When too many good things happen at once

Getting laid off last October was bad. The feelings of hopelessness when perusing job postings was worse. Then it was updating the resume and preparing all the paperwork that goes into applying for a job once a semi-appropriate one was located. The ensuing onslaught of rejection letters without the benefit of an interview was horrible. Actually having interviews and then not hearing anything or getting that “we went with another candidate who better met our needs” really stunk. I went through this for about 8 months. I know many people are dealing with similar situations and have been for longer periods of time, but for me, this was a first and it seemed really, really bad. I had worked at least part-time pretty much since I was 16 and never had a problem finding something. Now I had two degrees, one a master’s, and there was nothing.

Last Friday I finally had an interview and a job offer all in the same day! It was one of the first jobs I had applied for after being laid off: Family Case Manager for the state’s Department of Children Services. I was friends with someone in the department and figured I had an “in.” But last October when I applied, there were no openings. I was pre-screened for the position via phone and then told my application would be kept on file. Then there was silence until last week.

At the time I interviewed I knew it was for a full-time position and that I had been accepted to a graduate program to get my master’s of library science degree. I wasn’t sure what to do if I received a job offer since it didn’t seem possible to do both full-time job and full-time school. (I know, people do it, but this was about me, and for me, it didn’t seem possible.) I decided I would do the interview and go from there. Heck, I am horrible at interviews and I was warned beforehand that this was one of those “tell me a time when…” interviews that I am particularly horrible at. I figured I wouldn’t even get an offer. But it’s a decent paying job (more than I’ve ever made before) for the state, and I had been so excited about applying for it way back when, so I had to at least give it a try. You know the aftermath.

I had made the decision on my drive home from the interview that if I happened to be offered this job, I would take it. I would defer my enrollment into graduate school and if I ended up wanting to pursue that degree at a later time, I still could. And that was that.

Yesterday I got my official acceptance letter from the graduate school I applied to. I had previously only been notified of my acceptance via email. With my acceptance letter I also received a letter saying I’ve been awarded a Dean’s Fellowship. As long as I am enrolled full-time, I receive $250 per credit hour taken towards my tuition. This is so exciting because I’ve never been awarded any kind of financial aid for school other than Stafford loans and I am already paying back the ones from my bachelor and previous master programs. I also looked through the paperwork a little more closely, and even if I defer my enrollment, I still have to pay the enrollment fee, which I thought was deferred as well.

So now I have to make the decision of whether or not to try to go to school while doing this full time job. And it would have to be full-time school to take advantage of the Dean’s Fellowship. Just when I thought I had everything figured out.

Side note: I made a romper! Picture posted on my art page.

July 13: the day I rejoy the workforce!

Way back last October when I got laid off, one of the very first places I put in an application was with the Department of Family & Children Services because I have a master’s of social work. Last week I got a voicemail from our local DFCS asking if I were still interested in a position with them and would come in for an interview. Well, heck yeah! The voicemail was left at approximately 8:50am and I didn’t get it until early afternoon. By the time I called them back, they had filled up all their interview slots, but would hold on to my application for the next time they had an opening. Bummer! I applied months and months ago and this was the first opening they had.

So, this week I get another voicemail saying they are hiring again and would I like an interview? I called them right back and arrived for my interview at 12:40 this afternoon. Now, interviews are not my forte – especially not those “tell me a time…” interviews, which this was. I felt totally flustered, my usual interview reaction. But I was there for about an hour and things seemed to go pretty well. I called M. on the way home and told him the interview went okay and that I would know soon because they are moving fast and are supposed to let people know either way this afternoon or Monday, at the latest.

I got home about 2:00 and had time to change, turn on HGTV and catch most of Designer’s Challenge when my phone rang. I answered and was told I was being offered a job! Finally! July 13th is my start date – the day I will need to begin a 6-week long training course in the state capital. M. is not so excited about the 6 weeks, but having a two-income household again? He is thrilled! And so I am!

