Tag Archives: unemployment

Heaping Doses

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Since I can remember, I’ve been idealistic. Not optimistic- I certainly fall into negative traps when things don’t go well. But idealistic? Feeling like even though things aren’t where I want them right now doesn’t mean the situation won’t change soon? Yes. That’s me.

There are many people in my life (and I love them deeply) who are steeped in reality. They insist on practicality. They ask the question “How” before getting to the …well, anything. I always felt that the “How” (as in HOW is this going to be accomplished) was totally secondary. The “How” would be figured out when absolutely necessary. I was often too busy moving towards my goal to get distracted by how I’d get there.

Over the last year and a half, and certainly since I started this blog, I’ve been suffocating in the “How”. A missing reality chip that seemed to be left out of my DNA crept in. Reality and adulthood felt synonymous. I admired (read: envied) those loved people in my life who focused so intently on the “How”. Until today.

A good way to describe unemployment is the feeling you might get from having the ground pulled out from underneath you. Even if you’ve never been unemployed, I’ll bet you’ve had that feeling somewhere along the way. Right? Sort of like you’re treading water, flailing about, trying to grab hold of something. Anything.

Pretty dark, I know.

That something to grab hold of depends on who’s drowning. We might try to grasp hold of someone to blame, the righteous ones are steady to their faith in God, some might settle on a plan that is totally dissatisfactory for a number of reasons but offers that glorious thing called stability. Sometimes all of the above.

For me, I realized I lost the idealism I had before. I labelled it naivete. I was so silly to not have a steady plan that was unsinkable. If only we had thought things through better. If only we had followed a different path. If only we had chosen what was sensible instead of what was challenging but meaningful.

It only just occurred to me that idealism is a gift. A motor that drives those lucky ones who possess it to keep on keepin’ on. Until we hit gold. Naysayers who believe it’s impossible – yes I’m speaking to the tiny  voice inside my head too- will never get there. Success is for us lucky idealistic fools who know the “How” is less important than the “Who”, “What”, and “Why”.

I’m not sure if I’ve reclaimed my idealism in its original totality but I am now committed to working on it. To my realistic, beloved friends and family, you can have realism. I’ll take heaping doses of idealism from here on out.

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Into the Fog

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I remember my friend being jealous of me at 19 which was fair. She called me lucky and I was. I had figured myself out; what direction I wanted my life to go. I knew that I wanted to reach out to other Jews as a career. I knew I wanted to raise a religious Jewish family. My friend, on the other hand, wasn’t sure of what she wanted or who she was. Come to think of it, I had been blessed with complete clarity from a very young age. I knew for certain at 12 of who I wanted to be at 24. I made decisions at 14 that were based on goals for my 18 year old self.

Imagine my surprise to wake up at 30 in a fog. That’s what I feel I have been walking around in for the past year. A haze of thoughts, circumstances, and postponed decisions circling me and for the first time since I can remember, I lack the certainty I’ve always taken for granted. We’re supposed to ask ourselves what God wants from us given the situations we’re presented. Want to know what happens when you ask yourself the same question over and over again? Disconnection from the original question. A white noise whitewashing any hint of my inner voice.

Ironically, I’m jealous of myself at 19 too. Where did that assured girl go? The unadulterated idealism that wasn’t shadowed by responsibility and practicality? It’s as though someone put a thick pair of glasses over my eyes when I could see just fine before. Or maybe someone just took my much needed pair of glasses off.

There is an upside. I’ve learned to live in the moment. It’s the only way to be happy. If I find myself  contemplating the future, I remind myself that worry and stress is counterproductive. So now I just push (shove) thoughts of the future out of my mind. I look around at my wonderful family, my nice -rented- condo, the food in my fridge, my health and the health of those I love. But what if I can’t feed my family tomorrow? What if I can’t afford to pay next month’s rent? These questions are monsters hiding under my bed. They only exist in my mind.

There’s another upside. I’ve also learned that if I turn outward, if I refocus my attention toward people in need (emotionally or otherwise), I stop feeding my negative thoughts. There’s no space for self-absorbed negativity when you are put in the position of being someone else’s cheerleader.

I’m in a fog about many things but of one thing I’m crystal clear: Life is for living and living well. We only get one chance to live this life the way we think best and I’d much rather soak up my blessings than panic that they’ll disappear tomorrow. This silver lining is my lifeboat as I wade through the fog.

We’re on the Eve of Destruction

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Today marked the end of my winter break and the six month anniversary since we left our Kiruv (Jewish Outreach) jobs in Los Angeles to start anew in San Diego. These are the two reasons why today should have been tough but thankfully I succeeded in shoving those pesky thoughts into the back of my mind so I could soak up the sun and enjoy ice cream, the beach, and a playground with my kiddies. It’s funny how in 2014 (!) Americans who are going through difficult financial times can still enjoy luxuries like cell phones and Starbucks. We stress about the future but when I take a second to look around at the here-and-now, I see we have it good. Still, many moments I’m not plugged into such present-mindedness and I worry.

Sometimes my husband and I lose our patience while waiting for The Answers. In case you don’t know, here are The Questions:

  1. Will he find a job?
  2. When?
  3. What?
  4. Where?
  5. Will he like it?
  6. Will it like him?
  7. Will it support us?

When we hit boiling point- when we feel like we’re on the eve of destruction– we brainstorm. My husband predictably mentions creating our own small business and buying a lottery ticket. I predictably suggest starting our own non-profit. Somehow by the time the kids are in bed for the evening, the momentum is lost and we apply for a few more jobs online, shoot out a couple emails, and call it a productive night.

