Getting it all together

I’ve got a meeting with a recruiter later today – just an informal get-to-know-you type of meeting. I’m preparing in advance, with a fresh copy of my resume, a portfolio of work I can show them, as well as familiarity with the rates that are being offered in the target areas where I’m looking. I’ve figured out what I need my rate to be, and I’ve figured out the logistics of simplifying my life along specific lines — being able to take public transit, having a regular workday (instead of a non-stop constant push to produce for the sake of being busy), narrowing the scope of my work to be a handful of things, instead of everything, and getting out of the office politics business.

I think I’m probably better prepared now, than I’ve ever been for any other jobs I’ve ever gotten. Before, it was just take-what-comes, and then worry about fitting myself into a position later. That has kept food on the table, but it hasn’t made me all that happy. No situation is perfect, but I’ve had to shoehorn myself into some pretty unpleasant situations — and that’s largely because I was not the best prepared with my own requirements and clarity about what I wanted to do with myself.

This time, it’s very different. I’m getting all my ducks in a row, getting clear about what I will and will not do — and making careful notes to myself that I can reference. I have a lot of options available to me, and at the same time I’m surrounded by people who have plenty of agendas of their own, which I need to watch out for.

In the past, I have just “winged it” — but this time I am getting things in order, so I can be thoughtful and aware and put my best foot forward. It’s a change that feels a little uncomfortable, because I like to fly by the seat of my pants at times. But so often that has gotten me flown into a bunch of sh*t coming off a fan. And I’ve had some pretty unhappy results.

I think probably the best solution for me is to simply contract. The times when I have worked on contract were actually really freeing. I didn’t have to worry about the politics, I could just make my money and go home, and not have to worry about bonuses and all that. I friggin’ hate bonuses and performance reviews. I just want my money up front. Pay me what I’m really worth — what my work is worth to you — and be done with it. Enough of the politics… the stupid, stupid politics. The games, the maneuvering, the intrigue. Screw that. Show me the money.

Well, anyway, we’ll see how it goes today. I’m feeling pretty positive, overall, while not getting cocky about things. Just preparing. Planning. And showing up as present as I can be.



Vacation lifestyle gone bad


A good friend of mine has not held down a regular job since 1998. They have had a bunch of unfortunate things happen to them, and they have been fighting off panic/anxiety attacks for over 15 years, now. They actually had to leave their job because of the panic attacks. And they haven’t really made a full-on effort to find full-time work, since they “dropped out” of the work scene in ’98.

It’s been a little frustrating to watch, I have to admit. Looking at them, I see someone who is perfectly capable of living their life, but they have this perception of themself as not being able to hold down a “real” job. They’ve done a lot of contracting and taken in odd jobs over the years, but nothing more, in no small part because they keep telling themself (and the rest of the world) that nobody wants a worker like them.

What do you say to someone like this? They are actually quite employable, and when they were working, they were popular, well-liked, and often got offers of advancement. They’ve had the panic/anxiety under control for several years now. But still, no genuine attempts to make a living have been undertaken.

They keep saying they “can’t” — but in my gut, I am sure they could, if they just gave it a shot and didn’t give up.

They fret about not having enough money. No, “fret” is not the right word. “Bitch and moan” is more like it. But talk to them about getting a job, and it’s like you’re suggesting they start selling drugs on a street corner, or start peddling their body to dirty old men in expensive cars.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encouraged them and given them pep talks about getting on with their life. But the words seem to fall on deaf ears. What do you do, when someone you genuinely like and care about won’t take the initiative to do for themself — when they’re even more fit to do so, than a lot of people you know — even, at times, yourself?

It’s a quandary. Because even when I was wandering around in a funky daze, unable to understand what people were saying to me, and sitting for hours just staring at the computer screen, I still made the effort to have a job. And even when I was sent away from the position I had, because my temper and outbursts and hostility were just too much, I still went out and found more work.

I don’t know what to do with this friend of mine. They’ve been there for me tons of times, and I really want to help them out. But I seem to be unable to say or do anything that reaches them. They’re kind of teetering on the brink, and they’ve started asking relatives to loan them money, which is the beginning of a bad pattern, if this persists. What to do? I can let them stumble, sure, but is that any way to be a friend?

Well, maybe so. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

In any case, it’s bugging me. I wish I could find a way to get them off their duff. Truly, they are a very gifted individual with a lot to offer, and they are their own worst enemy, telling themself that they don’t have what it takes to get and hold down a job.

I guess it goes to show, you can never know what’s truly in a person’s heart or mind or spirit. And sometimes it’s not the severity of one’s injury/-ies, but a mysterious mix of character, chance, and some secret ingredient, that determines your ability to deal with life.

Bottom line — what a waste. A perfectly capable and valuable person frittering away their years on a story about not being able to do something that they most certainly can do, if they’d only try.