Waltz Before You Run

We’ve been keeping busy sending off our applications. (It is still hunting season after all). We’ve tried various options for hunting, we’ve looked in the papers and scrounged around online and asked a friend (or even a stranger). We updated our resumes and tried to be creative with our formats, fonts and functions. We’ve networked and Twittered and blogged till our eyes are sore. But we’ve been flying around in the unemployment skies for too long now and it’s time to land (we are low on faith-fuel). Before bringing this bird in for landing however, we need to have a landing plan. If we come in too hot, too heavy, too fast or too slow, we risk crashing and burning. So let’s circle a bit. Maybe it’s time to rethink our approach. Perhaps a new method is required. Perhaps, we need to learn how to waltz.

Some of us have been selective in the effort. We’ve sifted through the classifieds carefully and cross-referenced, methodically matched and strategically analysed the pickings (which are slim), looking for the best of the lot. This is satisfying though not necessarily successful method.

Some of us have broadened the effort and have widened our search to hunting for jobs in the general theme of things. We’ve stretched it a bit and tried to convince ourselves (and others) that some of those jobs are well within our reach. Once they are within your capabilities, I say go for it. I’m all for trying something new and highly encourage it, so straddle the fence and widen your boundaries. You may want to note however, that owning a cat does not qualify you to work as pharmacist for the veterinarian’s office, since you are not, after all, a pharmacist. (You know who you are). But this can be a rewarding method if you are really interested in broadening your scope within your field, or if you are trying to start a new career slightly off where you started. It can however, backfire quickly if your heart isn’t in it, because if you just land a job for the sake of landing one and don’t put some heart into it, you may very well be back on the breadline too soon (crash) and recovering from another blow so quickly may not go well (burn).

But if you selected and sorted and then stretched and straddled and still come up empty, your distance swim can feel a whole lot like sinking. And for those of us in this category, we’re going to dance our way to shore. Side step, back step, back step, forward.

Featured imageIf you haven’t worked for awhile, now may not be the time to try to move up the ladder. It’s not impossible (don’t let me discourage you) but it’s highly improbable (I won’t encourage you either). Stick to jobs within a similar level to where you were a few months ago before you were unemployed. In other words, before you step up, step to the side. But the brave of us dancers who grew up on Fame and Solid Gold, we know that before the mid-air twist with a somersault finish, the best dancers, took a preparation step back. Be willing to do something different and possibly earn less than where you were before. (Earning less is better than earning none). So before you skim over jobs you can rock out in your sleep, consider applying for them. Frankly, apply to everything. You just may land one. And once we’re back in the land of the working, that’s definitely taking a step forward. And once we’ve stepped forward, we can dance our way home.
(Oh, by the way, I’m not training you for the next installation of Dancing with the Stars so you may not want to take my dance instructions too literally.)

A Letter To My Employed Self

There’s a book by author Joseph Galliano called “Dear Me: A letter to my sixteen-year-old self”. It’s a wonderful compilation of letters written by people to their younger selves. Some of the writers are famous, some unknown and all are fabulous. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have, you understand.

If we could go back and do it all again, some of us would do it exactly the same and some of us would write a hasty letter to warn our younger selves to do it all very differently. Likewise, perhaps when you look back at your last job some of you reflect and think, I’d do it exactly the same. But perhaps, some days, or maybe just in some instances, you think there are things you would do very differently. I do.

Inspired by the idea, I wrote a letter to my previously employed self. And in writing it I made a simple yet startling discovery. Unemployed describes me at this point of my life, it does not define me. It is what I am currently, but it is not who I am indefinitely. And you are not defined by what you do or don’t do. Just in case you had any doubt, I totally rock. And I’m sure if you write a letter to yourself, your younger self, or your employed self, you may very well discover, you totally rock too.

Dear Janelle,

I am proud of you. You have done well up to this point, better than some expected. Better than you expected too.

At the still somewhat tender age of 23 you would have already made management. You have been offered jobs you didn’t even apply for and one or two of those you even turned down. (Be careful with this practice). From where you stand it seems the whole world is ahead of you. Jobs are mere stepping stones on the path of a promising career. But be cautious my dear, it won’t always be this way. There are rocky roads ahead and I’m afraid you are quite unprepared. There are a few things you should know and so you are not left out in the cold on a rainy day, I think it is my duty to prepare you.

The grass on the other side may offer more green, but is not always greener. Worse yet, you will find, sometimes the grass is false and its blades will not grow.

