Getting off my butt and posting as ordered by Dr. Brett Cajun. Of course he also asked for a prostate exam with the consultation but I refused. I’d rather be probed by an alien. Same thing actually.
Anyway, it’s National Peace Corps Week and I posted an old pic of me on Facebook from when I served in Kazakstan. Seeing my fellow volunteers’ posts this week reminded me that I lived in Portland before I went to serve overseas.
The economic situation at that time was very similar to today. Clinton was making cutbacks in the government and federal job openings were hard to come by. I was set in my mind to be a park ranger at that time and was having difficulty finding full-time, permanent work in that field. I was working at Kinko’s Copies and an athletic club trying to make ends meet and it wasn’t working. Peace Corps service offered a degree of preferential hiring status with the federal government, although I don’t recommend you try Peace Corps for just that reason alone. Several of my friends from college had joined Peace Corps at the time and I thought it would be fun. The other part in the decision was job panic.
Looking back had I not done Peace Corps I may have set on a different career path, similar to the one I ended up with anyway. I was doing graphic design at Kinko’s and could have moved into that position had I not fled Portland so fast the first time. But hindsight is 20/20 as they say. The path that took me indirectly to DC was a good one, and I developed some good skills and a Master’s degree along the way.
Back then no one told me it might take dozens, if not hundreds of job applications to get a better job. I think I had sent out less than a dozen when I was in Portland the first time and was freaking out that I wasn’t getting any bites.
Fast forward to today, my job search is a little more focused. While I’ve widened my search to non-federal jobs in the area, I’m still trying to stay in my field of public affairs and social media. I’ve worked too hard to develop my career to drop it and take a job in another field. Plus it took me a long time to realize that’s what I like to do, and know what kinds of jobs I wouldn’t like to do. From past work experiences I know I can’t just go to work and fake it – I need to be interested in what I’m doing and then I enjoy doing what I do more.
Now with this sequester bullshit, there are few federal job openings, and I’ve noticed a dip in openings elsewhere too just like back in ’95. Everyone is holding their purses tight and not hiring. There aren’t even job openings back in DC in what I did with my previous federal job.
The urge to freak out and flee again is strong. Security is a warm and welcoming thing, and I don’t have much of that these days. But I try to remind myself on a daily (if not hourly) basis to hold out and keep looking. 15 years later I hope I’ve learned some wisdom along the way, and that this wisdom pays back for a change.
The other day the lovely Dingo asked me to dig up a post I wrote when I was previously unemployed so he could send it to his newly unemployed friend. It was good to go back and read what I wrote in 2009:
It’s not the end of the world. You will survive. You will work again one day and you will regret it.
I’m such a ray of sunshine.