While doing something dramatic to rescue us quickly from a panic is tempting, the small consistent effort we invest has to amount to something…right? Well, we’ll keep on trucking. Maybe a virtual fairy godmother will read this and pluck us out of our maze with a tweet, link, text, email, or status update that solves everything. Meantime, I’m hittin’ the hay to wake up for work tomorrow- a job that ends in June- gulp. Torah wisdom tell us that “salvation comes in the blink of an eye” and we learn from this to never despair in the face of imminent destruction. While it’s tempting to allow negative thoughts to creep in, particularly on a day like today, I have faith redemption is around the corner.

Thanksgiving it’s Chanukah!

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Happy Chanukah! Happy Thanksgiving! I had a wonderfully low-key day with the kids and when my husband, Daniel, returned from supervising the kosher department at a local market, my whole family sat down to a turkey and latke dinner like many American Jewish families I know. I love the overlapping theme of gratitude in Thanksgiving and Chanukah- it’s a great time to appreciate what and who matter most.

Did Maya Angelou really say this? It makes this quote so credible if she did. Either way, until we make a stable and comfortable living (God willing), I endeavor to follow her advice (funny how easy it is to take advice from Maya) and count my blessings, kiss my kids, and appreciate my life. Still, even with full bellies and gratitude, we carved out a part of our evening to The Job Hunt. Gulp.

If only finding a job just required a couple clicks on a keyboard. I have concluded that technology has hindered our prospects because employers are flooded with resumes as soon as they post a job on any career site- Jewish sites included.  Daniel and I search Indeed.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, LinkedIn.com, JewishJobs.com…to no avail. We are often led through tedious and repetitive applications that go unnoticed as some HR ghost hoards resumes like I hoard chocolate (joking of course- our chocolate never lasts long). Still, we search, apply, email, call, rinse, repeat.

There are so many well-meaning people out there dispensing “feedback” that leaves me scratching my head. We moved to San Diego in the summer and yes, as a matter of fact, I do know San Diego has a high cost of living with very few jobs for Jewish community leaders and finance people. But we made the decision to be here- for now. Why? For starters, I have parents and a sister who I liberally boss around (I am the baby in my family even at 30) which really helps me adjust to working full-time and supporting a husband who is struggling to find a job/career. One of the first women I was introduced to in San Diego instructed me to move somewhere else because the prospects are so dismal. Funnily enough, her husband just found a job.  Those who believe they’ve cracked the code for finding a dream job in record time love to tell us how we need to focus more, work harder, network better, smile wider.

There’s another category of unwanted advisers who have equally good intentions. I dub them Whandis (Wannabe Gandhis). These are the sweet people who knowingly tell me beautiful but empty rhetoric that sounds more like a greeting card than a to-do list  (see above- yes, I’m serious).

The feedback I really appreciate is specific, constructive, tangible and (even better when) paired with effort on the part of the adviser. Any kind of effort from anyone who might know someone who knows someone is appreciated. Short of that, if a close friend or family member reassures me with “You’ll see, it will be okay” that warms my heart because (depending on the day) I know it will, in fact, be okay. Listening (or in your case- reading) is huge too since I get to kvetch my little heart out and then go about my day business as usual.

So I raise my Thanksgivukah glass to you, well-meaning naysayers, Wandhis, family, and friends. Keep the feedback coming- the silence would get boring after a while anyway. And while you’re talking, maybe you can pass along the word that Daniel is looking for a job?

The following links below are Daniel’s resumes: One for a position in non-profit (rabbinical/director capacity) and the other in finance. We had help from family, friends, and professionals and somehow still feel unsure of the finance one (I’m pleased with the non-profit because of his experience). I do ask that you read one (or two!) and, if at all possible, forward along to friends and colleagues. If you could share this blog with others you know so they too can help, I’d be grateful. It’s hard to be in the vulnerable position of asking for favors but here I am so THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Here’s the link to his rabbinical resume:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7JHujxI2lfHMEN4MzNlWU96NlE/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s the link to his finance resume:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7JHujxI2lfHdml0X3BlOXJFd2R4RThfeWRJZ3hWYm5vMGhn/edit?usp=sharing  

 

Unemployment

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This isn’t my husband but if the sign fits… As it turns out, my husband is job hunting. Don’t get me wrong- we’re grateful for the job he has but while kosher supervision is necessary and puts food on the table (pun intended), he doesn’t want it to be his future.

So now you know. If you’re my facebook friend and now you’ve found my blog, don’t be offended to find out this way! We’re real friends and not just the facebook kind (probably!) but I’m not the greatest “networker” and tend to be private- despite this very public appearance.

My husband, Daniel, got his degree in Finance from YU and is taking graduate-level classes in Finance at UCSD. If you hear of a job opportunity, I’d so appreciate you thinking of him and dropping me a message. It’s tough out there! For more on that and this blog, read this.

As I said before, I like my privacy and in that vein, blogs leave bloggers…exposed! Plus what can I contribute? There are some incredible Jewish blogs out there. I love this blog for recipes and great food pictures. I love this blog for scarf inspiration to beautify the mitzvah of covering a married Jewish woman’s hair. I like many Torah-based blogs for thought-provoking articles. So, why/how should I write a unique blog?

No two people are alike and all I have are my personal experiences. Truth is, this blog is for me- this is a year of transition and challenge and I’d like to document it to look back on because I have faith that God will get us through this.

A-journey-of-a-thousand-miles

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. These are wise words but the Jews put it differently: Rabbi Tarfon (Pirkei Avos 2:16) said  “It is not incumbent on you to finish the work – but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it!” With that in mind, I enter the blogosphere with every intention to come and no plans to stay. Take your shoes off, put your feet up, and make yourself at home! Mi blog es su blog and I welcome anyone’s feedback.