Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lost & Found

Today I received news that I did not get a job that I really wanted. A job that I thought, in my delusional thoughts, was perfect for me and vice versa. Not only did I not get the job, I didn't even get a second interview.

This has me questioning a lot of things. Like what I know and what I don't (both practical knowledge and that intrinsic, intuitive knowledge). Like what I have been doing for the past 36 years - more specifically, the last 8 years - when I have been A) doing association work, and B) raising a child; both of which I would like to devote a number of the rest of my adult years to.

I've lost some things and I've found some things. Is it an even trade? It depends on the day; sometimes the hour. It also depends on who you ask.

I've lost confidence in my ability to network effectively with other adults. Because there is no news scroll on Noggin, I am woefully unprepared to hold a conversation on Obama's health care plan, the pros and cons of getting involved in the Iranian unrest (do I get points for knowing there is unrest?) or the latest trends in change management.

I have found the ability to engage preschoolers in a game of Infinity Questions (adults know it better as "20 Questions") on topics as broad on why it is NOT raining, why the Play-Doh is red and what makes glue stick.

I have lost three years of my career, where I could have been promoted to senior manager or maybe even department head (again, have I mentioned I am delusional?). This includes professional development, trends in association management, opportunities to be mentored and, perhaps, to mentor.

I have gained three and a half exceptional years with my son. Years that I would not trade for all the professional opportunity in the universe.

I have lost a great percentage of my professional confidence. Do I know how to effectively recruit and retain volunteers? Can I still write a successful communication and marketing plan? Could I EVER? I don;t even know anymore.

I have found maternal instincts that I never thought I had and never believed I even wanted. This includes trusting my gut when it comes to discipline, nutrition, education and many other aspects of making sure my phenomenal boy turns into a happy, healthy, productive member of society.

I've lost confidence, found loads of doubt. Lost security and found a whole new world of worry.

I've lost time. And I've found it.


Tammy Howard said...

If there were a perfect answer to the working mom/stay-at-home mom question, we'd all choose it. There are certainly pros and cons on both sides.

I know in choosing to stay at home - then work part time - then stay at home some more I gave up a lot of myself and I'm not sure I can ever find the pieces I lost. I'm pretty sure I'll never catch up in the work world.

I'm having a hard time coming to terms with that, now that my children's needs are so much less pronounced.

When they said we could have it all, they lied.

I am sorry about the COSI job... I've had a couple rejections for jobs I thought I was a perfect fit for, too. It's distressing and does a real number on the ego and the confidence.

You've got some other irons in the fire, though. When it's right, it will happen.

Chin up.

Shannon Baskind said...


I'm not going to say that I know how you're feeling, because no one ever really does. We all have our own triggers, hang-ups, and coping mechanisms.

I can tell you, however, that I went through a period of my life when I was trying to make the leap from the customer-service-oriented world to that of the technically-oriented. Doing so was not easy, because I hadn't had the forethought to, say, get a college degree or even take a single computer class in high school. I was turned down for about four different jobs by people who weren't convinced when I told them I had "learned by doing."

Once I got my first IT gig, though, I can tell you that it was - far and away - a better fit than any one of the jobs I had not gotten, all of which seemed so perfect at the time.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you certainly have every right to your feelings, but please, please, PLEASE do not begin to doubt yourself and your abilities. Anything you might have missed in the professional arena over the past few years is nothing compared to what you bring to the table.

You've often commented on how fortunate you are to have so many smart people around you, and you've even been kind enough to include me in that group. Listen to us all when we say that you are a victim of a terrible economy, and that any employer would be lucky to have you in any capacity. Listen, also, when we say that it will happen, and it will be worth the wait. This is not false hope or hollow praise - it comes from people who know what you are, what you can accomplish, and where you're headed.

Until you get there, though, we're all here for you.

SB and all of his Lady B's

Jenny Penny said...

Ditto to what Shannon says. I worked with you when you were a total greenhorn, and even then, you were far and away a better producer, a better worker, a better colleague, a better mind than 99% of those I'd encounter as I continued down my career path. I do think a lapse in a resume, in the interest of motherhood, even for just a few years (though in my case, it will be more like 10 years) is hard to overcome. There's a distinct delineation now, a thick line marked by the era in which you stayed home with Jack. And you do a beautiful job of describing what that line does to a person's professional and inner life alike. I'm rooting for you. It'll happen.