Friday, September 12, 2008

Job Hunting

A very dear and wise friend once told me that there is a difference between one's job and one's work. "A job," he told me "is something you do to make a living." "Your work is what you do for life."

I was very fortunate to have received this bit of wisdom before I was even old enough to get a job. And, the philosophy worked for me for a number of years. But now, I'm at that point in life where I have to wonder what my work truly is. There have been times when I thought I knew, but that knowledge was only temporary, which brings me to a personal philosophy: I believe that we are our truest selves when we are 10 years old. When I was 10 years old, I use to sit in front of my sister's portable typewriter willing myself to learn how to type so that I could become a writer. I wanted to write books like Charlotte's Web, narrative stories that captured the imagination of the reader so well that they never felt lonely as long as the book was open. I guess I was pretty lonely as a kid, and part of the desire to write was to keep someone else from being lonely.

So, in a perfect world, I would make money for doing just as I'm doing now, pontificating via keyboard my own inner dialogue as though it matters. I actually enjoy all sorts of writing: informative essays, critical writing, copy writing, poetry and now this blog. But that pipe dream is at the moment unlikely, thus I once again must go through the painful process of finding a job.

Job hunting can be tricky. There's a fine balance between finding the job one wants and the job one needs. And like any relationship, there first has to be an attraction, and then intrigue, maybe some negotiation, and then comfort and even security. Looking for a job is very much like looking for a mate. Considering that for many of us, we spend as much, if not more waking time at work as we do at home, liking the tasks we are to perform and the people with which we do those tasks with or for is both helpful and essential.

Job hunting can be both rewarding and humiliating at the same time. Just the resume can sometimes be traumatic, specifically if one's experience and skills are less than stellar. Luckily I have both good skills and good experience, but I've also come to realize that I'm at that point in my career where I am over-qualified for a lot of jobs but not quite experienced or qualified enough for the next rung. I'm also at a point where I can no longer work for less than I am worth. After all, I am a grown up with grown up responsibilities, such as a mortgage. And I've become accustomed to a certain quality of life.

So what does one do at this point? Do I seek out a job, or do I seek out my work? Despite the bad economy, I can't help but think my chances of finding a job I like are good. As for my work, I also have a strong belief that in the end things tend to work out. Then again, I can't help but feel like I'm at a Jr. High dance, in my best outfit, hoping to be noticed, hoping to be recognized for the great potential that I am.

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