I am looking for a Dare To Be Great situation.

So, I just made a fake chicken wrap that’s holding fake chicken, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, corn, and red onions, and I’ve been stewing on something all morning. I’m sitting the wrap down to talk to you, so this must be important because did you read what I wrapped?! Delicious! The thing I’ve been stewing on sounds like this: It’s almost time for me to find a job. One that makes me get dressed and drive somewhere.

The idea of working outside of the home sort of terrifies me for many reasons. (Terror is a strong emotion, hence the Sort Of. I tend to avoid strong emotions when I can.)

First off? People. I’m not very good with people. I get crazy nervous when there are more than four adults in the room, and I’m not sure many businesses would be all, “Okay. We’ve got a new hire who can’t do more than four adults. Let’s meet in shifts.” More than four adults? I’m staring at a notebook, drawing stick people, craving doughnuts, and simply not paying much attention—especially if people are talking about numbers or using words like Sales Projection or Marketing Estimation Spreadsheet. (It was really hard for me to type those words without falling asleep.)

Secondly? Migraines. I still get them every month. Sometimes I can control them with my cocktail pills and a cold washcloth, but sometimes I have to take what I call Monster Pills, and those make me loopy and dizzy and I need to lie down for a few hours. You can’t just do that at work without being That Lady Who Is Always Sleeping. (No one wants to pay the sleeping lady. I know this is true. It has to be.)

Another thing? The kids. I want to be able to be here when they’re here. If they’re sick, I don’t want to have to juggle. I want to be home. I want to be able to take them to piano and take them to doctor appointments and I don’t want that to be A Thing. I want it to be smooth. Meredith is getting ready to start middle school, and I don’t want to be the stressed out lady who gets home after five and never has time to talk. I don’t like that lady.

Let me just take a break right here to say this: I know I’m whining. I KNOW IT! I actually just requested a book from the library that will help me be a better person, so let’s focus on my blue-skied aspirations instead of my exhausting inability to SUCK IT UP.

The freelance gig has served me fairly well over the past dozen years (I come and go and am here to do laundry and make dinner and shuffle kids and take pills!), but it’s getting a bit harder to find enough work to pay bills. (Please know that we’re not struggling to pay bills. This has nothing to do with that.)

Finally? Because I haven’t worked an office job in a dozen years, I’m terrified (Not sort of. It’s the real thing this time.) that I’ve become unmarketable. I’m a 43-year-old freelance developmental editor, and I can’t really describe what I do because it’s often a clever combination of mish and mash. This means I’m probably destined to go retail, but because I have no idea how to get Netflix to work on our television, I also have zero confidence when it comes to running a credit card.

To quote Lloyd Dobler (because who wouldn’t?): I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

It’s time to start brainstorming and making dream boards (???) (!!!) and figuring out what color my parachute is or who moved my cheese or something (or other) and I need to eat this wrap because can you smell that? It doesn’t get much better. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

41 thoughts on “I am looking for a Dare To Be Great situation.”

  1. whatever great job idea you come up with, I want the same one…flexible schedule, not a lot of human interaction, pays the bills, doesn’t promote, make, sell, fix anything that I really do not believe in. I wish you great luck in finding it.

  2. I have so many thoughts and reactions to this, all of which I want to be helpful. But I know that’s not what you’re looking for so I’ll keep focused and just say this:
    a) I am an editor for a technical publisher, working in-house. There are a lot of people who don’t talk to anyone all day, just sit at their computer and do their work and go home, and come back the next day. Also I get migraines, and I work with a woman who has more migraines than I do. We have sick days, we use them as needed, or not. I offer this information only to say that some obstacles can be overcome, there is hope. There is a job out there that you can do and wouldn’t hate, you might even love.
    b) retail and working with people usually go hand-in-hand.
    c) try a temp agency and give them your hours of availability. Regular paycheck, driving somewhere, etc. but your hours.
    You may have to pick which of these obstacles is more important to you to abide, and which ones you can give on….either way, I’m rooting for you to succeed in whatever you decide. And: you are already great.

