Thursday, November 29, 2012

Attitude Altitude

It really does matter to have a positive attitude.

Even if you're feeling discouraged, even if thinking "things will work out for the best" seems like spin... keep your head up.

Of course it's hard. Of course there are days when you feel like everything sucks and why bother?

You've got to fight through that.

My career spiked consistently up for a long time. Once I finally got a "real" job, I leveraged that into a bigger and better job within the same company. I climbed somewhat in that job, steadily, until after 10 years the choices were to either wait out the retirement of my boss, or look outside. The boss had settled comfortably and had no reason to want to quit. So I looked around, and found a dream job in California that had money, prestige, promise, a view of the "Hollywood" sign, a place on the beach, etc.

I followed that up with some risky decisions. The first was to join a company that had potential, but ideologically was a total sellout of my values. I did it for the money. Big mistake, and that marriage did not take for a variety of reasons. I do not blame them. I totally blame myself.

The next big job I landed was outstanding, and I worked with an original team of visionaries and hard workers. We did great things and to this day we remain close.

Then I gambled, and joined a startup with enormous upside. It ended unexpectedly... like the death of someone healthy. Investors basically chickened out. Some think they were bought out. Either way, 26 of us were tossed aside on a sunny Friday afternoon.

That turned into an opportunity I used to get back into college and finish my degree, but while working for a company that was in a struggling industry with uncertain leadership. Not a formula for success, and that company had wave after wave of layoffs before being gobbled up in a merger. Before that merger, I was swept out on one of those late waves, along with several other top-notch co-workers.

I jumped from that ledge to a smaller one, and got laid off in another downsizing two years later. Recession = repression.

But for the most part, I've avoided the next step: depression. It's frustrating that for the last 18 months I've had to take freelance jobs and part-time jobs. It's difficult to accept the near-misses/rejection and/or outright disinterest of hundreds of other job prospects over that timespan.

It's hard to know you have ability and can contribute to the success of a business, but cannot get the opportunity to do so.

But I cannot allow myself to let those discouragements linger.

One of the big advantages to moving to Boston is that the job market here and in Massachusetts in general is strong. In the few weeks we have been here, the first order of business was to get settled in and take care of the transition while M gets rolling in her job. But in the last two weeks, I've turned more focus toward rejoining the workforce and providing an additional revenue stream to the household.

I had my first interview Tuesday. I think I will get some opportunities, although that will be also on a freelance/part-time basis. This week I've been busily chasing other leads -- which are indeed plentiful -- and building up hopes.

I've basically been a housewife since I've been here. And that's not meant as a slam to housewives. There are tons of positives about keeping the home tidy, handling the responsibilities of taking care of the pets and budget and things that contribute to our shared quality of life. But I didn't go back to college to do this. And every time I think of wanting to attend an event, purchase a non-essential item, or even book a flight back to Texas for Thanksgiving, I worry about money. If I have a steady income, or ANY income, it will alleviate some stress.

Yet after a time of getting turned down, you can wonder what you're doing wrong. Is it you? Probably not. Maybe not. But you still have doubts.

And doubts are dangerous.

So I'm working hard to keep my attitude up.

(This would be a good place to provide positive feedback, dear readers. But it's also OK not to. Because ultimately, this one's on me, and I can't lean on anyone else to make the changes and differences needed that allow me to fight on.)

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