I've decided that what bugs me most about this whole unemployment experience is that it has forced me out of my comfort zone and is forcing me to have to make decisions, which is one of my all-time least favorite things to do. A month ago I was just working away, minding my own business, churning out a ton of work, and now I sit here a month into my forced "vacation" trying to figure out what my future holds. I still find it ironic that when the new year started I noticed the distinct lack of "things on the horizon". Many people state that this will be "their year", or are excited that something big is going to happen or a major change is going to be made. I just didn't feel any of that. We were fine in our jobs and the kids are moving along. Now that they've both been born and learned to crawl and walk, most of the milestones in our future seem much more gradual. For example, Jacob is constantly improving his reading and Carter is constantly learning to talk more. Potty training might be the next big one, and even that one is a little gradual! But anyway, it just seemed like this year didn't have any clearly positive changes ahead. Little did I know that a couple weeks later, everything would change.
Now that it has, I hate that I'm having to tackle all of this "uncomfortable" stuff. That may be what makes me most bitter at this point. I hate having to sell myself, I hate having to do interviews and make first impressions, I hate having to start from zero and learn a whole new job. I have no choice at this point but to do all of it to get back to where I was. Of course, it's probably important that I do all of this stuff again. It's been nine years and the farther you get out of the game, the harder it is to get back in. So I know that in the long run, this is a growth experience. Even when I changed jobs the last time, I was shocked at how amazing it was to learn new things and get a fresh start. I truly hope that same feeling is in my future, so in the long run I probably will be thanking my old job for letting me go. But in the meantime it's hard.
One of the things I'm finding hardest about the job hunt itself is that I'm not sure where I truly belong. My previous job title was a marketing analyst, but the two jobs that I've applied to with similar titles involve some skills that I don't have. The other jobs that I've applied to utilize some skills from both of my old jobs. When I bring up job sites, I don't really know what to search for. The analyst jobs are a little different than what I was doing before, and I'm actually open to other things, but my other skills don't lend themselves to clear search keywords. I wouldn't even have known to search for the other jobs if an old friend of mine didn't handpick them for me.
There are moments when I wonder if I should be using this as the opportunity for a total switch. Maybe it's time to do something totally different. Of course, I don't really have the luxury to go back to school or learn a special skill. I can't just pick up an entry level, run-of-the-mill job at this point if I expect to get back to what I was making before. I need to build on the experience that I already have if I want to maintain our normal standard of living. And, of course, as I've been home with Carter I have many moments where I've confirmed how much I would love to be home part time. I love the extra time with him, I love having flexibility and time for both kids' schedules, I love being able to be a more available backup for Craig. I really appreciate having more time to think and plan so I'm not so scatterbrained and last-minute. Having the time at home has been a weight off my shoulders. Again, I know that's not an option long-term. As excited as I am to get a job, I will be sad to see my time end, if only because those little luxuries have been such a joy.
But even the mere fact that my mind even has a chance to wander to these impossible places is part of the frustration I've felt in the past month. I was fine in my prior existence. I never asked for any of this personal growth. I don't want this opportunity to allow me to feel like I'm missing out or to make me feel like I need to make any difficult decisions that could impact my family. I was fine in my old life and resent that this change makes me have to re-examine everything. Could it make things better? Maybe. But none of the good stuff ever comes without discomfort, and that's what I hate. Whether it's discomfort for me or the ones I love, none of it feels good...even though in the long run it could be so much better.
Part of me wishes I could go back in time and find a way to avoid this fate. At the same time, another part of me knows that everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't want to give back the time I've had this past month either, and I know this is a huge opportunity to better us overall. I just hate the in-between. I need to get brave...fast!