  3. hi! I would like to eat that wrap for you if you don’t want it…
    I have no advice for you–if I could find the perfect job for someone, my husband wouldn’t be working night shifts! I am just here to say good luck! I love avocado!

    Question: do they make a good vegetarian/vegan version of bacon? Just curious…

  4. Dream. There is great freedom in it. I think you should think about writing a book. You would be fabulous. But that’s my dream for you, which may not necessarily be your dream for you. But whatever you do, you will be great at it. :-)

  5. I have the same conundrum. I also think he big sticking point is summer an after three o’clock for me. I wish I knew the answer.

  6. oh my goodness – you tapped into every one of my “work and not at home” nerves! Seriously – very one. My shoulders have migrated up to my ears.

    This doesn’t help, but I am so grateful to have my PT teaching gig. Little bit of the green and the flexibility to do the things you mentioned. Plus it forces me to talk to other people a couple of times a week since I have to stand in front of 30 of them and deliver info.

    Good luck Angela – you may be surprised where this takes you! Every time I have an anxiety producing event in my life, things seem to turn up better than they would have without it.

  7. I don’t know, I have a coworker who sleeps at work. She sometimes nods off in meetings but almost always snoozes sitting upright in her chair in the afternoon. She makes a woo-hoo kind of noise when she wakes up so we know its almost time to go home.

  8. If you’re going to go retail, go with what you like/know. Try to find a job at a yarn/knitting store, or at least a craft store. Or, if you want to be able to not work (guilt-free) on migraine days or when your kids are home sick, substitute teaching isn’t a bad gig – if you like kids other than (or in spite of?) your own. I did that in my pre-mommy life, before I had a full-time teaching job. I’d even consider it again when the girl is in school full time if I’m not busy enough with photography stuff.

  9. You said what you DON’T want to do. What DO you want to do? Example:
    I want a job that involves writing
    I want a job in which my co-workers are creative/analytical/funny.
    I want to design knitwear
    I want a job at which I can wear shorts

    You get the idea. …..I agree – what’s the dream job – work from there.

    Also – some people get sick sometimes in any work place – so I don’t know if I’d let that stand in my way. And – if you become concerned about it, you could look into whether it constitutes a disability protected by ADA that your employer is required to accomodate.

  10. When my daughter started school I was fortunate enough to find a job as an instructional aide in her school. I was off when she was off and at school if she ever needed me. It was a great gig and I loved working in small groups or one-on-one with the children. No teaching certificate required. Just an idea.

  11. Sorry, I am behind posts again. Anyway, you should sell the scarves from the previous post. I loved it!!!! I would by one for everyone! Also, I mentioned you on twitter because my super tiny house is for sale and it is hard to keep uncluttered ( we discussed this once) so in case you were wondering about that….

  12. I’ve been there, without the wrap.
    It’s a leap but I have confidence in you.
    I hope the library book helps (you’ve got some negativity going there) and, as you know, I’m always around if you need a consult.

  13. Small point of dissent: From what I have seen, you are, in fact, very good with people. I know. I’ve watched many real life living breathing people adore you. What you are not is comfortable with people. Does that make it any easier? Of course not, but I just felt like I had to say it anyway. If I had something to say that made it easier, believe me, I’d say that instead. Wishing you well in your dreaming and hunting.

  14. This is so hard. I have always worked full-time, but I use all of my vacation days for classroom parties, days off of school, sick kids, field trips, career day etc. It is a balancing act and sometimes I feel like I am failing miserably at everything. (My husband assures me I am not.) I overcompensate on the weekends.

    I am a professional technical writer and trainer, and I have helped lots of people turn “I don’t have any skills” into really fantastic resumes. Let me know if you would like some help.

    Also, I know for a fact that there is a market for educated, eloquent people who are re-entering the workplace.

    Deep breath. Good luck!

  15. I agree with elsiroomom. You need to make a list of the things you DO want and then start the job hunt based on those things. It will make the hunt easier because the Do want list is probably way shorter than the Don’t Want list.

    You’ll do fine. The world really isn’t as big as you think.

