Astonish Me

I’m looking to be astonished.

Praying for it, actually. I want God to break open the heavens and say, “here it is!!” My faith tells me it can happen, but my faith is weak right now. So I’m praying for more faith.

How often are we blessed with astonishing news? Do we remember those blessings as well as we should? I know not all my followers share my faith, so I’m putting this in the context of life, not necessarily a belief in God. Do we tend to remember the bad news and accept the good news as our right?

Or perhaps that is an American way of thinking, even a white American way of thinking. I was born into more privilege than many people on this earth. Despite my struggles at this moment (I need a job!), I still enjoy a better life than others in war-torn, destitute countries and regions of this world.

I also have had my share of troubles and setbacks, and I’m struggling with some of those now.  It is impossible to define a balance of good and bad in our lives, and compare it to others.

Last week I was part of a discussion about happiness. The core of this conversation was the concept that money buys happiness. We all agreed, it takes a certain income, an element of security to be content with your lot in your life. That amount differs from person to person, of course, and much of it depends on where you live and what your needs are at any given time.

One man asked, “if money doesn’t buy you happiness, then why don’t the people with money give it away?”

Wow, what a question, and so many answers. I remember some thirty years seeing Donald Trump in an interview on Oprah. He was still married to Ivana — that’s how long ago it was (he’s had two wives since then and, as we know, a few other relationships). Anyway, he stated that after awhile, it isn’t about what you can buy, it’s a scorecard.

The man with the biggest bank account wins.

That’s a mentality I can’t buy into, and not to worry, it’s not likely to become an issue in this lifetime. But my point with this is, it isn’t simply the money that matters. Paying your bills and buying what you need isn’t the issue for those with great wealth. To whom much is given, much is required — but many seem to lose track of that requirement.

So I’m not asking to be astonished with great wealth. Rather, surprise me with the means to live a relatively simple life, that abililty to replace my worn shoes and keep my electricity from being shut off.

I’m praying, astonish me with that. I’m scared.


Image Credit: © GraphicStock.com

Astonish

 

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The Proof is in the Pudding

And I’m the pudding. It’s all well and good to write endless tomes on how much I’ve learned in recent years, but try putting that to the test. One of life’s pop quizzes on how I’ll respond when things get bad.

I aced it.

Last week the temporary job I was working on — one I’d hoped would become permanent — abruptly ended. The explanation was vague. Colleagues who messaged me said management terminated the contracts of several temporary employees. In all fairness, it is what happens when you’re a contract worker. Still, it’s nice to have a reason.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I discovered I’d accepted the truth of that statement, something I’ve written about on this blog in the past. Rather than agonize and speculate over what happened, I’ve decided not to dwell on it. Time to move on.

This puts me in a bad place financially. In addition to facing a difficult time paying my bills, my credit is at risk. That could have long term consequences.

But I’ve been through bad times before, and I’ve learned you live through them. Things eventually turn around.

I hope my next job lasts for years. I’d like something that could become a part of me, rather than another passing experience. I believe when you set your mind to something it’s more likely to happen, and my hope has become a part of my search criteria.

It’s like they say, wish I knew then what I know now. But that’s such a universal conclusion in people’s lives it tells me there’s some order to our experiences, some reason we internalize beliefs like these when we do.

Tomorrow I may panic. Today I am at peace.


Image © Bigstock

 

So Onward

I have an idea of what I want to do with my life, where I want to go and how I want to be in this world, but getting there is hard.

I’ve had these thoughts before, and pursued my dream. While I may have achieved my goals, that didn’t ultimately bring me happiness. Still, time has taught me so much. It’s possible this time I could find success.

Today I have a better understanding of what holds me back, what I do to myself that leads to failure, or at the very least, failed expectations. I understand my mental health issues (well, still learning there) as well as the source of my insecurities — and the reality of others’.

The bottom line is, I won’t be happy if I compromise my future. So onward — commit to the future, commit to myself.

