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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Calling My Bluff--Sort of

It seemed like a work morning today. I had an early outplacement meeting and woke up realizing I forgot to put gas in the car. Then before breakfast I reviewed my notes from my last meeting and remembered that I hadn’t completed all of my homework. The resume was done, the “areas of expertise” document was complete, but the draft networking email had no checkmark next to it. So in between layering together a chicken roll-up for my daughter’s lunch and cooking oatmeal with raisins for me, I fired up the computer. My daughter scuffed out in her fluffy pink slippers about five minutes later, wet hair scrunched into a towel turban. While perched at our kitchen counter bar waiting for the milk to absorb into her cereal, she asked: “Is that computer on? I swear I turned it off last night.” As the color in my cheeks bloomed beyond their normal pink to fuscia, I explained that I turned it on because I forgot some of my outplacement homework due today. Shaking her finger and smirking, as expected she parroted myself back at me, “You know Mum; you shouldn’t leave your homework to the last minute.”

She is right, of course. As I scrambled through the development of a quick email letter designed to market available me to my network, I tried to figure out why, when I finished the other two assignments so much earlier in the week, I had allowed this one to drop off the radar screen.

The networking email is designed to inform (or remind) my contacts, that I am no longer with my previous employer. The completed communication should point to my “brand” (I am an “X” with skills in “YZQ”) and will either request a quick meeting or seek recommendations of individuals that I may reach out to. The written piece is not a difficult task to accomplish so what it comes down to is this. I spent the last several weeks preparing the tools for success in this networking process and then conveniently forgot to complete the very last step. Hmmm. Perhaps some self-analysis is required here.

Later, having arrived at the outplacement office with time to spare, I sat in the car reading my newest library book, called Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. The book is billed as a “busy woman’s guide to igniting the writer within.” In the face of the fact that I am none too “busy” these days; this seems like a book calculated to help keep me more so. Just before I stepped out of my car for my appointment, I read this: “Listen up. Forget about the destination—or at least lock that worry away in the back of your mind. The journey is the thing. The act of writing because you love doing it, because you like how you feel when you are writing—that’s reason enough.”

I’m staring at myself today and trying to acknowledge a little bit of truth. Unfortunately though, it’s a truth that doesn’t come with a steady paycheck. Is it possible that I didn’t finish the email homework because the lack of that piece holds me up from initiating the process, from speaking to people with the ultimate goal of acquiring gainful employment?

Can it be that when all the networking preparation is said and done, I’m wondering what job out there will be any more rewarding than this?

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