Why would somebody who has worked as a teacher want to wash dishes? Bye bye degree, at least on paper.
We hear a lot about positive thinking in this culture. I reframe my thoughts. “I didn’t get one contact today” becomes “I had two interviews last week.” It helps with my blue moods.
With my blue moods comes anxiety. I tell myself to expect rejection. Visualization is a stress buster. I place myself on the beach by the Pacific, imagine the sound of the waves, and smell the green scent of the ocean. Relaxed, non-medicated sleep follows.
There are pitfalls to positive thinking that are not part of the current groupthink. One is delusion. Face it, the competition is tough. I can do everything by the book, but I still might not succeed. Working hard and making smart decisions certainly helps. There’s also luck.
Another problem with positive thinking is that it can make people feel totally responsible for their happiness. For someone who has been working long and hard to find that job, this is cruel and frustrating. I am willing to take responsibility for my happiness, but I am also living in a resource-based economy with the inevitable highs and lows.
So I work at it, do my research, but take the time to pet the cat.
I strive for a healthy life balance. I get up each day with at least a general idea of what I’ll be doing with my time. I vary my activities. I know thinking too much about getting that call will only drain my energy. So I sit behind the computer and send out resumes. I’m an introvert, but I know I have to circulate. I go to job fairs, distribute my resume by hand, check job boards, attend workshops, and make phone calls.
There is plenty of help available for job seekers. I like to attend the free BGS Enterprises Inc. workshops. They are led by seasoned people who give lots of good advice. The workshops on transitions and conflict management look good on a resume. I come out with my confidence boosted and a few more ideas in my toolbox.
Feature image: Job hunting for people over 50 is challenging due to entrenched attitudes. | Sam Wagar
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