  16. I could have written this post-except for the wrap part, although that does sound tasty. I want something part-time, flexible, and something I enjoy/feel worthwhile doing…but want to be here for the kids, and I too have the migraines. Also, I like having the time to cook/bake to reduce the amount of dining out we do…I don’t want employment to increase expenses in other areas…like convenience food.

  17. Given that Lloyd Dobler quote (remind me to google him), I think you may be destined for the nonprofit world. Pay will be less but rewards may be greater; also, your conscience will be spotless ;-)

    Good luck!

  18. Stating the obvious: Sell your art. Be it scarves, or sweaters, or socks, or whatever – you’re creative to the nth and I would be your best customer.

  19. I know, I know. You don’t want to sell “things”.
    But, you have such beautiful creations and a fantastic eye for design.

    Please?

  20. My youngest child goes to kindergarten next year. I’ve been a freelance writer/at home for 15 years. I’m 42 years old. You just put into words everything I’ve been feeling for the last six months, but have been too embarrassed to share with anyone. Thank you and best wishes as you work to figure this out. It’s incredibly challenging and frightening (and very hard to explain.)

  21. I still can hardly believe this worked for me, but last year around May I started volunteering where I wanted to work, which happened to be the hospital close to our house. In October I was offered a part-time flexible job and I still have it. And it really is flexible, which doesn’t mean I still don’t have to find childcare sometimes, like the summer, but it really is almost ideal. So I offer that as something that worked for me. Good luck!

  22. There are lots of places with nice people who work together, but alone. My sister, for example, is a technical writer for a computer company. She gets dressed (casual) and goes to a job, but she mostly gets to work with headphones on.

    Just don’t worry about the people thing yet. The right job will be the right job and you will love it and it will love you back.

  23. I’ve never felt more connected to you then now! trying to find that perfect job, quoting Lloyd Dobler. I’m actually not sure I didn’t write this :)

  24. So I rarely comment but I need to tell you – it’s out there. Your perfect job exists. I am a bona fide basket case (two hour and a half therapy sessions a week and there is much Support between appointments, and I can’t be gone from my house for more than six hours before I start startling at butterflies and other Evil Things) and yet I got a job just the other day that does not freak me out that utilizes all my strengths.
    I am going to start prayiing right now that your perfect job shows up just when you need it.
    Susan

  25. Hello Angela, I was facing the exact same fears beg. of this year. After 7 years of being at home with my kids, I needed to get a job but I was terrified. I felt like my brain did not work anymore, I had no confidence etc. I decided to take baby steps and look for a admin part time job. I was shocked when I landed the first job I applied for, a student coordinator at a university. I am an introvert and not good with dealing with lots of people at once either (plus I am terrible at remembering faces/names) but it’been 2 months now and I must say, I feel good now. The job is dull but it’s not scary anymore and I feel like I know what I am doing now. Definitely the fears I had before starting the job were totally overblown and unnecessary. So I guess what I am trying to tell you is you are smart, kind and friendly and I am sure you will do great at anything you choose to. Good luck!

  26. First of all as a fellow migraine sufferer, I found out that they actually do qualify as a disability if you are on a daily med. Also I think you should write a book.Snubbing or being an aide at your kids school would rock. Finally what about technical writing or medical transcriptioning? Just some thoughts. Also so hummed I did not know you were in Grayslake I would have driven down and shown you my favorite hidden craft spots!

  27. I went back to work this January after my daughter went to college, so I had been out of the workforce for a loooong! Time. I’m not at my dream job by any means but that’s not important to what I want to say. I had all the same fears as you, without a college education and without a work at home job that kept me marketable- not important either…working outside the home has given me a new confidence that I didn’t know I had, and it has taught me about myself. Now, I think if I had to I could go after my dream job…..if only I knew what that was! Point of the long post. Start with something small and as you develop confidence outside the home, you can always move to jobs that are better suited to you. Good Luck!

  28. Are your daughter’s school looking to hire? Or do you have a neat book store, or yarn shop in your area? Or even a cool coffee shop or vegan cafe? Do you have publishing companies in town who are looking for an editor? Anything your freelance connections can help you with? It’s hard. I wish you the best.