You must stop taking people at face value my naive child. All those that smile with you, will not be your friends. (Even when they say so). But all those that seemingly ignore you, will not be your enemies.

You should have learned by now to talk less, (though I know how much you like to) and listen more (even to the things that may not seem logical at the time). But in fact you have not learned this lesson at all and you must try harder still to put this into practice. It will come to serve you well.

Don’t answer a question just because you have been asked. Don’t think because you have been asked, your opinion will make a difference to the outcome.

It is okay to say no. Say no more frequently.

Standing up for your subordinates does not mean you have to take a fall for them.

Never lie, (this will come too easy for you, try at least to not be so blunt), but do not say everything you are thinking (this you will need to work at).

Curb your youthful enthusiasm. Youth is excellent in reference to skin care, but age is excellent in reference to board-rooms.

Your boss (like your Mother), is always right. You don’t have to believe this but never say otherwise. You will be told you can feel free to speak your mind, don’t. Hush child.

Receive compliments graciously, but don’t meditate on them, this will make you arrogant. Also receive criticisms graciously, but always meditate on them, this way you will learn from your errors and this in turn will make you wise.

Your family will always support you. When you need them, your friends will be there. Your friends are not who you think they are, you will be gravely disappointed and pleasantly surprised. More people love you than you know. There will come a time when you will feel lonely, but even in that time, you will not be alone.

If you can learn all this right now, you will do even better than you or I expect. But if you don’t, that’s okay too, you will learn these lessons eventually. And when you have learned these things, you’ll be ready to take on whatever life throws at you.

Believe in yourself always, you are bigger and better than you can ever imagine.

With love forever,

Mine Rescue Comes

Were you glued to the nearest television for the last 22 hours watching from the edge of your seat as the 33 miners were rescued? Me too. It was a beautiful event to behold. I’m still on a high. As a wife, my heart rejoiced as its broken state was mended. As a daughter, I was relieved as I set eyes on nearly lost fathers. As a sister, I couldn’t stop smiling with the jovial spirits that emerged from that darkness. As a human, I was proud of the people who worked tirelessly to make it happen. And knowing that I rejoiced, sighed, smiled and cried with the rest of world, was truly a wonderful feeling. I shed a tear for each and every one of them, weeping openly in parts, although I’ve never met any of them. I’m sure you understand.

It was a story I followed from the beginning. There were a few days that I recall being frustrated because the ‘updated’ reports had no new information from the day before. It was a nerve-racking time. I followed the reports and watched the videos and thought to myself, could I do it? Could you?

Many reports from the best psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists (and even psychos) said the men found strength in each other. They were able to support each other throughout the ordeal physically, socially, emotionally, medically and spiritually. There was safety and strength in numbers. Additionally, by keeping a scheduled routine through having ‘work’ and delegated tasks, set meal and sleeping times, the miners kept a sense of normalcy. All these factors contributed to them staying sane, safe and stable. And I dare add, hopeful and (yes) happy.

Sometimes in this period of unemployment, we feel as though like the Chilean miners, we’re trapped in a dark mine waiting for someone unseen and sometimes unheard to come save us. The difference is however, we don’t wake daily to see 32 others around us, which makes it easy for us to think we’re here alone. We’re not. Not only are there other ‘miners’ with us, there are an estimated 15 million unemployed globally as of September this year, with predictions to reach 25 million by December 2010. And in addition to our fellow unemployed partners, we have family and friends who wait eagerly to ‘rescue’ us however they can. The trick is, we have to allow ourselves to be rescued.

Featured image

Rescue 101
Before the minors could be rescued a few things had to happen. First someone had to know they needed rescuing. Then they had to know exactly where they needed to be rescued from. And once the rescue plan was in place the miners themselves had to be in the right physical and emotional state of readiness for the rescue to be successful. We have to do that too.

Know That I Need
If no-one knows you need to be rescued and like the miners you can’t necessarily save yourself, then let’s face it, you’re pretty much screwed. So while it seems obvious, you’re going to have to tell someone to help you. Sending off a few applications is a good start, then tell your friend and family to keep their ears to the ground and mouths by the ears of their friends. Get the word out that you’re looking for a job. But the help you need won’t only be in the job-hunting. Additionally, and most importantly, you’re just going to need some good old fashioned love.

If you always wear a brave face, no-one will try to cheer you up. You may tend to feel that no-one cares when in fact many people care a great deal, but they don’t want to weigh you down with emotions if they think you’re doing fine. So if you’re feeling low, say so. Need ice-cream and can’t afford it, tell a friend. Have Mum buy you new shoes and let Dad fix you up a steak when you’re tired of corned-beef. (I am so leaving hints here). Just knowing they can help makes the ones helping feel better too, so let them. You are not in the mine alone.

Know What I Need
Where are you weak? And when? For me where I need help is in company, or I’ll wallow in isolation. I don’t mind being alone and enjoy my own company (I’m hilarious) but if I spend too many ‘me’ hours I get pretty down and once I’m there I can find it hard to re-socialize for days after. (It’s better when other people laugh with me).

When? Well I’m a morning person. I usually more perked up than my coffee from the word ‘go’, so with caffeine and sugar added I can accomplish a good deal by noon. (With a grin on too). I do well until about 3.00 in the afternoon and then I crash for 3-4 hours. No kidding. No exaggeration. Typically this is my low time and the time I most hate being alone. To compensate, this is the time frame I schedule to hang out with my family and friends. But when that’s not possible, this will be my blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter time, where I can still feel like I’m having some kind of social interaction. Failing that, I just sleep through it. (Well it’s not like I have to work, ha!).

Know what will help you get through the day and put your rescue plan in place. Because once you take each day at a time, before you know it you’ve survived the week and then in no time, you’ve survived the month. And in order to be ready for rescue, first we have to survive.

Be Ready for Rescue
Keep a sense of normalcy. Set your alarm and wake at the regular time (or a new slightly delayed ‘regular’ time, it’s your right), shower and dress and start doing something. Keep a schedule. Have set meal and sleep times and keep writing ‘to do’ lists. If nothing else, write the list of things you need to do. This does wonders to help you feel you’re doing something during this time when you seemingly have nothing to do. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, it can be ‘water plants’, ‘watch Passport 246’ or ‘call Mum’, but when you cross it off your list, it’s a minor victory. All the little wins make for a very productive week. And a good week makes for a happier you.

Did you jog, stretch, dance, skip or hula hoop today? Your emotional state is linked to your physical state, so cheer yourself up and keep moving. The miners danced, you can too. What you do is not nearly as important as how long you do it for. I’m not a certified personal trainer so I won’t advise you on this in detail, other than to tell you, have fun with whatever you’re doing. That way you’ll stick to it and you’re more likely to do more of it. And by the way, I’m challenging you to hula hoop longer than I do, (yes you) but we can discuss that later.

Finally, (this is the really hard one) you have to stay positive. Didn’t you choke back an emotional tear when the miners sang the Chilean anthem and even cracked jokes? That sure motivated me. Family and friends can motivate too, so stay surrounded by positive people. An unemployment support group is great, but an over-caffeinated friend hyped on the last episode ANTM is better. I had lunch today with a wonderful friend and by the time dessert rolled around I was grinning and smiling and ready to conquer the world (again). Be ready for your rescue. I’m ready for mine. When your next job rolls around be ready to give it all you’ve got in every way. There are 10 other people who can do your job, (so they say) but you are the only one who can do it with your spirit.

One last thing. (I know I said finally before, but this is really it). It’s not part of the rescue effort but it will help make the world a better place. When you do land your next big job (and you will), remember to say thank you to all the people who rescued you. The ones who came down the chamber and waited in the mine, the ones who pulled the ropes, or just held your hand, those who hugged you when you needed it or gave you a meal, who helped you to your feet and shed a tear or two with you. All the people who directly and indirectly lead you to that better place where the sun shines, when it finally stops raining, remember to say thank you.

It still rains for me, but it won’t always. My rescue plan is in effect and I’m looking forward to coming up from the mine. You should know if you’re reading this, even now, you are part of my rescue. And to you, all of you, I’d like to say thanks. Thanks. And cheers! Here’s looking forward to sunshine. See you in the sun.

Reference: Global unemployment statistics – BBC News
Note: ANTM – America’s Next Top Model

Had a Bad Day

You roll-over, still in the caressing embraces of slumber, snuggle your face into the pillow and readjust the comforter around you, making sure to cover your slightly chilled ears. There is the soft beginnings of a smile on your face when you realize the alarm hasn’t sounded and you have just a few minutes more to enjoy this last moment of quiet solitude. You feel the creeping warmth of sunshine on your closed lids and before…wait. What was that? Sunshine? (Panic!)

