Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taking Leaps and Why

When the economy is down, we tend to hunker down, lock the doors, and wait for bad times to pass. A bold few of us capitalize on this time of woe and make major changes in our lives, especially when the boss hands us a pink slip.

There's something about big change that take us to task and forces us to perform.

Change? What kind of change? How much change? How fast is this change? When change lays a hand on our shoulder we jump, fret, get scared about what lies ahead.

I grew up in a military family. We didn't move around as much as others, but that fact disappointed me. I wanted to test new places, try new cultures. When I worked the nine-to-five, a transfer excited me and raised the bar of challenge, daring me to be better. Never saw the need to worry about what I couldn't control, and instead got excited about what I could.

With the mindset that you want to take control, you accomplish things that you never expected. A few years down the road, you can look back at what you did, puff up and exclaim, "Wow, that was awesome."

So what kind of change counts? What do you fear to do that only an unforeseen push over the edge would make you do?

== Go back to school. Part time or full time, returning to the education you always wished you had can not only open employment opportunities, but it makes you proud of yourself, instills empowerment, and makes you eager to make a difference. There are grants. There are payment plans. To single parents, those under certain incomes and senior citizens, you can practically go for free. Just make sure that you are going to school for the right reasons. Don't just run away from work; have a goal and a mission.

== Find another job. If the present one makes you unhappy, dust off your resume, add your newest accomplishments, and spread it around. Even if you take a small cut in pay or lose some benefits, you might find that working in a place you love or performing work that suits you better brightens your days, not to mention the day of those around you. When I changed from administrative director of a federal agency to freelance writer, my son told me I was a more pleasant person. My mother noted that I let more issues roll off my back. Before you decide there aren't other jobs, or that it would be worse, at least look.

== Dare to teach. Whether you leave a job or stick with it, you can consider community college teaching, tutoring kids or holding adult education classes at recreational centers. It's satisfying and pays. Teach what you know at the day job or teach about writing. Either way, you reach outside of yourself which is the absolutely best way to better your life.

== Move. Oh yeah, I said that. I used to manage HR. I have two sons and a stepson job hunting at the moment. There are jobs out there, but maybe not the job you the town you want. I'm not saying throw a dart at the atlas and see where it lands, hire a U-Haul and leave (although you can do that if you like). Does a relative live in a town he or she loves? How about a high school or college buddy? Have you attended a conference in a city that caught your eye? Broaden your horizons and see what's out there. Some unique places to job hunt besides your stereotypical and are these:

OPM Jobs - Federal Job Search site.
American MENSA CareerLink - Job site of MENSA, the high IQ organization. Site is open to all.
Idealist - Site by and about nonprofit career opportunities internationally.
Ed2010 - A site reserved for editorial and copywriting positions.
Berkeley Journalism Job Site - Lists journalism positions.
Great Green Careers - A job site that lists jobs with employers on the green bandwagon.

== Volunteer. Children, seniors, animals, hospitals, homeless, kids at risk, gardening, counseling, tutoring. You can find a hole to step into and make a difference not only in someone else's life but yours as well. And yes, your writing can make a huge impact in a volunteer situation. And think of the writing material you'll gain from the experience. One volunteer site is VolunteerMatch.

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Many people ask me how to make a living writing because they hate the day job. Never leap away from a bad situation. Always leap into a promising one, a rewarding one, a different position that just might make your outlook better about absolutely everything else.


Susan said...

All change, even when difficult, is good, I think. After my full time job ended, I did the return to school thing...took a five month business course and started putting things for sale online.
I also started my blog and have been going strong ever since...more than 500 posts now!

I espouse to the "life is a banquet" philosophy.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Susan

M. Dunham said...

Absolutely agreed. This year, after saving for several years, I'm taking a big chance - quitting my full-time job and moving overseas to pursue my writing career and some more experiences. I'm so excited!

Hope Clark said...

Good for you! Good luck overseas. I hear it's much cheaper to live that way. And I bet the mental stimulus is fantastic.