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February 5, 2014

Testing the waters

For the last three years, I have not been actively seeking a new full-time job. I worked enough to pay my bills and took the down time in my career to become a wife and a mother.

Recently, I decided my soul has rested enough, and my empty pockets say it is time to re-enter the full-time workforce.

I’m different now because I don’t just want a job because it’s a job. I’d rather be broke than unhappy. I say this because I’ve worked enough to pay the bills, but they were in situations that left me unhappy and quite unhealthy.

For the past three years, I have been teaching as an adjunct professor. While I have been cynical about the pay that adjuncts receive and the second-class citizen treatment that happens occasionally, I enjoy very much being able to teach. It was an undiscovered passion.

Recently, I had the chance to interview for a full-time position. It was great to get myself back in the act of seeking a job and presenting myself in an interview, but I felt rusty and unsure I would do well. Sometimes my quirks get the better of me. I think I made a compelling case and at least brushed the layers of dust off my ability to sell myself to people.

As an aside, I’m a little out of practice in the art of the job search. I’m assuming more things are done electronically and not through the mail anymore. It would seem that mailing resumes might be the way to miss an opportunity. Perhaps I am wrong.

Either way, I’ve decided it is time to test the waters again. What opportunities are out there for someone with my experience in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding areas? I don’t see much, which says to me: Time to get creative.

I’ve had experience planning events, doing photography, in copywriting, editing, research and childcare.

I don’t particularly want to go back to childcare. I’ve got a child, and his care is demanding enough. I don’t think I’d be right for that job anymore. Plus, it is the type of job that taxes the immune system. If the kids get sick, I get sick, and then my son.

My past with research left me in a very unhealthy physical state. I’m certain it was a combination of limited activity and job stress. I learned a lot, but again, I don’t think I’d like to go back.

I’ve looked for event-planning positions and found one that appeared to be a great fit. Those positions, however, are rare. It is the type of job that also sounds like a great business model, if I were so inclined.

Finally, my skills as a writer come in handy for LEO and for teaching, but opportunities for writers in Louisville are slim.

So how do I translate what I know how to do well into a job that challenges me, holds my interest and pays me a decent wage?

I don’t know. That’s my dilemma.

I remember watching an episode of “Shark Tank,” and one of the businessmen mentioned that if you wanted to become a millionaire, you needed to identify a problem and then solve it. I haven’t been able to erase that from my mind. Not because I’m seeking to become a millionaire but because solving problems, or finding “solutions” (as I call them), is one of my favorite things to do.

My husband can attest to the amount of solutions I’ve developed throughout our relationship — from organizing his closet to rearranging our tiny space to accommodate a child. I love a good solution, especially if it works.

My issue is that the problems I see already have pretty reasonable and simple solutions. I need to find that “great” problem. It would be amazing if it utilized the skills I’ve spent so many years developing.

I have no answers. For once, my greatest conundrum is having no answer and no clue if an answer exists.

The positive is that now, I’m actually thinking about it and working to be sure there is an answer. I want my son to have his own room. I’ve mentioned that before. It’s important he learn to sleep without seeing his mother and father making hideous sleep faces or snoring.

I’ve tightened up my résumé and am taking baby steps to discovery and, hopefully, a simple and rewarding new situation. I do so love a solution.