Job fair prom queen

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So I haven’t written about Job Hunt 2010 because, well, I didn’t want to get fired.

But now that I fired myself and I’m as gainfully unemployed as it gets, it’s as viable a topic as anything else I’ve blathered on about in this space.

For the uninitiated, I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid of what we’re calling a corporate “six pack” — a half-dozen viable offers. (The kind that have hard numbers attached to them; this doesn’t include the other conversations of “hey, if you free yourself up, we’ll find something for you.” Which is amazing in and of itself.)

I’ve spent the last seven glorious days whittling them down to a manageable level, and I’m about to do some traveling to really narrow the choice.

And then, last night, out of the blue, I got a call with one more offer.

< channeling The Count > Seven. Seven offers! Ah hah hah ah. < / channeling The Count >

So anyway, when I’m choosing my next adventure something at the top of my list is aesthetics. I don’t mean a lovely building like I worked in back in Rockville, but clean and safe sounds good to me. No roach motel under the desk is a starting point.

I might get myself crossed off other people’s lists for saying this, but I now listen to what the walls are telling me.

Now before we all go writing me off as schizophrenic (or, for those who know me, “normal”), hear me out. When I worked at the Veggie Patch many moons ago (eight years? Lord, I’m old), I felt like the building was crying. My friends and I commented how strange it was for a brand-new building to have dark memories in the walls of offices that were barely even occupied.

Of course, when you get the stories of who had the offices before you, it provides a LOT of clarity. If you’re replacing a crazy person or a slacker or otherwise someone who was not well-regarded, it won’t do anything to change your own work ethic, but it will put a damper on your energy in barely perceptible ways that add up over time.

So, it’s important for me to get a brand-new position and a brand-new computer. And, quite honestly, the air is much of an interviewer/interviewee as the people you’ll be working with.

I’ve taken my fair share of tours in the past few months. I have an interviewing checklist that’s a mile and a half long. And I’ve whittled down the list to a very manageable level based on my criteria.

And I had gotten myself down to two offers last night when the phone rang around 5:30 p.m. Feast or famine, much?

I was kind of proud of myself to get that offer, sight unseen, based on an offer I didn’t take from someone else in the company who liked me enough to want to find a place for me. (Both the one I turned down and the one who called were hoping I’d come on board. And I liked them both enough to want to find a way to get into their space. I don’t walk away lightly from strong leaders.)

But then I remembered a dinner from long ago and two cocktail parties where I ran into the players throughout the years. People who don’t need a resume to decide whether or not to talk to me. People who thought I said interesting things and that I had experience in, and passion about, things that had never occurred to them. People who understand that I don’t fit into any kind of mold and who are willing to work my weird skill set into their grander business plans.

Which is how this is all going down, by the way.

All I had to do was put out some feelers, and the skies opened up and people I’ve met along my path have not only remembered me, but were quite interested in hearing about not just what I’ve done, but what I’ve always wanted to do.

Now, the hardened realist that I’ve become is wary. A good friend recently pointed out that many of our friends can pick the one derelict out of a sea of nice guys, but with me, I have my head on straight when it comes to men but I get all starry-eyed at career opportunities.

I’m the prom queen of the job fair, I guess. 😉

I’ve taken the last week to get my head back on straight — as if I could un-screw myself up in just a seven-day span — and it’s taken a lot of energy to factor out things like location and compensation packages and really, truly figure out who Goddess wants to be … not necessarily when she grows up, but in the next year or so.

The same friend with that great observation had another take on location, that (X city) will always be there when I’m ready to go there. And, from the sounds of it, so will two custom-tailored opportunities that I’ve decided were the right job a year ago, and maybe will be again a year from now, but don’t necessarily fit the Goddess of this moment.

The most mind-blowing thing of all is how many people said, “Stay in Florida. Work from home. Visit us once a month. Take care of your mom. Move here only if and when you’re ready.”

Um, WOW.

When I think about the Rockville job, I fought for it. Hard. I stalked and practically terrorized my supervisor-to-be. I wanted it BAD. And I’m not gonna say it started out as the dream job I had anticipated, but I had free will and used it liberally to custom-make a dream position.

The downside is that I was good — too good — and I couldn’t pursue more-creative avenues when I had three trips to the buffet all on my one plate. I’m not bragging — it’s easy to be considered good at what you do when no one else knows how to do it.

But what I realized when I was gone that my skill set was so specialized that not everyone could understand or appreciate it. And I haven’t been able to tap into it much lately. Which was OK till I realized I missed it very much and that I’m never going to fit in anywhere that I can’t use those skills that make me special.

It’s funny — I’ve had this insane fear of unemployment dating back to around Thanksgiving. I mean, to the point of having emergency happy pills on hand to soothe my frazzled nerves.

Oddly, now that I don’t know when the next paycheck will arrive, I have a very strong sense of peace. Because, I know it’ll come. And I’ll bust my butt to earn it.

And if this wasn’t a sign, I ran out of happy pills on the day I quit needing them. And I don’t see a need for a refill. More than just my bra cups runneth over!

Now, I’m not the type of girl to knock where I’ve been because I know for a fact that it gets me where I’m going. So join me in singing the “Facts of Life” song where “You take the good, you take the bad, and there you have” not the facts of life, but a very clear picture of what works, what doesn’t and how to marry the two to custom-tailor your desired future to your present.

And in that, I think I just made the most-important decision of my life. …

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