Hard-Working Unemployed And Hopeful – Yes That Fits
This is about to be THE most personal blog post I’ve written in a while but I’m inspired to write today because of what I just experienced. It confirms that while the economy is improving (albeit slowly), the dynamics of the job market haven’t really changed (which is also evidenced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report).
It’s Saturday morning. With it being the weekend, most people “sleep in” Saturday mornings. Even if “sleeping in” is until 8am, it’s still a day off from the usual grind and thus, there is a reason to get more shut eye. Usually, I sleep until about eight o’clock unless I have to be somewhere. This morning, I had to be somewhere.
I just spent a couple of hours of my Saturday morning not having breakfast with friends or taking in a garage sale. Rather, I got my butt out of bed and high-tailed it to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for their annual Job Fair for the upcoming minor league baseball season. Why? Because I need the income and I figure if I have to take a part-time position somewhere, it’s going to be some place fun, where I can interact with people (this should not be a surprise!), and where I know I am making a difference to my employer and their clientele, even if their clientele is a four year-old future slugger. I knew there would most likely be hundreds of candidates there, but I didn’t anticipate the reality check that would hit me.
The applicants I shared a room with seemed to be just like me, at least that’s the impression I got. I’m guessing a majority of them were 35 and up, and during the nearly two hours I spent at the Park, I saw businessmen in suits, retired men and women, some college-aged (or graduates), a couple of high schoolers. I talked to a couple of folks that were just looking to pick up extra work as well as one person who literally is just like me – been unemployed for a lengthy period of time, volunteering, consulting, etc. just to maintain a fresh foot in the market place.
But, that’s just four of us out of 100+ that were…talking. The majority of the room was silent, somber-looking even. While I sat there waiting my turn this morning, I kept thinking back to my younger days…not my teenage – carefree ones… but rather, just 10-15 years ago when I applied for part-time jobs for “fun money”. Seeing so many of us in that room that most likely needed the extra income was actually a reality check. You hear about these kinds of stories but until you experience it, you don’t really understand.
Over the last two years, I have worked tirelessly at finding the perfect job for me. When I first became unemployed (due to this economic climate), I wasn’t willing to settle. As long as I had unemployment benefits skirting my bank account every week, I was determined to take the time to find that perfect job.
I began volunteering for local events, non-profits, and church activities just to keep myself and my expertise out there. I took a part-time job for added income and even worked a full-time three-month contract job at one point. To top it all off, I started my own networking group for women (I saw a need in our community and I filled it) — all the while searching, applying, and interviewing for that perfect full-time job. I can successfully say, it is possible to be hard-working AND unemployed!
I went to the Durham Bulls this morning out of necessity, but I also went because well…it’s the Durham Bulls! How can I pass up an opportunity for someone like me, a sports fan, to work with a team of crazy fun baseball enthusiasts? I can’t. If I get the job, I know it too will be hard work, but I will have so much fun doing it!
And it will be another source of income that truthfully, I need. I haven’t found that perfect job yet and yeah, I’m at the point where I’ve expanded my search, both in job description and in geography. It’s a harsh reality. It’s my harsh reality.
I have hope though! I always have. Despite everything, I remain optimistic that someone somewhere will notice my talents & expertise, wonder where I’ve been all their lives (OK, maybe not quite that), and will hire me. That’s not being egotistical either. That’s just being real. I know God blessed me with amazing gifts that are just ready to be shared.
I am hard-working and unemployed but I have hope!
And that fits.