Ch-ch-ch-changes. Life these past 18 months has been full of ’em. And it doesn’t look as if it is slowing down. I am looking at picking up job number 3 in less than 12 months. I am blessed with an incredible professional network that has worked incredibly hard for me.
I have to say that being unemployed was scary; but being under-employed was even scarier. Why? No health insurance. No unemployment benefits. And working full-time and trying to find a job that would allow me to make what I had been making in 2008 has been difficult. When you are unemployed, you can believe that “your job” is around the corner. When you are under-employed, it is easy to equate the small paycheck with your skillset. It is extremely easy to doubt what you are capable of doing.
My savings grace (get it, “savings” grace) was that I hadn’t paid my self-employed taxes for the last quarter of 2008. Although that choice is now taking a chunk out of my paycheck, I would make the same choice again. It is amazing how fast an emergency will eat into your emergency funds. Also what surprised me was the price I was willing to pay to keep my house. Four words here…”Thanks Mom and Dad!” I estimate it will take me 3-4 years of employment to undo the damage of 11 months of unemployment/under-employment. Scary, right?
After 5 months of unemployment, I took a job making 80% less than I had previously been making. Why did I take it? I needed the cash. I needed the validation that I was capable of landing of job. What did I receive? A fantastic opportunity to learn about the world of non-profits and the opportunity to meet people who work every day to ensure that my community is well-tended. Some day I hope to be in a position to give back in time and money all that I received from those open-hearted and inspiring people.
When the opportunity arose to increase my take-home pay; I left the non-profit with their well wishes ringing in my ears. Leaving that job was difficult because of the wonderfully supportive people, but I needed to base all of my decisions at that time from a financial viewpoint. They made it easy for me to make that choice.
This next job has been another fantastic opportunity. It got me back in the corporate game. Not only did I increase my take-home pay (now making only 50% less than I was in 2008), I increased my professional skills as well. I have continued to hone my project management skills as well as added virtual training delivery/management to my resume. I am working with a fantastic team who take professionalism to the next level and who share my serious addiction to coffee. But I am still driven by my bank account and have been on the lookout up the next rung of the ladder.
What was the next change?
I have been blessed by being asked back to a program that I adored working for. I am being brought back at a wage that can sustain me and my family. I get to work with people whom I trust and admire; on a program that talks to my professional heart and soul. I am going to miss my new network of people; they motivate me and I still have lots to learn from them. I hope to work closely with them in the future and hope that they feel the same.
The program will not be the same; nothing ever remains the same. But the challenge to deliver the best program remains. I hope to bring virtual training delivery into the mix. I hope we can dust off what worked well and leave behind the broken bits. We are going to have to produce measurable results quickly to prove that this decision is viable. The challenge is real and I am looking forward to it.
Lessons from David Bowie? “Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange” Why? Because within the strange, you will find your next opportunity.