Friday, August 17, 2012

The Job Thing

The journey continues. I've been working out scenarios with my supervisor, crunching numbers, updating resumes, and trying to figure out what it would look like to take on an outside job so we can pay the bills.

It's a little weird because I'm not actually unemployed; I have plenty of work with my ministry job. But I'm going to have to accept a whole lot less compensation for it, and since we need the money, a second job seems the way to go. At least for now.

What's out there, what could I get, and how do I find it? That's what I've been exploring this week.

It would really help if I wasn't so upset about the whole thing. It's been hard not to lash out at Hubs when he starts talking about new beginnings, letting go, and looking for God's hand in this. (When he dreams about me getting something for $60k that would allow him to quit his job and get his MDiv done, I just laugh.)

It's been good to realize that finding or taking on a new job isn't what I'm upset about, though. (Ask me again, later!) Actually, I welcome the challenge. This could be fun, a great addition to my life. So what's bringing me to tears? It's the idea that my career in ministry may be coming to an end. I really don't want that to happen! All the more reason, perhaps, to be chipper and diligent about doing all I can to get and keep another job, one that will take the pressure off this one having to pay the bills.

So, what am I doing? I reworked my resume and my profile on LinkedIn. I called the stepsister who just moved and is about to start a new job, and have heard from my other stepsister and my own sister about the things they've learned as they've been looking for work; neither has been successful yet. I'm tracking down references. I texted with a couple of old friends about it - feeling a little too tender to want to talk on the phone.

Very soon, though, I need to go more public with this. Need to let the rest of my coworkers and colleagues know I'm looking for work and why, as well as my supporters, put out something to the folks on my mailing list - all things I think should happen before I allude to the situation someplace like Facebook.

Which would you rather write, a newsletter or update along the lines of "my problem and how it was solved"? or "my crisis and how it's turning my life upside down right now"? I have to remind myself that asking for prayer about the whole thing actually draws other people in and results in more glory given back to God in the form of gratitude when the matter is resolved!

There are so many different directions I could go, lots of avenues to pursue to find work (also, to find support. Working on that too). Encouraging, if challenging, to have so many things I can try. Work from home, or from a cubicle or service counter? I could go either way on that. I'm eliminating, at least for now, ill-fitting options like a home business, childcare, or food service; retail may be a possibility but I've never done it before. (Willingness to learn will only get you so far. Better to play to strengths.) Here's what I'm looking at instead:

PROFESSIONAL CONTRACT WORK: I spent a few hours this week probing opportunities for contract work of the sort I have done the most - teaching (specifically, "Perspectives" classes). That may bear fruit for spring term but fall term is lighter and most folks will have nailed down their plans a few months ago. So unless someone needs an emergency substitute, not much is likely to come of it. I may also be able to find some contract work connected with writing/editing - including online training, public relations, or curriculum development. What do you think? Some of my colleagues have filled in the gaps those ways. But these hard economic times are causing most of the Christian organizations to tighten their belts, so that kind of work is becoming scarce and is unlikely to come together quickly.

TEMP JOBS: I called a temp service and have an interview with them on Monday morning. I think I'm overqualified for the kind of work they have, but I think they can bring a bit of work my way, maybe immediately. I'm hoping, at the end of the interview, to ask them a few more questions about what's out there and who else I should talk to. The phone book (oh, I know, quaint!) lists about 20 employment agencies in our little town, and most of them I know nothing about. Temp work can mean just about anything. It doesn't pay a whole lot, but it brings the opportunity to serve people without a big ramp-up or having to take the work home with you or commit to be there long term. A couple day a week or a week a month might meet the need, and I could stop at any point if my support or other kinds of work came up to take its place, right?

PART TIME ADMIN/CLERICAL: What about an admin job in a school, church, hospital, etc, where they just needed (or could only fund) someone to work part-time? I could get a reliable paycheck, consistent hours, and a way to get out of the house and into the real world all in one. Many of those jobs are 20 hours a week, which seems like more than I need and would require some major adjustments with family life and my ministry job. But if the support situation doesn't turn around, we'll have a long-term need and such a job could be God's gift to us.


Megan Noel said...

Good luck. It's a jungle out there. I think you may face some of the same issues I am facing if you have to look for work outside your field - as I have had to since there is not much $ inside my field. My skills are very specialized, as are some of yours, though I hope that the editing / writing thing might yield some work for you. The temp world appears to have changed too, as there are now so many people who are unemployed.

Dean Smith said...

Marti, You have my deepest understanding. I have been in your position several times in my life--huge demands, feeling of helplessness, frustration.

Remember that statistics don't tell you anything about individuals. Don't be afraid to take what might seem to be a job beneath your skills and needs. You will be soon recognized for what you can contribute and rewarded accordingly. Above all, keep faith.