Take a deep breath and dive in.


Photo Credit: © Dan Nikonov — Fotolia

Commit

Tell me a little about yourself…

I just love job interviews.

AdobeStock_101524983Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for any length of time will sense the ‘tude there. I don’t love job interviews, in fact, like most people, I would prefer never to go through one again.

I’ve had some humdingers, too. The absolute worst was with a human resources intern, who apparently didn’t know the law. You can’t ask questions that will reveal age, and that includes the year you graduated from high school. At least, at that time and in that state, you couldn’t.

“Tell me everything you’ve been doing since you graduated from…what high school did you go to? Where the hell is that?” he asked.

“Are you kidding me?” I responded.

It didn’t get any better, and it lasted a whopping 45 minutes. I thought about putting an end to the misery early on, but given the number of inappropriate questions he was asking about my personal life, I held on. This was a phone interview, and I was betting it was being recorded. I took careful notes, and after our conversation was over, I wrote a brief and straightforward letter to the Human Resources Director letting her know I didn’t believe her intern reflected the best of their organization.

I never heard from that company again.

There are standard questions, and generally I know how to answer them, but sometimes I get tripped up. The one that always stumps me is, “what do you plan to be doing in five years?”

Kittens and popoversI’ve lived long enough to know two things: you can’t predict with any share of accuracy what you’ll be doing in five years, and employers are really asking, how long could we count on you sticking around? That brings up a host of questions you just can’t ask.

Then there are the “tell me about” questions. “Tell me about a time you had an innovative idea that saved lives and changed the world.”  “Tell me about a challenging situation with an outcome that included rescued kittens and popovers.”

The interview usually ends with, “do you have any questions for me?” and of course, you can’t ask for the information you’d really like to take home and ponder. “What are the best and worst things your employees say about your company?” or “Tell me about the unwritten policies.”

AdobeStock_92854227qI’m job hunting now, and I’m smart enough to know potential employers could read this post (as well as anything else I’ve written on this blog). To them I humbly say…rats, I can’t think of what to say. This blog reflects a part of me.

It’s not all of me, though, so I look forward to meeting you and learning more about the great opportunities at your renowned organization.


Image Credits: (Drawings) © Séa — Fotolia; (Cat) © Africa Studio — Fotolia; (Woman Running to Opportunity) © RetroStar — Fotolia.

Everything in its Time…

…but I hope that time is soon.

I’ve written about one of my best friends here in the past before. Laurie has been through a series of heartbreaks in the last few years, but it looks like things are turning around. Fingers crossed, knock wood, please God. Please.

Sand storm

Her husband has been through two major health setbacks, and I do mean major. He had a benign brain tumor that slowly had taken away his ability to function in life before it was diagnosed and removed, days, if not hours, before certain death. A few years after that, doctors discovered he had colon cancer. It took three years for him to be cancer-free.

Laurie’s brother, Monte, wasn’t so lucky. He, too, had been diagnosed with colon cancer, sometime between Dave’s brain surgery and cancer treatments. He developed an infection after the initial surgery, which postponed chemotherapy and allowed the cancer to ravage his body. He died last year, a few months short of his 50th birthday.

Her mom had died only seven months before Monte.  Laurie is heartbroken and emotionally drained. Her reserves are depleted. She finds joy in her children, who thankfully are healthy, happy and on the right track, both in college, both sharp as tacks. Yes, they no doubt carry scars from the years of their dad’s decline, not to mention the trauma that followed, but Laurie and Dave are good parents, there to support them.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from Laurie telling me Dave was interviewing for several jobs, and the interviews were going well. One lasted 75 minutes, and he was called back for a second interview. He hasn’t worked in seven or eight years, and that’s hard on most men. He wants to work, wants to contribute to the family income, wants to be a vital part of the community in that particular way.

Vorsicht Rutschgefahr!

