Every time I hit the application submit button lately, I swear I hear a toilet flushing in the distance. Well, okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic. But I’m sure I am not the only person to ever be unemployed who has started to wonder if the submit button actually does anything and if my applications actually go anywhere. Or if there is a whole department of people at every company, whose primary responsibility is to laugh at the application from people who had no business applying for certain jobs? And oh crap, am I in that pile of applications that gets laughed at? And do I really need to take the first job offered to me even if my gut and every fiber of my being says no? Can we afford for me to be picky and hold out for that “job” that I am hoping to find? Do I actually start trusting my gut?
Throughout my life, I’ve never been particularly good at that “Following my gut” thing because I tend to think things through with my head. How is this going to affect my family? How is this going to help us pay our bills? Will this finally help us get ahead? So when my gut was causing me to have stomach aches and headaches when I started my last job, I guess maybe I should’ve listened and ran for the hills, or at least started begging to go back to my old job. But I didn’t, which has led me to my current situation. In retrospect through, begging back my old job wouldn’t have made my gut any happier because it wasn’t too keen on me keeping my mouth shut there and taking what I didn’t deserve over and over again.
Stupid gut! I just wish life itself came with instructions. Screw the instruction booklet for raising children, that’s like 99 percent common sense anyway so if you don’t have any common sense you just might be out of luck. I’d rather have the instruction booklet or even the dummy’s guide for how to live life without losing your mind or killing/severely beating someone (either thing I have not or will never do, just to mention). That actually might be too much to ask. But wouldn’t that be awesome, just one day when you’re young and you start having to make real decisions and you get stumped. Out of nowhere, THUMP, this giant How to book just falls at your feet. It wouldn’t have to give you all the answers because what fun would that be. But rather a little guidance, pointers, fun facts and tidbits on how to live life to the best of your ability.
Okay, needless to say, I know I don’t have an unhappy life whatsoever. A husband who loves me. Two adorable little boys. Friends and family who are too exceptional to put into words. And on top of it, I’m a strong-willed, stubborn, intelligent woman.
And let’s not forget that college degree that was intended to open doors and my ‘years of experience’ that isn’t supposed to make me just another candidate in the pile. But with each passing day and another submitted application, how can I help not feeling like just another candidate in a whole dog pile of other candidates who look exactly like me with the same qualifications just probably with a different name, ethnicity, work experience and job titles? Even though I hope my resume, my cover letter, my qualifications, etc. stand out, the power of time is not on my side at least not according to my brain. Sometimes I think it’s like that bully kid on the playground that likes to taunt you while he leans against the chain link fence with his arms crossed. It’s the type of taunting and haunting scare that makes you want to run and hide even though he never says a word.
After having children, I have learned firsthand that children really do love their routines. But I have to admit that I do too. I think it’s human nature to get set in our ways and become comfortable in our lives especially when we are happy. For instance, after losing my job, it was weird not having somewhere to go every morning, not having to pick out my work clothes every evening before bed, or laying out clothes for the kids before putting them to bed, having to really be in bed by a certain time every night or even setting my alarm at night.
Since I was 17 years old, I’ve worked; whether at the restaurant down the street from my parents’ house, JCPenney’s, temp jobs over the summer during college, or a full-time job shortly after graduating college. Now I have all this time on my hands, looking for a job, spending time with my kids, tending to things around the house that never get done when both parents work. But the restlessness and uncertainty is sometimes unnerving because some things don’t handle time well either. For instance, a lack of health insurance does not bode well in the winter when everyone around you has some type of cold, flu or unknown plague they are breathing on you without any knowledge that if you were to contract said-illness, it would cause you an arm and leg just to be seen by your doctor. Then why don’t we have health insurance. Oh that’s right because a particular government website said we’re eligible for Medicaid while the department itself in Illinois that grants it says we’re not. Make up your minds, people! It’s not really polite to tell strangers, “Please don’t breathe on me because I don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to be sick.”
But throughout my life if there is one thing I have learned about life and that’s everything could change in an instant so there is not always a point in worrying too much about things that are somewhat out of your control. I believe finding a job is within my control in the way that I can continue applying every time I see a position that fits within my qualifications and interests. But then once the button is pushed, it’s up to a hiring manager, recruiter, CEO, executive director or whomever I’ve never met to like my application so much that they decide to give me a chance. Once that application is submitted, I’m on their time. Most of those people have many different responsibilities and tasks, which often means getting those positions filled are not on the top of their priority list. So I may start to think that after a week that I’m not getting a call, but in all reality, those applications may not have even been scanned over yet by anyone.
So the wait continues. In the meantime, this stay-at-home mom will continue to raid the job boards on a regular basis while making sure my boys don’t burn down the house around me before I get a chance to hit submit button at least one more time. And maybe the toilet flush will stop just long enough to land my application on the desk of the right person at the right company with the right position that is waiting for me to fill it.
Now that’s a nice dream!