  29. Um, this is weird of me…any chance I can get “Amy in KC”‘s contact info? I live in KC too and help writing a resume would be awesome. I’m not sure exactly when I will look for a new job, but I need to before this one kills my spirit completely.

  30. Do the thing you would do if you didn’t need to make money. (Create things and sell them? Etsy? I have been drooling over your scarves and shawls for years. You’d definitely make my Pinterest wish list board! LOL) Yarn store for you would likely be like me working in a bead store. I’d never make it home with a paycheck.

  31. I feel your pain too. Am in the same place myself, too. Don’t you wish we could all create some kind of business together? A whole company full of semi-terrified but really smart, awesome mothers who know how to get stuff DONE and also totally get it when one of us falls asleep at her desk or rushes out suddenly in a panic because she forgot it was her day to help out in the school library. Sigh.

  32. Also — maybe try Idealist.org. Avoid Craigslist. It’s the fast lane to total demoralization. Temping has worked well for me in the past, too.

  33. I am going third or fourth the person who said “figure out what you love to do and work backwards from there.” I am also betting that you are only 2 or 3 degrees of separation from your new employer, especially with your volunteer and community contacts. Networking always sounds so awful as a concept, but think of it as asking what your new hobby should be.

  34. You are at least as entertaining as the blogger D…e- pls try to pick up lots of endorsements…..more fun for everyone!

  35. Long time lurker here… :)

    What struck me is all of these “rules” you have for yourself, and long-established stories behind them. (I’m not good around people, etc.)

    I THOUGHT the same things about myself, and they either weren’t true, or have gotten better.

    Also, keep in mind that your first step back into the workforce doesn’t have to be your FOREVER job.

    That said, I could see you in a funky, independent knitting/yarn shop. :)

  36. I’m shy and never comment, but I totally empathize with where you are at. My situation going “back” into the workplace was different – my kids are grown & out of the house, but I’m also about the same age as you. I suffered a two devastating losses in 9 day’s time, and partly as a result of, lost my job in corporate America, where I sold processed stuff (I was actually fired the day I returned to work after attending my father’s funeral. It was a relief really, to be fired, it was the best way out of a situation that I direly needed out of, but the timing? Pretty terrible.)

    My confidence was so shaken after that whole experience. I didn’t go back to work for a year. My work experience is all in a weird little niche of eCommerce that’s only relevant to about .0005% of businesses, and has nothing to do with my degree. I started actively marketing some artwork (previously just a hobby, my attempt at “figure out what you love and work backwards from it” :) and made a little money – not a ton – but enough that I felt it justified the time I spent doing it. I was lucky and we survived, but eventually it came to the point where I HAD to go back to work, but I felt so much like what you described – the difficulty with larger groups of people, the stifling feeling of working in a corporate environment, the shrieking terror that I was completely irrelevant in the workplace and was completely unmarketable.

    I am lucky. I eventually found the perfect job. I work for a very small non-profit, and the work I do promotes something good that benefits us all – I feel like I’m contributing to the good juju in the universe. Additionally, there are only three of us in the office, and I am lucky in that each of the other two is as much a misfit as I am, and we mesh well.

    So – it’s worth a shot – think about exploring work in the non-profit sector. It doesn’t pay as much, that’s for sure. Luckily, mine is a second income. The stress level, though. It’s so different – things are very laid back and the prevailing attitude in my organization is “how do we help more people,” not “how can we make more money.” And I think that makes all the difference in the world. It may be that large non-profits can be just as stressful as a corporate environment – I’ve heard that. But I think that the smaller non-profits can provide a rewarding and much more relaxed work environment.

  37. Finally getting caught up on my fluid pudding reading and ran across this. I, like many others have said, am right there with you. Subbing is working for the time being and I love it, but before too long I am going to have to find something and am totally lost as to where to start. I hope that you are making progress in your search. I think you have just given me the push to start in that direction. Can’t wait to hear more on your progress.

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