This job sounded perfect for him. I was so excited, and I believed he would get the job. Moments ago I found out he didn’t, which has crushed Laurie. I told her how sorry I was, that I had thought this was it, and at least we know he interviews well, a very important part of the job hunt.

I suspect that piece of good news isn’t important to them right now, but soon, I trust, he will take hope in it.

I always interviewed well, but I remember a period of time where I was getting this close to several jobs, and inevitably I’d get the call: “I was up all night trying to decide, and finally I chose the other candidate. I’m so sorry. If we have any other openings or she doesn’t work out, I’ll call you.”

The first time, the rejection only stung a little. The second time, I was discouraged but had other interviews in the works. The third time, I admit I wasn’t even able to be upbeat when my prospective employer called with the disappointing news. I couldn’t summon the strength to say, “I understand, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the job. I hope we meet again sometime,” or something equally trite yet professional. I did say thank you, of course, but I was feeling deflated and overwhelmed, and it showed.

At some point after that, a former employer called and offered me a job with his new business. Okay, the story doesn’t have a truly happy ending here. It was the dream job from hell. Shortly after I accepted the position, but before I recognized the reality, I got a call from one of the companies I’d interviewed with, asking if I was still available. Given the opportunity to go back in time, yeah, I would have taken that job. But hindsight and so on.

I believe Dave will get a job. I pray it’s something he’s happy with, at least content with, for the time he is there. Yes, I’d love it if he could find something he was passionate about, but right now I believe he’d take a job that was less than his dream position, as long as it was rewarding in some concrete way.

Timing is everything. Persistence is critical. Hope is a gift we must make use of every day.

Remind me of this post in the weeks to come. My own job hunt is underway.


Photo Credits: (Desert Trees) © Nico Smit — Fotolia; (Leaves) © Marion Neuhauß – Fotolia; (Sunrise) © Pellinni – Fotolia

A Lifetime Search

Always the question with job hunting, “what am I capable of doing, and what will I enjoy doing?” We’re told to pursue our passion, to do what we love, but there are times when we must simply seek a job we can do well and be content with for a time, maybe a long time, and perhaps find the greater satisfaction elsewhere.

If I had my choice, I’d write for a living. I’d find someone AdobeStock_109760634 [Converted]who needs a blog writer and work my heart out making theirs the finest blog of its kind. In fact, I’ve been seeking such work, and no doubt it exists, but finding it is another issue.

Still, there are other things I enjoy doing, and I do them well. I’m good at customer service, providing a pleasant experience for others, and I find satisfaction with that work. Again, finding the right job isn’t always easy. I’ve applied for a few positions I think I would enjoy with companies for whom I believe I’d be a good fit, and haven’t heard word boo from them after dropping off my application, even following up with a phone call.

There’s a danger with turning what we love into a career. If we find solace in that work, that peace of mind can be taken away by professional demands. I’ve had countless people over the years tell me I should turn my knitting hobby into a money-making venture, and while that sounds appealing, the reality is, I need my knitting to relax. I don’t need the pressures of customer expectations, marketing, budgeting and all the rest. I need the freedom that comes with a hobby.

adobestock_108511171-converted
Are you sure this price tag is right?

The other reality is, knitting doesn’t lend itself well to making money. If I charged someone for the time and expertise it takes me to complete a project, they’d be a fool to pay it. A simple pair of slippers might be close to $100.

Most of us, however, have multiple skills, capabilities that can bring us pleasure and yes, profit.  We also have personality traits that both expand what we can do best and limit it. It can be a lifteime challenge finding all the possibilities, or even a good mix of some of them.

As we grow older, we change and learn new things about ourselves, we move to areas with different opportunities, we seek new challenges. It’s a search with multiple discoveries.

If you know of anyone looking for a blog writer…but look who I’m talking to! A group of capable writers. Still, it never hurts to put it out there….

Images © geosap — Fotolia

Capable