Your eyes fly open to find the alarm clock winking a slow taunting 12:00 back at you. (Dear Lord.) You try to reach something with your one free arm (the other is still under covers), anything to confirm the time. You reach the cell phone. (Gasp!).  But that can’t be right. Where is the watch? (Instant headache). You’re late! You throw the covers off and flee from bed, stumping your toe on your way to the bathroom. As you hobble into the shower in haste the water isn’t set quite right and you scald the leg with the stumped toe. Retreating to try again, the water is too cold but you don’t have the time to waste so you have a frosty shower. Drying off you remember immediately, you’re out of deodorant. (Sigh.) And so the day goes on.

Surely you’ve had one of these, or one something like it, one of those days when everything goes wrong, right from the start. We call them ‘bad days’, although usually ‘bad’ seems a poor, weak description of the mammoth failure of a day it has been. Hopefully, since you’ve been home there haven’t been many of these. For one thing, why bother to set the alarm anymore? But imagine a bad day where things go so wrong, other people die. And you get to live with it.

Yesterday Yahoo! News featured a story captioned “Titanic sunk by steering mistake, author says”. The story states that according to writer Louise Patten, granddaughter of Titanic’s second officer Charles Lightoller, were it not for an “error” in judgment, the infamous ship which sank in 1912 taking 1,517 people to their deaths, need not have sank as fast as it did. It was a “fatal mistake” that caused the ship to fully sink before rescue could arrive. Patten is quoted as saying “If Titanic had stood still, she would have survived at least until the rescue ship came and no one need have died”. The author claims that her grandfather lived with the secret of the ill-fated decisions which truly led to the disaster, in order to save Titanic’s owners from bankruptcy and his colleagues from unemployment.

A fatal mistake, an error in judgement and 1,517 lives lost when “no one need have died”. Can there be a greater tragedy?
I can’t begin to image the constant inner turmoil of keeping such a secret for a week, far less, for years. If it is possible to prove the truth of these claims more than a century later, I commend Louise Patten for bringing the truth to light. It cannot have been an easy decision to intentionally sully her family’s name and grandfather’s memory. Especially when we could have easily lived on in ignorance. It is not as if the doom of the great ship was an unsolved mystery in need of solution. The truth could have lain forever with the ship at the bottom of the ocean and we’d be none the wiser.

I was relieved of my job without anyone asking if I thought I needed relief  from it and from time to time, I tend to wallow in my perceived injustice of it. Yesterday was one such day for me. I woke with a headache and used the opportunity to grump and frump around for most of the day. If asked I could easily chalk it up to a bad one. (Not that anyone  was asking). I will usually cut myself some slack when I fall into these personal pity parties. You and I know these moments of self-imposed grief are part of being unemployed and are also an essential part of our recovery process.  But after I read this article I realized that perhaps my bad day, was perhaps not that bad. The headache had passed, only I had failed to notice. And I had also failed to notice in my gloom, the many other but wonderful things around me I had to be grateful for. My day was in fact made bad, only because I choose to see it so. Unlike first officer William Murdoch, I still had time to recover from a bad decision. I could choose to make my day a good one.While (clearly) I never knew him, my heart goes out to Charles Lightoller, for the grievous errors made, for the anguish of lives lost, for the burden of secrets kept and for the history to be rewritten about this once heroic icon, surely now turned villain, his was truly a bad day.

Perhaps in reflection your next bad day, may not seem so bad. And while, like I do, you may struggle with understanding why you’re not working, I hope  you can read this with a sense of peace. Knowing any mistakes you made on the job, or  any mistakes you were thought to have made, were not fatal.

Today, I sincerely wish you a good day.

Reference: Read the full story by Mike Collett-White “Titanic sunk by steering mistake, author says”

How To Budget, When Broke.

The emotional state of the unemployed mind
is the equivalent of Bill O’Reilly uncensored:
highly petulant, often illogical and forever frustrating to the world at large.
I was spending time with a close friend of mine recently. (She reads my blog so I won’t use her name). We were in the kitchen preparing a meal and having one of those lovely chats about nothing in particular and everything under the sun. The kind of random conversation that comes from years of true friendship. I observed while we were talking that she used a paper-towel to temporarily cover a plate. The sauce seeped through the paper-towel in patches and I recall my stomach made a low rumble of appreciation. Then my attention was diverted as the conversation resumed. A short time later however, meal contentedly consumed, (sauce and all), she proceeded to take the paper-towel wash it, rinse it and hang it over the oven handle to dry. And in that moment I loved her a little more, because I knew for sure, she was one of us. The broke on a budget.
The emotional state of the unemployed mind is the equivalent of Bill O’Reilly uncensored: highly petulant, often illogical and forever frustrating to the world at large. The one constant concern in that ever shifting brain, is money. Where will it come from, will it be enough and how soon can you get it?

