By Amy Morris
Losing your job is one of the most terrifying and exciting moments of a young person’s life. At least, that’s how I view it. In a single moment, I went from having a job I wasn’t in love with to sitting with a glass of wine contemplating the infinite possibilities of careers waiting for me to discover and jump into. It was a chance to start over, and who doesn’t love a fresh start?
Time “off” from work is not nearly as fun when you’re not sure when your next paycheck is going to come in. All of the things that I would have previously done with such an extended sabbatical, like take art classes, visit museums, have lunch with girlfriends, etc, were off the agenda due to a lack of funds. So, at the start of my unemployment, I stayed home and began to harbor a bit of resentment that I wasn’t able to go and do anything.
However, I made a deal with myself that spending some money in order to get out and network might be a good idea. I attended the Boston Women’s Conference in the hopes of learning, networking and a spontaneous job offer. However, I didn’t prep enough and spent the day in seminars, but making no new or valuable contacts. In an after-the-fact effort, I tried to contact a few of the women who I was moved by, but I didn’t get any responses. It was, for all intents and purposes, a wasted day, a failure.
A week later, I attended an informational session on a career in development given by a local employer. In the days prior to this meeting, I planned and prepped, determining exactly how I would handle myself. On the day of the session, I sat in the room full of “career transitioners”, who had no clue about development. Me, I had a year or so of exposure to the field, a few online seminars and multiple days of research under my belt and intended upon using the session as a prime opportunity to showcase my knowledge, contribute to the discussion and convince the hiring manager to “pick me! pick me!”.
Perhaps good in theory, but certainly not in execution.
It was one of those, “Really, Amy?” moments where I seriously questioned whether or not I should consider a personality makeover. I was overzealous and most likely off-putting, both to my fellow searchers and to the hiring manager. My jobless anxiety got the best of me and I’m almost positive that this is the reason that the hiring manager will not return my phone calls.
After my “too much”, “too little” Goldilocks- like experiences, I’ll admit I was a little afraid to go out. I spent time on the internet looking at job sites, “Hot Careers for 2009”, “The Best Kept Career Secrets”, and dozens of other sites in order to find my next move. The instant my boyfriend would walk in the door each night I would excitedly look up and announce new careers: Personal Trainer! Human Resources! Development! Psychologist! Writer! It would always be something different, and sometimes a little far-fetched. Perhaps more exhausted than I was from listening to all of my new ideas, one day he asked: “Is there anything that you don’t want to do?” I thought about it for a moment, and the answer was “yes,” I don’t want to be a mathematician, but other than that, the search was wide open. And this, my friends, is a big problem.
My enthusiasm for infinite possibilities immediately became daunting and unmanageable. It was not doing me any good to vaguely ask my network for leads they knew of or spend countless hours uncovering niche job titles of my dreams. There was so much information and suddenly I was overwhelmed.
Enter, the career-seeker crisis!
I immediately typed an ALL CAPS email to my mother and career coach frantically explaining all of my “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” about past career moves, college majors and choice of field. I felt lost. Not only did I feel lost, but I was becoming less motivated because I didn’t have a clear direction. It’s as though I had a map with ten different trails I would blaze at the same time. (I’m talented… but not that talented.) It was clear that I needed one main thing to work toward and action steps in order for me to get there. This would allow me to break the journey down and take pride in the milestones.
I strongly believe in employee training and development as a retention tool and team building as a way to increase job efficiency, by both encouraging creativity and respect among members. These basic ideas have led me to research the field of Human Resources and what I’ve learned has definitely made me want to pursue a career in it. I realize that I can’t necessarily start in this specialization, so I am currently looking for assistant, coordinator or like positions that would allow me to gain experience in Human Resources and allow me to work my way into something more specific.
I believe the skills I have in building and delivering effective presentations, creating and executing meaningful events, and hopefully, my uncanny love for team building activities could contribute to a company’s educational and organizational development goals. I’m excited about making this transition and seeing where it will begin. I’ve even reconnected with some folks in my network with more specific introduction requests and I’m hoping to have a third chance to find my “just right”.
Amy Morris is looking for for a position with an HR department in the Greater Boston area. If you know a company who might be interested in her, please contact [email protected] and we’ll put you in touch with her directly.