Friday, August 8, 2014

From Unemployed Sad Person to Employment Specialist

Oh hey my blog, what you been up to while I spend my summer wondering what to do with you and what to use you for? Other than attracting the most ridiculous spammy comments? 

Isn't it funny how for the longest time it feels like nothing is happening, then suddenly everything happens at once? If you tried to remind me of these 'big bang occurrences' during my 'nothing is happening' phase I probably would have punched you and returned to my corner to sulk. However, here I am on the other side of an eventful few weeks. Eventful it still is. 

You might know by now that in the last two months we've gone from renters to home owners (although it's more like need-to-give-lots-of-money-to-the-bank-over-a-few-decades kind of "owners"). We've become pet parents. I found a full time job! I found a full time job that I adore. I found a second job that I also love for more reasons than I can say. Also, it's still summer which is like the delicious hot caramel syrup topping on the ice cream cake. 

Am I here today to brag, to use this social media tool to try make my life look amazing and puppy filled? YES! Jokes! Of course not!! I do feel it important to share, because I want to fill this space with reminders that life is weird and sometimes you need to wait and wait..... and wait for what feels like years before the next step makes itself known. Oh the wisdom of my late twenties. 

My employment life from the day I arrived in the US has been a volatile and difficult one (comparatively to my employment life in South Africa and Vietnam). I couldn't work for the first few months because of green card restrictions, so I interned and worked for free while I figured out what to do when I grow up. I did different things, I tried on the dreams of a variety of careers and nothing seemed to fit. I prayed for wisdom, I prayed for direction and the answers never seemed to be a clear cut "Do A, then B, then proceed to super fun C"... The answers where more along the lines of "Trust Me" "Don't be Afraid" "My Grace is sufficient for you". Not exactly the A-Z I was earnestly seeking, but still the most valuable wisdom I could have gotten from this season. 

I got hired for a job late last year that I don't want to spend too much time on because my time there still gives me nightmares (no really). I couldn't stay for long, I had to get out. I was desperate to find the direction and run with determination towards this idea that I've found what I was looking for. My passion. That thing that makes me come alive. You know how the Pinterestable wisdom goes right? I still couldn't seem to get it. What was wrong with me I thought? Why can't I just figure this out. 

So I became a "freelance", even now I can't exactly tell you what I was doing. Was I trying to be a Social Media Manager, a writer, a content manager? I did do some cool things for some cool people, but I was far from really making a career out of it. So the search for a job continued. I felt embarrassed. I felt like a failure for still being basically unemployed. I couldn't bare the thought of having the "So what do you do?" conversation with anybody. I didn't want to be around people. And as I would later realize I neeeed to be around people. I spent my days on and other generic job search websites. I felt discouraged a lot. I cried often. I would jump over the seventeen hoops that is a job application process for jobs I didn't even want to begin with. I would have hot tempered conversations with my resume for failing to be impressive enough. Bah, it sucked! 

Then one day I found a job posting on one of these generic job search sites for an employment specialist at World Relief. I would not even have thought twice about applying for something like that months before, I mean, that's like HR type work right? I'm not HRish... But in those job searching days I jumped on anything that wasn't manufacturing or medical related and read the description. "Employment Specialist" yeah, the irony wasn't lost on me. I almost didn't apply thinking that how could I help others find a job if I myself couldn't even find a job? Then it occurred to me... wouldn't I be more useful in helping others find a job with all this time of applying, and interviewing and resume making experience? I held on to the latter thought and applied. Long story short after a few rather stressful weeks in themselves later I got the job and I love it.  Working with people makes me "come alive" as they say.

World Relief, if you are unfamiliar with them as I was, is a Christian world wide NGO, their work in Spokane is specifically to help resettle and establish the weekly arrivals of refugees to the city. The refugees come from all over the globe, from Iraq to Burma, from Congo to Ukraine. I work as part of the team that help them find employment. There are so many things I want to tell you about what I've learned since starting this job in June, but I still want to find the right words. 

I moonlight for Apple Brides and try do most of my work on Fridays when I don't work at World Relief. It's a bizarre combination of things that's helping me bring home some of the bacon these days and for now, I wouldn't have it any other way. For example yesterday I was trying to say 'see you again' in Nepali and crying because one of my clients didn't get the interview. Today was spent mostly on wedding blogs putting together this post about wedding cake and colorful bridesmaids dresses. It's been an interesting week.

Let me end this sudden burst of writing my heart out here and save it for the new home tour I'm planning to share with you next week. 
If you're in a place where work or lack of work is a cause of sadness and frustration for you please email me, let me know how I can pray for you and with you if you'd like. I know what you're going through. I know what it feels like to be the grown up of 'when I grow up' without the job.  lanette 906 at yahoo dot com. That's all for now xoxo


  1. I'm so-so-so happy for you to finally find what you want and live through all of these wonderful changes and events! I know how you felt, I went through it too and I was so miserable trying to avoid people and their "So what do you do?" questions. I'm still not sure what I'll do in the future and if I'm going to fall into the same old marsh again. But I'm going to see you this weekend and it's the only thing that matters for today :-) Congratulations again on all of the amazing happenings!

    1. Thank you so much for being so happy along with me for these things! I just love that I know when you say "I know how you feel/felt" I can 100% know that you do! These stages might come again in both our lives, so it's good to remember that those times will come to an end! Ah how much I'm going to miss you kids!!! xo