Because while you stopped working, the creditors didn’t and apparently neither did the mailman. The bills keep flowing  in from an open tap while the cash lies cremating in an expansive desert. And although the often insensitive people at the phone company may disagree, you still have to eat somehow.

By now you should be collecting unemployment benefits and notified and negotiated with your creditors. We talked about this before in Becoming Fearless. They’ve made adjustments to help you where possible and you’ve been juggling those payments best as you can. But there are things you learn only from experience, so here are a few things they didn’t tell you about managing the little money you do have, while you have it.

Pay your credit card first. Wait 24 hours so they record the payment. Then spend every cent you just deposited to pay the bills. This works best if you pay before the due date. You won’t have a late charge and there won’t be a non-payment fee. (Don’t quote me on this. Seriously. Don’t.)

Pay in full. If there is anything you can pay off fully, any small debts, clear them and get them out the way. The accomplishment will make you feel motivated and you’ll also have less to worry about.

Unsubscribe. Cable is not essential. Neither is your annual subscriptions to glossy magazines. None of them. For that matter, if you can get your local classifieds and top stories online, a daily newspaper is over rated. If you absolutely have to feel the paper in your hand, have a friend (who works) bring the extra newspaper home from their office. You’ll be a day behind but a few dollars richer a week. Then be sure to recycle the newspapers to make money on the recycling. You can get to your next eye appointment (once you are working again) a few hours early and read the glossies at your leisure there for free. Or again, ask a friend. (Assuming you have a friend who can still afford to buy magazines). But go ahead and cancel all the extra stuff you don’t need.

Wash the paper-towels. It’s the little things on the grocery list that add up pretty quickly so cut wherever you can. Some are pretty obvious, (replace expensive brands with cheaper ones), some take good old-fashioned street sense. Don’t cut toilet paper off your shopping list entirely (really, don’t) but re-think how much you use if you’re buying it weekly. If two squares will do, why use four? (Don’t answer). And you just need a pea sized amount of toothpaste, not a strip. Stop buying shaving cream and use your hair conditioner. Your legs will even look better for it. Do the little things. Easy does it. Use less, buy less, save more.

Savour the bitter taste of mauby. (Moo who?). You don’t need fresh juice or soda. Yes. I heard you gasp, sputter and moan. But you still don’t need it. I am not unreasonable so I won’t say just drink water forever. (Tap of course). But to be honest, soda is unnecessary. (I am sorry Pepsi. Apologies Coke). Get your caffeine fix from coffee if you have to. Canned juices can be just as refreshing as fresh. Plus they don’t expire and can be stretched with water. If you’re worried about the nutritional content, do your online research online before hitting the supermarket. But otherwise, a dash of mauby syrup, add water, stir and sip your way to savings.

Along that line, I recently read that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh. While fresh is still preferred, if it’s a difference of more than a dollar, frozen or canned will do the trick. Not to mention, you have a longer expiration date to play with so your dollar literally lasts longer.

Pinch the pennies. Remember all that loose change you have been keeping in that old mayonnaise jar? You said it was for a rainy day. Guess what? It’s raining! You’ll have to be brave about this, all cashiers will eyeball you and the bold ones will suck their teeth for you to hear and roll their eyes for you to see. But take your loose change shopping. It’s money and there’s no shame in it. (Well, not much).  Don’t overdo this though, not everyone with take you on, especially if there’s a long line, so some bills are necessary. I am yet to find someone willing to count along with me past $28.73 with nothing higher than a quarter.

I’d love to hear what your record is. And if you have another way to save,  please, do tell.

Reference: Mauby – popular Caribbean drink made from tree bark

The End of The Affair

How have you been since your affair has ended?

Does it seem an odd question? It is not meant to be. You have a relationship with your work. It is my sincere hope that your work was not your spouse, though for some of us, unfortunately, this might very well have been the case. But if you managed to have and maintain a relationship with another person, your work, was really your other lover.