So where have I been?

I plan to start posting a monthly calendar on my blog each month because I know all my readers are just so interested in what I am doing. (ha ha ha) I posted the first calendar for May and here’s an update on where I’ve been in May.

Well, working. Getting back into the swing of things at my old job. I have a temporary position there while a coworker recuperates from back surgery. Seven months is a long time to be out, but it’s all coming back to me and I think I picking up on the new stuff. Just as my stint is ending I should be all caught up on everything! While I don’t really want to work, seeing some of those faces more often is nice and it’s good to be contributing to the household income again.

I attended our library event on plants for our region. M. came along and read the rules for some war game he’s playing while I tried to jot down notes using my lap as a desk. It was okay, but obviously did not inspire me too much since I’ve done absolutely nothing in the way of landscaping in the yard. Still a blank canvas. We have a screened-in porch and I did get that all cleaned up last Friday. It was full of dirt and cat hair.

My friend ended up buying lunch for me for my birthday. Awww. 🙂 I also had my first tv appearance. Our local Fox channel interviewed me for their “Hire Me” week. Each day last week they profiled a different person looking for a job and I aired on Tuesday. I felt disorganized and flustered when the the reporter and cameraman were in my house, but ultimately, I thought the edit job they did was good and it turned out okay. M. found the video online and has saved it for all prosperity. Still no job offers…

I am now 30 years old! I remember when my sister-in-law turned 30 and had a meltdown of sorts. I don’t feel any different than I did about 10 years ago, so really 30 is just another age to me. It means that I am probably going to click the next age bracket up on surveys and that I am a bit closer to midlife, but feeling older? I do not. M. took me to a nice dinner and to the zoo. Awesome times! My birthday was also my first short-term weight loss goal. I missed it by about 1 pound. I blame my birthday.

Since M. took me to an out of town zoo for my birthday, I ended up skipping the book discussion at the library on The Gift of Rain. I keep scheduling myself to attend these discussions and haven’t joined in one yet! The book was just okay. I probably wouldn’t have read it if not for the plan to attend the discussion.

Yesterday I big plans to attend a workshop at the library on writing memoirs and then going to a local school corp job fair. I got the library early to pick up some books on job interviews (I am just terrible at the interview part, but so far really haven’t had to worry about it since I’ve had so few calls for interviews). I went to bed really late Friday night and my internal clock really doesn’t let me sleep past 6am most mornings no matter what time I went to sleep – so I was up early. By the time I found the books I wanted, I was starting to feel really tired. I saw that the flow of people into the meeting room where the memoir workshop was held was mostly white, fuzzy haired people. So I decided to instead get a jump start on the job fair.

First of all, there was no parking anywhere near the door to the building where the job fair was held. So I parked in the middle of nowhere and hiked in my heels and suit. By the time I finally got in I had sweat running down my face and my back. Very attractive. The building’s air conditioning was not turned on, so this condition did not improve. Most people were there for teaching positions and most were interested in elementary schools. The line for elementary was extensive and filled the entire place making it difficult to find anything else. I, of course, was interested in any non-teaching positions and thought myself lucky since those lines appeared to be short. After some searching, I ended up in the line for information technology even though it really isn’t my area. I just wanted to start talking to some people since that was what I was there to do – schmooze for a job. Info Tech guy told me they anticipate having 1-2 positions open in January 2010, so I handed him my resume and started hunting for more non-teaching tables. I found another for after school programs and since I had worked for the after school programs while I was completing my master’s degree, I stopped by there too and handed off a resume, even though I don’t think the pay will make it worth my while if they do call me. The next table was labeled “support services.” I wasn’t totally sure what this meant, but thought it might be what I was looking for. I got in line. Fortunately, some school corp guy was talking to people in line and told me that the “support services” were custodial, bus transportation, and food services. Okay, not what I was looking for. I was hot and beginning to get very frustrated. The flier for this thing said “Hiring for all positions!” Down the side was listed a variety of areas they were looking for people – including administration which was the main area I was interested in. Where was the darn admin table?

