Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Drilling Threw (SotCISoaJ)

Perhaps I have lofty goals, I usually do. I am not content with being passable with any project I take up. Instead I need to be the best I can, in the best places. Sometimes this leads to lack of sleep, my eyes blurry and my head foggy with exhaustion. And sometimes it leads to a lost project or two. I figure if I don’t want to throw my whole self into a project, it might not be worth doing. This is how I see my job search. I have a goal in mind, a specific place to end up, but I have no plan on how to get there. I run head first into the world and whenever I hit something too hard, I rout around.

I feel like I’m drilling through the earth. Sometimes it’s easy going, I hit a pocket of sand or an aquifer. But sometimes it’s impossible, the rock is impassable, and I have to regroup and move around. It’s hard work, but I don’t know any other way to get through life.

That being said, this is my bullheaded way to live. Everyone is different and everyone works through things differently. Some need more planning, some need less. It is important to review yourself and learn how you work, especially when looking for a job.

My ultimate job goal is still not fully realized, but it is on a break. I ran into a wall of rock called having no money. To rout around, I picked up a job at a cafe. It gives me money and time to write other projects. I also enjoy the people I work with. But, it is at the same place I worked before I moved to Chicago for school. It feels a bit like I’m regressing back to my younger self. This is another rock to hard for my drill bit. When I get through it, I’ll let you know.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Faith (Sense of the City: In Search of a Job)

I'll admit it, my column has become a bit self-referential and depressing at times. I've been so wrapped up in my own troubles that I stopped observing the community around me. I started focusing on my own problems and eventually became blinded to anything else. It happens to everyone, the only cure--a little perspective.

My perspective came in the form of a long email a woman sent to me after a particularly selfish column. She asked me not to share her name because she is a privet person. So I will call her Elaine.

"It is Sunday morning and I just read your article and my heart goes out to you, for it is hard times for a lot of people," Elaine said in her email.

She went on to tell me to stay positive and that I will get through these difficulties in life. Her concern touched me, especially when I read on.

"I wish I could work. I am in a fight . . . I battle cancer," she said.

In early 2009 Elaine had knee surgery. Afterward she felt sick. Nothing came up on any tests, so doctors misdiagnosed her illness. It wasn't until November doctors found the Melanoma. She had part of her leg removed and is now fighting the after effects. Elaine is 45.

Her physical energy is low. Sometimes she can't even get out of her chair.

"My good days, I can get up for 15-20 mints and clean the house," Elaine said.

At the time of her knee surgery, Elaine worked as a administrative assistant with a nursing background. She loved her job and worked through the pain and the sickness.

"I went to work throwing up. If I threw up--I threw up," she said.

Eventually her job let her go. Elaine was out an income provided by her job. But most impertinently she was out of what she loved to do.

Before leaving, she set up programs to help her co-workers.

"When I left I was like: 'Man, I hope those programs still go through'," Elaine said.

Her lack on income is affecting her life as well. Elaine was on unemployment, but that has run out. She is now fighting through the paperwork for long-term disability to help pay for her mounting doctor bills.

The other day, I called Elaine to see how she was doing. She was laughing and up-beat. I asked her how she could stay so happy.

"Faith, that's the only thing that's pulling me through . . . with out it I'd have been dead already," she answered.

She went on to say: "My mom--she's my pillar of strength."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Success Story (Sense of the City: In Search of a Job)

We, as people, tend to get stuck in our ways. We think of ideas and eventually start to believe that's all there is. At least this happens to me. Sometimes people find their way out of the tunnel and see the other avenues available.

After I posted my column online, which I do at, a friend posted her story, which I am ashamed to say I didn't know. She spent two years looking for a full time job.

"I thought that's what I was supposed to do in order to become an 'adult'," she wrote in her comment.

She realized she was starting to make money doing several different things she loves, including singing. And perhaps she didn't need a full-time job to support herself. She started looking for a part time job and found one amazingly quick.

"I've been here almost a month at a place that I love, that is exactly where I'm supposed to be . . . It's the most amazing experience I've ever had working," she said.

She took something that we all take for granted as wholly true and did the opposite and found something that worked. It's a scary thought, to go against the grain in such a way, but it worked for her.

My friend found her own path to support herself. Her way may not be able to work for everyone, and probably wont, but it worked for her. Perhaps we don't need to have the traditionally sought after jobs. Perhaps our jobs could be more like our clothes, tailored to our lives.

"Open your mind to other possibilities that might not have occurred to you," she said.