This month marks my sixth anniversary. That’s right; I’ve been looking for work for six years and so far I have had a little success but, with each year, my success seems to diminish. The requests for interviews are fewer and farther between. Which is why I am so very grateful for the opportunity to earn some income, helping self-published writers edit and proofread their manuscripts.
It’s easy to get discouraged. But that would serve no purpose. So what do I do?
Keep applying for jobs.
I have several alerts set up for various jobs, most of them requiring less skills than I can actually offer. With 10+ years of administrative assistant experience, I am applying for anything from receptionist to administrative assistant (duh). I also apply for seasonal employment positions in various retail locations. I have retail experience selling everything from fast food to clothing to books. So it’s not that I feel I’m too good for minimum wage. Heck, I make below minimum wage doing the proofreading. That’s not the point. I’m just trying to make a steady income.
I did some volunteer work.
For over three years, I did volunteer work in hopes of getting new opportunities. I finally decided that I can’t afford to give my skills away. If someone wants me to write/edit/proofread then I will be paid to do it. If I do not value my talents, why should anyone else? It was nice to help other people fulfill their goals and dreams, to open new doors and new opportunities for them, but, when I asked one person to write me a letter of recommendation and all he did was send me an attachment of a .doc that he didn’t even sign and wasn’t on letterhead, I had enough. I think I deserve better and I won’t settle for less. Minimum wage is better than nothing. Volunteer work that wasn’t even helping me network, let alone getting me any employment opportunities, resulted in nothing and I’m worth more than nothing.
I try to keep my skills up to date.
I take online courses offered through my local library to help me not fall too far into a rut with what I know how to do but things like mail merge still become rusty because I don’t do it often enough. And, as you all know, I took several courses, earned TWO certifications for medical billing and coding because I thought having some certification would open new opportunities. Yes, it’s discouraging that even this hasn’t resulted in any calls for job interviews but I’m still committed to learning what I can to make me more hirable.
I take care of myself.
When you’re unemployed, it’s so easy to let things go—to gain weight, stop doing our hair, shaving, plucking, etc. I mean, why bother plucking your eyebrows or shaving your legs, right? Well, I know that my taking care of myself in these little ways makes me feel a little better about myself. More importantly, it shows the world I’m ready. You never know when an opportunity is going to be there so I try to keep myself looking somewhat pulled together just in case I meet someone who wants to hire me or knows someone who needs my skills. I want to be prepared, just in case, because the little things matter.
I refuse to give up.
I have been trying to think outside the box lately, of creative ways to possibly bring in more income. Easier said than done. Unfortunately, I tend to talk myself out of some of these ideas before I really give them a try. Why put more effort into not making money when I can use that time and energy into looking for something online, tweaking my résumé and such.
But maybe it’s time for me to take a few risks and see what happens. Whatever else I do, as I already said, I’m not going to give up. I know that there are ways for me to make some money, somewhere, out there, or even right here before my eyes. I just have to keep knocking on doors until something opens up for me. Six years hasn’t been enough to stop me. I just hope it won’t be another six years before something turns around.