There wasn’t one. I heard someone talking to a school corp representative and she said they did not have a table for administrative positions, that people interested should complete an online application and check their job postings on their website. Well, I have been doing that since I was laid off last October. It would have been nice if the flier had said something to the effect, “if you’ve filled out an online app and have been job searching our website, basically, this job fair will be a total waste of your time, especially for those looking for non-teaching positions.” So I hiked back to my car and drove home. The entire morning was a bust.

The rest of the day went better. I made some tasty turkey roll-ups for lunch, took a nap, finished dresses for my nieces (pictures will be posted on my art page), and made crispy chicken tenders from a new recipe and M., the somewhat finicky eater liked them! M. and I also finally got some of our 2 hour show finales knocked out.

Today I finally got to my blog – I’ve missed my blog. And I plan to finish the book I am currently reading, The Forgotten Garden. I also have to write an essay for my library science program application because I am going back to school!

Work and Interviews

I went back to work this Monday. I went back with mixed feelings. I want to make money, I want to help out the person having to have surgery, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to the place I had worked for almost 5 years and then was let go. Monday I walked in, and it was almost like returning to a past home. I really do love the people there, and they make it all worth it, even if it is temporary.

This afternoon I was interviewed by our local Fox affiliate for their “Hire Me” week. The cameraman likened the segment to their “Adopt a Pet” feature. Maybe an employer will adopt me? I hope so! I will probably be volunteering at our library soon too. I have hopes that the volunteering will eventually lead to a job. It should at least help me determine whether or not I want to pursue a degree in library science.

May

May will be a busy month for me. Here’s what is coming up (so far).

Monday, May 4th: Will be returning to my old job temporarily (6-8 weeks) to help out while another staff member has surgery. It will be good to earn some money again and work with my old buddies, but I’ve been off work so long now I don’t know that I ever want to go back! I have no choice…

Tuesday, May 5th: Attending a seminar at the library on plants for our region. I’ve been taking lots of walks around the neighborhood lately and would love to start gradually adding some landscaping to our yard. Right now our yard is a blank canvas.

Wednesday, May 6th: Lunch with a great friend at Chili’s and interviewing with a local news station for their “Hire Me” week. Hopefully this will generate some employer interest in me. I’ve never been on TV before, so new experience for me.

Sunday, May 10th: Not only is it Mother’s Day, it’s my 30th birthday too! It’s also my first short-term weight loss goal deadline. As of this morning, I need to lose another 2 pounds to make it. Starting today off with a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood was a good start. Check out my art page the week after Mother’s Day for pictures of the gifts I made.

Monday, May 11th: Attending a book discussion at the library on The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. I have got to get some reading time in this week and review the discussion questions! Don’t forget to check out my Book Bag page for a list of what I’ve read.

Saturday, May 16th: A local school corporation is having a job fair that I would like to attend, plus the library is having a seminar on writing your memoir. These overlap, so I may have to make a decision on which to attend.

Monday, May 18th: Our niece turns 4 years old. I have plans to make a dress for her out of a pillowcase. Pictures to be posted on my art page once completed.

Sunday, May 24th: Going to a graduation cookout party for a friend’s daughter. She was also the only person I’ve managed in my career. She was our summer office assistant before I was laid off. I will at least have a card to post on my art page.

Sunday, May 31st: A good friend’s birthday.

In the midst of all that, I will also be continuing my job search, researching library science careers, deciding if I want to pursue a MLS degree, looking for ways to save on our household shopping, trying to get some time in to complete some skirts (bought the fabric ages ago and haven’t used it yet), keeping up the house, searching for new, healthy recipes, and lots of other things. I should have some good blog posts coming!

Happy May!

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