Paused

I feel like my life is paused.

For the past year, give or take, my life has been paused. It began last year with the sudden closing of the company that I worked for and it continues with my searching to find a job.

Searching for a job is hard work. There are many jobs posted daily, but you have to carefully sift through them to find viable options. First, there is the spam: HubPages and VistaPrint need to be banned from posting job openings anywhere, ever. Then there are the mislabeled jobs: Engineering is not marketing and road design is not graphic design. Then you have to figure out exactly where a position is located: Sure, Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, but listing the actual neighborhood/region would be more helpful to a job seeker. And a few organizations need to consult a map and locate Pittsburgh on it before they list a location as Pittsburgh. Ohio is not Pittsburgh.

Then you start to feel guilty and nervous and like you’re not doing anything right.

Am I doing enough? Did I apply to enough jobs today? I did laundry this morning instead of applying to jobs, maybe I missed something? There weren’t any positions that are suitable for me today, should I apply to something random anyway? I took yesterday off, now I’m never going to get a job. I applied to this job two weeks ago, but they just reposted it. What does that mean? So-and-so wants me to design a brochure for them for free because “I’m not doing anything.” I applied to this position that I am 100% suitable for and my resume and cover letter clearly show that, but it’s a month later and they still haven’t contacted me. What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t anyone like me? I’m a terrible human being and no one wants to tell me, right? They wanted applications by January 1, but it’s two months later and they haven’t even begun to review them? Why did I promise them my first born and swear a blood oath if they’re going to make me wait six months before talking to me? 

And so on…

So, what have I learned? 1) Being overqualified sucks. There is no elegant or polite way to say it: it just sucks. I understand that being overqualified for a position makes a person seem like a flight risk after a few months, but it is still disappointing to hear over and over and over again when you want to go back to work as soon as possible. 2) I needed to expand my job search area to include options where I will have to relocate if I accept an offer. I tried to avoid it, but now I’m 100% onboard with it. 3) I know where I’m willing to relocate and where I’m not. 4) I hate having my resume and contact information posted publicly. I want to be able to stop answering every phone call from an unknown number “just in case.”

Thankfully, I’ve had a few great interviews, and I’m in the running for a few great opportunities. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting. I completely understand that I need to be patient, but I am more than ready and willing to get back to work.

The one thing that bothers me more than anything else about this situation is that I can’t plan anything, and I am a born planner. I know that once I receive and accept an offer, I will have a million things to plan, but right now everything is paused. I know what I’ll need to plan for but, without details, it’s not necessary.

I know I’ll have to plan for how to arrange my routines so that I can commute to work while I’m figuring out relocation/moving plans. I know I’ll have to plan to search for new housing. I know I’ll have to plan to coordinate the actual move. I know I’ll have to plan to settle into the new housing and community. I know I’ll have to plan to get a few things back on track that have been on hold due The Unknown. I know that I’ll finally be able to plan out a training plan and follow through with it without feeling guilty or like I’m doing something unproductive.

Soon, The Unknown will no longer be an excuse. Fingers crossed. It is a valid excuse, but it’s not one that I like. I am looking forward to having a sense of what my life will look like in a week, a month, or even a year. Not being tied to a schedule is not as freeing as one would think. Not having semi-concrete plans or a life framework to function within kind of sucks.

So, for now, I remain paused … but hopeful.

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