Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Awesome Un-Job

I came to two startling realizations last night:

1. Grad school parties are exactly the same as undergrad parties, only nerdy-er and more selective. But not in a bad way! We went to a CMYK party last night, everyone was very welcoming, fun and dressed colorfully. Maybe it's because the Grige is endearing and did a good job of getting people excited to meet me, but I felt very welcome.

Cool-ass graphic via Tough Little Spider blog

2. I am way more comfortable talking about being unemployed than I ever was talking about my last job. Where are you in your career when you feel more confident and in control talking about how you sit on your couch and blog all day than you feel talking about your very well paid work as a legal recruiter?

I think I felt so much better talking about my plans for unemployment because I have a plan. In my job, I just sort of let things happen to me. My boss was generally in charge of my work flow, and every time I tried to invest and make myself essential to the completion of some facet of our work, I was told to "not worry about it" and just go home on time and that someone else would deal with the nitty gritty.

I'm not saying that wasn't nice. It was! I worked decent hours, didn't spend much time worrying about work and was very well paid. However, at this stage in my career, it really started to get to me to not feel "needed". While I was constantly thanked for my "hard work" and knew that what I did was helpful, I still had little to no control over how my work got done and felt like any one of the thousands of jobless recent grads out there could walk in and do exactly what I was doing.

That is a really good lesson to take into the job hunt with me: I'm not going to do my best work or enjoy my job if I don't feel "needed": Like I offer something important and unique to my work that is useful in the overall function of the company. It also re-affirms my decision to hold out for a job I really want. I don't feel like I'm wasting my time at all on my shorter-term unemployment goals.

What can you take away from this? If you're having a hard time talking about your job (and in a city like DC, I had to do this A LOT), something probably is wrong, and it may be worth your time to stop what you are doing and figure out what it is. Because even unemployment can have a positive spin. 

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