A few weeks ago I found myself in a curious and precarious situation. On one of the coldest days of the year, I was crossing a busy intersection in Jersey City, while talking on the phone with the wind whipping around my head, making it almost impossible to hear. Did I mention this wasn’t just any conversation, this was a phone interview for a job? Oh, and did I mention the person on the phone wasn’t fluent in English?
“Yes, I have over 8 years of experience with… I’m sorry. You can’t hear me? Hold on.” Repositions phone and scarf, scurries past traffic to median. ”Yes, I said I have experience…”
Meanwhile, the honking cars and the wind weren’t giving up. You see I had been playing phone tag with this recruiter and supposedly it was “urgent” that he speak with me. Ugh! This has become my life—sort of. It was just two years ago (it’s been that long) that I was excited, outright exuberant about moving on from corporate America. But fast forward to today and I must admit that I miss being in the game.
It’s not that I’m not working. I’m what you would call underemployed. That phase of starting a new business where your actual dollars don’t match up to your former budget/spending expectations and you spend more time on getting clients than doing the actual work that you love. Just a few weeks ago, a friend told me, I make unemployment look good. From the outside it may look the same, but trust me it’s not. When I first got “the slip” I thought ”this is going to be like being 16 but with freedom and spending power.” Being Un— or Underemployed is more like being 16 again with an allowance, but fair game for creditors (some you didn’t even know existed).
Trying to build a client list and look for a job is exhausting. I find that now more than ever I’m discussing strategies for interviewing, winning over recruiters, and selling your services to clients are the center of my conversations. So if you’ve been in my shoes, or are currently job-seeking, starting a businesses, or changing the focus of your career, I will be adding this part of my life experience to this space. I know I’m not alone. There are millions out of work just like me.
In the meantime, stay encouraged, stay flexible, and hold on to your confidence! If you’re just getting the slip, hopefully this will help.