When I graduated from college, I had three jobs. I worked as a receptionist during the day, a stringer at a newspaper at night, and a sales associate at a clothing store on the weekends. I was 22 and full of energy. I loved being busy. Years later and not much has changed, except I have less energy and I’ve lost count of how many jobs I have these days. I can tell you that it’s a lot more than three.
Thanks to COVID-19, I was furloughed from my job at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and started looking for a new one. Job hunting was a full-time endeavor. (Don’t let anyone tell you differently). From 9-5, I attended networking several events over Zoom, scheduled 1:1 networking calls, posted articles on LinkedIn, and worked with a career coach on developing my personal brand and a career plan. And yes, I applied to jobs too, but only twice a week. Why? Because I customized each cover letter and resume to the job I wanted. I did my homework by studying the websites, reading between the lines of the job descriptions, and crafting my application accordingly. I filled out the on-line applications, looked within my network for someone who had an “in” at that company, and prepared for phone and Zoom interviews. It was a full-time gig.
Thankfully, it paid off! During this pandemic, I was able to find a new job that I started a few weeks ago. Onboarding was thorough but didn’t last long and now I have plenty of great and challenging projects to work on. I’m happy about being able to contribute early on, but also nervous I will fail miserably when I’m trying to make a good first impression. No wonder I’m so tired at night.
But, that’s not all.
On the side, I’ve networked my way onto a few speaking panels. I never thought I’d be a public speaker, but I love sharing my experiences and dropping some knowledge to those starting out in their careers or to my colleagues who are looking for new ideas. I need a slide deck for each presentation, so I’m constantly working in PowerPoint and getting pretty good at it. Last weekend, I spoke to an organization based in Nigeria about storytelling and fundraising in nonprofit organizations. Yep, I went global! That was pretty cool.
Did I mention, I’m also a student? Digital marketing was not something they taught in college 20 years ago because it didn’t exist! So, I’m enrolled in night classes to earn an Integrated Digital Marketing certificate from Penn State. No homework or tests–thank goodness–but being a student takes a lot of brainpower.
But the most important job is the one I’m not being paid for. I’m a wife and a mother. Even though my kids are teenagers now, there is still plenty to do. I don’t have a large house, but keeping it running can be a full-time job in itself. My spare time is taken up by laundry, dishes, and cooking. I’ve recently decided that whoever deemed this “women’s work: was just too damn lazy to do it himself!
About a month ago, a human resources manager asked me what I like to do for fun which turned out to be the hardest interview question I had to answer. Getting time to myself is the biggest struggle I have had lately. Between career, school, and housework, there isn’t much time for volunteering, reading, or blogging let alone binge-watching The Crown on Netflix. My version of downtime is falling asleep on the couch by 9:30 pm, but I don’t think that answer would have landed me the job. I may have said something about jigsaw puzzles – exciting, right!
But, I know I happily chose this lifestyle and would do it again. I’d much rather be busy than bored – as long as it doesn’t lead to burnout. I just hope I can find some time soon to stop and smell the roses.