Jobless – Part 13

Because I’m out of work, I’m missing open enrollment season in the benefits industry this year. I’m able to look back and study myself during recent seasons past. There were some personal needs that were definitely lacking. But I powered through. I have learned I am not always good about taking the advice I would give others and sometimes you have to pull back and critically review where you are. I’m going to change that going forward. I encourage you to do a sanity check yourself. Are you working in the right place for you?

As I continue to interview for jobs, I ask a lot of questions about the office environment And company culture. It’s one of my critical elements. I believe in teamwork. Co-workers should look out for each other. Work-life balance is important. Someone should care if I am working too many hours, not be impressed by it. Someone should notice weariness in my eyes or when I lose heart. I should notice the same in them. We should be there to lend support and work to make sure we’re all OK. I didn’t ask those questions in the past. I should have.

It’s evidently not a common avenue of questioning from applicants in interviews. I get a few weird looks. Like I caught them off guard. Like no one’s ever asked that sort of question before. Surely that’s not the case. Shouldn’t it matter?

I started to wonder if this line of questioning would keep me from getting jobs. Maybe. But logically, those are jobs I don’t want anyway. That’s actually the purpose of the questions. It’s easy to forget that. To remember that employment is a two-way street.

I have a strong work ethic. I have always loved my work. With every job I have ever had. I didn’t love the cleanup when waitressing and working fast food….but even then, it wasn’t horrible. But there are certain elements that made all the difference in how much I loved where I worked. I love being part of a team. I work best in the “I have your back and you have mine” kind of atmosphere, where our bond strengthens during the tough times because we come through for each other. Where we are all willing to do what it takes to meet goals and commitments…and we won’t watch one person shoulder the load on their own. We’re there to help them carry it. I admire smart people who are good at what they do….and typically I love working with them. But they must play well with others, or it changes things….to their detriment. They miss out on the joy of iron sharpening iron. And my assessment of them changes. They’re not so smart after all.

We live in a world that often celebrates total self sufficiency to its detriment. I believe in community. A functional community that works for the good of all. I’m not looking for perfection. I am looking for a strong community of imperfect people. That’s where I’ll fit in best. I like people who acknowledge we all have strengths and weaknesses and who know those of each other. It’s then you can really help each other get better. The success we build together makes any job more satisfying.

I don’t doubt my ability. I haven’t lost my self confidence yet. In fact, it has been revived. I feel good about who I am and what I have accomplished. I do doubt the ability of “the system” to recognize it sometimes, though. I know there are great employers out there that need someone like me. How do we find each other?

While I do get frustrated at times, and am often befuddled about the hiring practices of corporate America, I still consider this time a gift. I have been able to decompress and re-energize. And I can’t help but be thankful for being reminded that so many people are good and want to help…. “my people” are so great. I had a couple more people give me recommendations on Linked In this week. Their words are meant for those who are considering me for positions, but are an encouragement to me, too. Some other people are getting my resume in the hands of potential employers and recommending they consider me for positions. I know what jewels these are. Not everyone helps or follows through. But that happens with humans.

This Sunday our sermon was on I Corinthians 12….about how the body functions best when all its different parts are working together, for the good. Businesses….and our personal lives… work best the same way.

It feels at times as though I’m a piece of a puzzle looking for where I fit It also feels as though the person doing the puzzle has not noticed that the piece they are looking for has fallen under the table. I know those in my industry are working through the haze of open enrollment, and that can be overwhelming and prevent them from having time to interview or make decisions about new employees. I will wait until someone concentrates on finishing the puzzle that needs my piece. I hope it happens soon. I’m ready to work. But in the meantime, I will enjoy life. Why waste precious minutes stressing about something I can’t control?

16 Comments

  1. I”m glad you’re staying positive. Looking for work can be a challenging and frustrating proposition. Sharing the struggles, doing nice things for yourself – these are important.

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  2. Yes….there are certainly moments of frustration, but overall it has been such a gift. I try to do something for others at least each week, and have done some great, indulgent things for me, too. Just time to read for fun for hours on end…..a simple pleasure, but one I didn’t get to take advantage of often when I was working.

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  3. I may have missed your field, but job-hunting, especially if you can’t relocate, can be daunting. It’s been a long time. I usually think these things work out better, but that’s a while to have to deal with it. I send you all good thoughts.

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    1. I work with employee benefits, most recently as a benefits consultant in a major consulting firm. I want to stay at least somewhat in the field (working for an insurance carrier or as Benefits Director for a company mare other possibilities). But I can relocate, which helps. Thanks for the good thoughts….they are appreciated!

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  4. One of the most important things about job hunting is staying positive. I’ve been out of work a while, quite a while in fact, and keeping on with submitting quality applications is hard. After a while you find yourself fighting that nagging feeling of homelessness, fighting the urge to lie in just a little longer.
    I’m in UK and on unemployment benefits at so if I don’t look for work it’s zero income rather than the pitence the state gives me.
    Keeping the routine of job hunting is important, going somewhere to job hunt is one way of doing this. Work hard to hunt down and apply for the right job but keep a sense of humour, you’d be amazed at the things you can find to laugh about especially if you can laugh at yourself. A particularly UK thing is make your UC work search journal username a positive affirmation so each time you log in your typing something good about yourself. And learn how to spin examining how politicians speak is good for this spin is different from lying and puts a bit of fun into job hunting.
    That said I’ve got an interview coming up soon wish me luck.

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    1. Good luck indeed! I hope this is the one. Let me know how it goes. We’re in this together.

      I agree about staying positive and keeping a sense of humor. While I lost my job due to an office closure, I have never really seen it as a bad thing. It was time for me to go somewhere new and I have always believed it was meant to be. I consider it my next adventure. I’m also on unemployment benefits now in the US and have to fill out weekly reports demonstrating I am actively looking. I was already doing it, but there are weeks finding jobs I want to apply for is difficult. But so far it us working out. I had an interview last week and a couple of good calls this week, so I’m feeling good. If they go negative though, it is deflating. Until I get an acceptable offer, I’ll keep looking. I’m putting as many irons in the fire as possible.

      My mom’s family is in S Wales and I will be visiting there in November. The trip was planned before I lost my job, though I can’t make plane reservations until I figure out where I am going to be living! Hopefully if I have a new employer by then, they will be understanding.

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      1. Yea! Let me know how it goes! I just discovered a job is open in my town that could possibly meet my qualifications. I didn’t think it would be possible and was prepared for a long commute or a move. But to not have to do either would be amazing. I haven’t even applied yet, and don’t know if they can meet my salary needs, but it is nice to have even the possibility! I hope all of us jobless bloggers will be settled by the new year.

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  5. Kim, I just had dinner with my brother who lost his job as a furniture salesman in June. He found something but is making a lot less money. Unfortunately, he does not have any savings so he is on his own. I will keep you in my prayers. Remember that God knows what is on the other side of this and remind ourselves that it has to be on His time table.

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  6. It’s tough to make that decision to take less money. I am sure that was frustrating for your brother. Those are tough decisions. And yes, I trust God’s plan….even when it’s not on my timetable. I see glimmers of why it may be taking so long, and they are good.

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  7. I so feel your frustration. I see jobs still posted that I interviewed for several months ago. If they are looking for perfection, I have news- there is no such thing. The fulfilling position is out there, and it will happen. Prayers for you and your future employer. Admire you so much

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