It’s an intense relationship too, this affair. You set your alarm and wake to be together. And sometimes at night, you can hardly part to sleep. You’re together for an average of 8 hours day, but certainly no less than 4. Sometimes the compulsion is such that you forgo others and forget to eat when together. You recount the times you and work have shared with friends and mediate on what you’ll do the next time you meet.  How many have the privilege of relationships as fervent as this?

So it should therefore come as no surprise that when this affair has ended, you had some heart break. This is natural. We all feel this way when relationships end. There will be disappointment, sadness, betrayal, anger, regret, bitterness, loss, frustration, fear and feelings of lack of self-worth. And that’s just the first day. But most of us have had more than one relationship (don’t worry, we are not keeping count here). So that means that somehow, we picked ourselves up, pulled ourselves together and tried again.

First things first, you’ll need to recover, get over that old flame. Heal. Do this in your own way and at your own pace. That is, once your own time is 3 months or less. There are books, blogs, movies and magazines to help you through this, so use all the tools you can find. There is even Dr. Phil. (Snicker). But you don’t have to take all your advice from one place, find the mix that works for you.  Personally I found it’s been a great time to focus on all my other affairs for awhile. You know, the ones with real people involved. Spend your former work hours with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your mum and of course, yourself. But that job relationship is over, so just let it go.

Go to the club. Not literally. But in the same way you go out to meet someone, you’re probably going to have to go out and find a new job. If one just lands in your lap, do share with the rest of us how to accomplish this. However, this is unlikely so start hunting. If you haven’t done so yet, read “It’s Hunting Season”.  If you read it already, a refresher might help. Get moving though, this is one time a rebound is healthy.

Looks aren’t everything, but you’re more likely to link eyes across a crowded room if those eyes aren’t full of greenish discharge. So get a make-over. There’s a new you waiting inside to come out. Hit the dating scene, that is, job interviews, looking your best. If you look better, you’ll feel better. I’ve taken to washing the dishes in heels and mascara. But I digress.

Looking hot helps, but if you’re not confident in your heels, you risk tripping. This means you’re going to need to boost that confidence back up. I’ve taken up yoga and this has helped me tremendously. Find what works for you. It may be something you’ve always done or it can be something you never thought you’d do. It can be really simple, like knitting (don’t knock it till you try it) or it can be invigorating, like mountain-climbing.

So there you are. The affair has ended. Such is life. Landing the right job is a lot like meeting the right person, it may take a few tries. If memory serves me right, dating can be fun. So get to it. Taller, darker and more handsome awaits.

When I Grow Up

The July 2010 issue of Vanity Fair features a brief and brilliant interview with Charlie Rose. Usually the one asking the questions, it is no surprise he answers with much insight, though few words. I recommend you find a copy and spare 5 minutes to read this exchange if nothing else. Floss tomorrow instead, or Maury can wait (you are not the baby’s daddy either). One of my favourite questions and answers (I have a top 10), was this:

Question: What is your favourite occupation?

Answer: Mine.

Marvellous! When have you ever heard that? Sure you have heard people say they love their job. I loved mine. But is what you do (when you’re doing it), your favourite occupation?

A few years ago, (give or take), you probably wanted to be a ballerina, or explorer, or inventor, or Batman, when you grew up.

You grew up. Welcome. But are you what you wanted to be? Is this were you saw yourself in 10 years?

Most of us, unfortunately, seldom end up living the dream we dreamed. We take a job that was available, which becomes a job that’s enjoyable. The job you like becomes something you are good at and before you know it, you fell head first into a whole 20+ year career. Just like that.

It’s likely you got here by being practical and playing it safe. You need to earn to live the life you want. To earn you need work. So work was the priority. Not necessarily what the work was. For most of us what we wanted (job description) took a back seat to what we needed (actual job).

But you are not working anymore. So what next?

Well, you can take the high road. You can be very practical and continue on the path you are on. This way all those years of experience you have accumulated to date, work to your benefit. If you are challenged by the idea of getting back to doing what you wanted, once you find a job, save specially towards making a break for it and give it a try in 24 months.

But if you don’t mind getting a little dirty on the low road, you can use this time off to take a leap of faith and start fresh. Apply for the job you want, with no experience and nothing but a dream. (That should make for a nice cover letter). Go for it! Do what you always wanted and be happy doing it. Make your favourite occupation yours. After all, dreams are meant to become realities.

I will be Batman. Why? Because I dreamed of saving the world. And I’m fabulous in latex and leather…