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Entries in job hunt (3)

Five Months in a Few Paragraphs

I’ve been holding back on posting for two reasons. First I am pregnant again and for a time was looking a job and didn’t want to advertise that fact to prospective employers.  Second there is just so much to say I wanted to give everything the attention it deserved by creating individual posts for all the ideas I wanted share. The later is proving to be my downfall as I keep getting further behind trying to decide how I want to approach it all. The first is no longer a relevant concern as there is no hiding my now seven month pregnant figure and I’ve found a part-time freelance gig that’s working for now.

So I’m going to condense the last 5 months into one post to get myself back to square one and a place where I feel I can move forward from, not be daunted by what I haven’t written about.

The Pregnancy  

Turns out I get pregnant very easily. As soon as we tried again, woo hoo there we were pregnant. I believe I conceived the day before we left San Francisco. This time around everything has gone swimmingly. I had mild morning sickness, but nothing a few boxes of Saltines didn’t cure and now at 29 weeks my only complaints are to be expected when you have 2-3 lb parasite growing in your belly. I will write another post entirely about my pregnancy as this is a very surreal experience that I feel is worth sharing.

The Job Hunt

After we got through the holidays I started my job hunt in earnest and it was tough. I went on a lot of interviews, sent out tons of resumes, and nothing worked out. I actually had three separate instances of going to an interview that I thought went well, a few days later receiving an email saying they decided on another candidate, and then seeing the exact same job reposted within a week. I have no idea what that was all about, but it certainly beat me down.

There does seem to be a different job culture here in Portland. A lot more ticking of the boxes and less what do you bring to the team. I also think my age and experience put me in an odd place. I’m not at the director or senior manager level with my experience, but my age puts me there. And then there’s the difference in pay scale too. There’s still a bit of desperation in this market, people willing to sign on for a lot of responsibility for not much pay. Anyway, I just wasn’t able to find a job that fit.

However, I was able to pick up some freelance work for a friend’s company that’s keeping a bit of cash coming in the door while Dan and I work really hard to get The Bitter Housewife going. We are closer than we’ve ever been with three recipes submitted to the TTB awaiting non-beverage status approval, a commercial kitchen secured, and an approved license to be a food processor in Oregon. We currently have a 50 liter batch in production that should net us about 300 bottles in mid-June. And then we really start rolling.

Being a Home Owner

I have really enjoyed settling into our new home and life these past few months, but the financial pressures have weighed heavily on me. So some things have been put off and parts still feel temporary. Plus my energy reserves haven’t been that great so with working on The Bitter Housewife and putting in freelance time I often don’t have the energy to get much else done in a day or a week. The control freak in me in is struggling a bit. But I keep reminding myself there is no deadline, the important stuff will get done, and the money situation is temporary. Something will shake out once I have the baby either with The Bitter Housewife paying me a salary or a full-time job that puts us in a better situation. 

So it’s been a roller coaster ride lately, mostly good, peppered with moments of overwhelming stress, but the promise and excitement of both my babies (The Bitter Housewife and our little boy) is keeping me going. It has indeed been a journey and it’s not even close to over. 

Off To Work I Go

It’s official, I have a day job and at a startup no less. I’m as excited as I am nervous. The job is a great fit; I’ll be supporting small business owners with my marketing and community building skills. The team is young and full of energy and while I bring a lot to the table I’m certain I’ll learn a ton too.

However, being the planner and control freak that I am, I’m already a bit nervous about my changing schedule. I don’t want to let things go, but realize that my new commitment will most likely take more of my time and energy in the beginning than even I can imagine. If I want to keep up with bread baking, granola making, canning projects and of course blogging and bitters, I’m going to have to be much more productive in the evenings and weekends than I have been. I’ve always functioned better when I have a lot on my plate; downtime makes me lazy, where a packed schedule makes me efficient. So I’m looking forward to it, but currently my mind is running amok and making me a little anxious.

On the other hand knowing that a steady paycheck is soon to be mine, along with benefits, has taken a noticeable weight off my shoulders. My paychecks will double our income, giving us a lot of wiggle room. And while Dan and I have already started daydreaming about a few luxuries we can now afford, we’ve already mapped out a budget that puts most of my paycheck toward credit card debt and into savings. Right now working toward buying a house is more important to us than a bigger wardrobe and fancy dinners.

So during this last week of unemployment I’m going to do my best to tie up loose ends while still getting in a little playtime. Then for the first few weeks of my new gig I promise to be gentle with myself and not create superwoman to do lists. Instead I will let myself settle, get used to new hours, new ways of using my brain, and get used to working in a team again. I will strive to find balance, but know that it may take some time. 

So for the next month or so you may be hearing less from me. I'm pretty sure I can get at least one post up a month, but we're also getting close to beginning the licensing process for The Bitter Housewife and while it looks pretty straightforward I anticipate a lot of last minute research.

Here's to new adventures!!

The Philosophical Job Hunt

image by procsilasAt 29 I thought I was leaving the restaurant business for good when I landed an associate editor job at a magazine. I should have known better, it was a wine magazine. After nine months the position turned out to be very different than I expected and I left. Try as I might to make the leap to PR I ended up back on the dinning room floor.

More recently Lightbox SF, the small business consulting business I started, was another attempt to leave the world of food and immerse myself in the world of handmade and creative entrepreneurship. But I kept feeling the tug. There is much about the industry I love, least of which is that by being in it I’m surrounded by people who love to talk about food and drink as much as I do.

Now as I’m searching for a new job I am constantly taking stock of my skills, talents, and interests. It’s an interesting lesson in crafting a lifestyle. I could easily go back to waiting tables and make $200 a night, but the thought alone makes me nauseous. However, I’ve been applying for jobs that are totally out of my comfort zone, trying to imagine if I’m capable of all the tasks they describe and what it will be like to go back to an office from 9-5 and I feel a little bit of that same nausea.

So to comfort myself in all this uncertainty I’ve been focusing on what kind of lifestyle the position will support. If it’s a support role in a marketing department, I may not get to be a part of the big picture planning and strategizing, but I will have the security I crave and probably enough free time to still work on the bitters. If it’s a management roll I’ll certainly be pushing my boundaries and learning new things, but I’ll be working longer harder days that may not lend to all the other things that are important. I’m also thinking of the connections each role will provide as I continue to move forward with The Bitter Housewife and suddenly finance seems like a great industry.

In selling myself in countless cover letters I’ve realized that community is important to me, the company needs to foster that in some way either in the workplace or outside. And I don’t mean co-worker community I mean support for the brand and mission from consumers. Being able to collaborate with others to solve big problems makes me very excited, but knowing what’s expected of me seems totally comforting. Bringing value is a must, which means that I’m definitely leaning toward service and lifestyle product companies.

Mostly I’m learning that I’m very excited about this new phase in my life, about the things I will learn and directions it will take me. There are tons of possibilities.