#5 – Facing the Devil I Don’t Know

Isn’t it funny how when you’re gainfully employed, you complain about it? It could be your co-workers, your boss, your benefits, your office, your view, whatever. It wasn’t uncommon for my friends and I to find ourselves in a collective gripe session, which usually led to each of us encouraging the next to look at suchandsuch position that we noticed had opened up. No one ever did.

I had many concerns about where I worked. I thought about finding something “better”, but was too scared to break out on my own, held captive by the popular The Devil You Know vs. The Devil You Don’t teeter-totter (for the record, I always have preferred the devil I knew). I had moved from entry level to the position I last held within a relatively short amount of time considering my education was all internal. I doubled my salary in just eight years. But I always thought I could do better.

For as many faults as I thought the company had, I truly loved the job I had. The only downside is that it was too customized. While I could take some of the skills one learns as an employee to the next employer, the actual duties aren’t transferrable in a town the size I live in. An analogy would be like being a successful mime and then being laid off from the circus. I can’t just go to the circus across the street and know that they will immediately understand my job duties. There is no other circus in town.

I’ve landed several interviews in the past nine months. I’m not sure what happens after that except while I must look good on paper, I fail to meet whatever expectations they are looking for in person. My husband is trying to convince me that I’m more than likely over-qualified for many, which most have been entry level, but I have to start over. Funny, but no one’s hiring mimes right now.

I feel myself falling into a funk that’s seeped in self-doubt and lack of value. I’m lucky to have the temp position I have, and even though many days I am treated with the same respect as my co-workers, I am also reminded frequently that my future here is extended only day-by-day.

One of the canned questions that I’ve been asked in interviews is “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and I have no idea how the hell I’m suppose to answer that. And why even bother? A year ago, just fresh back to work after my maternity leave, I never would have seen myself working as a temp, our COBRA health insurance coverage half way over, with no prospects for permanent employment, and a self-esteem so damaged I’m tearing up over something as inane as this post.