Reinventing My Wheel.
by Christina Michael
How has it become so demanding, so challenging to find a paying job? There is the infamous 6-year cavernous gap in my resume. Yes, all who review my resume say: “This one stopped working to have kids and now expects to have us hire her and give total flexibility.” Strike One. Resume to the shredder.
Why did I want to start working again? Simple: money. We had not put enough into the kids’ 529 college accounts (if it’s going to be as much as the experts say to send a kid to college in the year 2018, maybe we can start a trend of home-schooling at the university level), had not saved the recommended six months of salary in case of emergency, and had not taken many vacations other than visiting relatives (always good to see family, but not exactly Fantasy Island with room service, mini-bar, and in-room movies). To be honest, we needed a second income to pay taxes and health insurance (like Michael Moore shows us in “Sicko,” we should all move to France considering the health care costs in the U.S. and the excellent cuisine and fashion, too boot). O.K. I get it. I might need to find a job. Game On.
My first attempt to on-ramp was me thinking that I could become a real estate mogul, sell a few “phat” houses in Marin County (maybe Sean Penn, Andre Agassi, or another famous local needs a new real estate broker), and easily add a cushion to our bank account. Being a licensed lawyer, I could jump straight to the California Real Estate Broker’s Exam. I just needed to study, pass the test, and sign up a few clients. Easy as pie (or so I thought). I paid for my pretty workbooks and on-line study guides, and I studied for the test. I swore I would never take another exam after the bar exam, but here I was, 14 years later, cramming for weeks at the local library.
Calculator in hand (right, I had to calculate “capitalization rates” – huh?), pencils sharpened, exhausted and sick with nerves, I appeared at the broker’s exam (oh did I need a spa retreat or at least self-prepared cucumber slices applied to my eyes while the kids watched another TiVoed show). I had been studying after my kids went to bed from 9:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. for about six weeks. Boy, did I have a newfound appreciation for my dad, who had helped pay for college, and newfound respect for those who put themselves through school while working and supporting their families (they are the amazing rock stars of our world). Anyhow, at the test, I found myself surrounded by lots of other lawyers and very hard working real estate agents trying to get their broker’s license. Everyone looked eager, really well-prepared, and had lots of industry experience. My heart pounded. My feet were sweating in my Ugg Boots. I had heart burn from the pot of coffee I had just inhaled. I was convinced I was in big trouble. Calgon, take me away. After taking the day-long exam, I left thinking I had gotten my first F. Strike Two. I was ready to go back to the drawing board to reinvent myself again.