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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

D-oubtful B-ut A-ctive

Like a dog that’s just emerged from a pond, I’m shaking summer off and following the scent--or in my case, sniffing out some work. I walked during July and August, that is, until my achy knee had other ideas. I blogged and wrote, sending two articles and one proposal off to the black hole of editor land. I gardened and baked and as “just in case” employment opportunities arose, applied for them but stopped regular trips to the outplacement office. My counselor took a vacation to France which offered the opportunity I needed to turn my back on my worries. For the last two months, I thought less about my future, and more about my daughter, my husband, and the guests that bookmarked the beginning and the end of the season.

Toward the hot last days of August though, an oversized clock began to tick on this career thing again while the optimism that colored June stepped into the quicksand of self-doubt. Forward momentum luffed its sails like a boat bobbing in the doldrums. In this state of mind, I dragged my feet into the outplacement office last week.

There is nothing like a knowledgeable, objective observer to guide you though career definition and fulfillment. This is why if you ever find yourself without employment but have been offered outplacement services, make sure to use them. Within an hour, the counselor had me smiling, and back on plan, which included an internal deadline.

So, now, I have a small business bank account with a DBA ("doing business as" name). There’s a business biography on my hard drive with my initials on the top listing services offered, as well as some snappy language for a future website. Business cards sit designed and ready for printing, though I haven’t ordered them because I want to make sure that they match a simple web page. After futzing around trying to understand how to build one of those via on-line vendors, I’ve sent an email to someone I will pay to help. (Oof, new business starts off in the red—oh well.) Once a website is close to up and running, I’ll pull the trigger on the business cards, update my LinkedIn profile, send an email to my network and perhaps even make an announcement here. With any luck I’ll develop some business. Oh, and this morning I slapped on a knee brace and got walking again.

Starting a freelance business is scary and daunting and not connected to anything I expected I’d be doing if you’d asked me a year ago. Last September the self-esteem deflating specter of unemployment was still one of those things that could never haunt me. All these months later, pockets of loss and disappointment remain. My husband though, can always boost my ego. When I emailed him to tell him I’d opened the bank account making my “business” official, he answered, “How does it feel to be President and CEO?”

1 comment:

sue said...

Liza, it's fascinating to follow this process with you.(I'n not sure if you can track my reading? But I'm reading your blog in chronological order, so I don't know what has happened most recently.) I've been on 'the other side of the fence' supporting people through change, and keep wanting to interject with your posts and ask questions about the service you received (as well as lots of other things!). Things like: what worked well, and what could be improved, what tools did they use, what do your respective resumes look like?

In addition, having chosen to resign from a permanent part time job last year, and gone through the painful process of business cards, self promotion, web site and trying to establish myself as a private provider, I'm absolutely fascinated with your rediscovery of your self and hearing about your very different experience that has many similar challenges.

Thankyou so much for your generous sharing of this difficult journey. Now, back to reading to find out what happens next!