Reinventing My Wheel.

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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.

 

 

ljtex
10.07.07

What a great piece! Your feelings are probably echoed by many of us. I have been off the road for 4 years and will be for a few more and don't look forward to the awkward time of finding a job again. I felt some comfort reading about your anxiety and unease , as I feel those same things when I think about having to reinvent myself and reenter the away-from-home-workforce. I've changed, my industry (media/newspapers) has drastically changed, it will not be easy.
Bravo, I can't wait to hear the end of your tale.

Nancy
10.04.07

Such a funny, well-written piece! I, too, felt I was reading my own biography! I gotcha beat--I'm off ramp for 14 years! I have found a great way to work a bit, court-mandated arbitration. It's not quite enough work, but it's a great way to make extra money. All you gals should look into it! For other part-time work, I have been applying to various HR/paralegal positions. The problem is, the part-time positions just won't pay anything in the range I need. I totally understand why it has taken us so long to find something! I do believe it exists, though!
Thanks for your great insight and thoughts!

joie16
10.03.07

I'm looking forward to reading your next post. I hope the interview went well.

leighrubio
10.03.07

I love hearing this, because I see the wave of the future - the tide will change with women like you - supporting other women who lead a started, then paused, then restarted professional path. All it takes is for a few to break through, and reach out and down to pull the others up...

henson
10.03.07

I concur with hksaeed. I too am a licensed attorney in 3 states seeking to find what I want to do when I grow up. Please finish your story.

hksaeed
10.02.07

I felt like I just read my biography (being a lic. lawyer, 5 yrs at home, now headed back to work PT or flex)--I am DYING to find out the end of your story......please finish! (p.s., so can you sum up and shed advise for all those "law school grads-don't want to be a lawyer-need to work-but can only do it PT" types out there!)

mvmom
09.26.07

Hilarious and sadly true!! Why is it not ok to EVER leave the workforce? I'm off-ramped right now and ecstatic personally but scared to death professionally. We're all rooting for you.

queen bee
09.25.07

Finally! Someone who can understand to challenges of returning to work, on a schedule that fits you, your child and your husband's 14-hour-a day job!! AMEN. For some crazy reason I decided to go back to school and finish my degree when my son was almost 2. I finally reached that proud moment when I got to walk across the stage of Auburn University, as I waved proudly to my family while my son (now 3) was giving me the "thumbs up." I couldn't help but think the world was my oyster. Now, almost five months later and a move to Florida I can't even get anyone to respond to my e-mails or faxes. I should be a policy that if a company receives a resume for a posted job they should respond within 24 hours to those applicants, at the very least with a receipt of the documents. I'm frustrated, in a new town and my son is staying home with me until I find a job. Which makes it so much easier to take phone calls from expectant employers. Especially when he's screaming for a pop tart in the background. Congratulations to you and it gives me hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel.