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.

4 Comments

  1. Peter Maria says:

    I’m sorry that you are having a hard time finding work. I applaud your confidence that you could make a cross-country move without a job to land in. You’re where you want to be, so hopefully you’ll find a job there, too.

    In the meanwhile, have you considered a weekend hike at Silver Falls State Park? While it’s “wet” is a good time to see it; there are several falls that are best seen during this time of year. If your friends aren’t familiar with it, you can find the park online or just head south down I-5 towards Silverton. Silverton is a great little town, kind of like a Mayberry of the Pac NW. The Oregon Garden is there for a fee, too, altho I read they are struggling. You can view a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home there, as well, for an additional fee.

    Best of luck. You may have to cast your bread upon the waters of the more desolate areas of Oregon (the southern coast, for example, or Cthulu-forbid the central area or anywhere on the east side of the Cascades).

  2. brettcajun says:

    LOL. I did NOT mention anything about administering a prostate exam or alien probing your Cartman sized ass.

    As the ONLY sane person in this insane asylum called the Blogworld, I take my role seriously with you wayward angst-filled others. If only your Moms would let me swing a belt, I can fix each and every one of you. Except for CB. No person has the energy, tools, or proper training to fix IT.

  3. Jeffrey C says:

    Would you want to apply your experience and work for a nonprofit association? If so, check the listings at http://www.asaecenter.org. You can select a listing by state to see of there is anything in Oregon.

  4. joey says:

    “…and you will regret it.” How true! I just got a new job after an extended search, and already I’m wishing I could just retire. That’s not in the cards yet. Hang in there, Jim, your next position is out there and will reveal itself in time. For now, try to keep the anxiety at bay and enjoy your freedom.