|Last year's "career" fair|
Well, it’s official, I’m looking for a job again. I am going to my first real job fair in 2 weeks at SCAD. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.
When I was an undergraduate in 1997, job fairs weren’t as big of a deal as they seem to be now. Jobs were plentiful and you just had to send out a few resumes and then you got a job. At least, that is how it always worked for me. Maybe I just had more self-confidence back then?
Promoting other people and businesses has always been easy for me—perhaps that is why I have decided to go into public relations. But I am probably the worst person in the world to be in charge of promoting myself.
My response was simple, “Um, I’m not prepared to do that just yet.”
She lowered her head and looked at me over the edge of her glasses and said, “Now, Kim, you really need to work on that before the job fair.”
My inner-monologue replied, “No shit, Nancy.”
I’m not sure why I have such a hard time “selling” myself. I am finally beginning to believe that I have a pretty impressive resume considering the fact that I have been a stay-at-home-mom for over 11 years. Even when I wasn’t “working,” I was busy with volunteer duties. I organized and lead groups, raised thousands of dollars, coordinated large events, designed promotional materials, and received awards.
But the hardest things I have done I cannot put on my resume. I’ve raised two children mostly on my own—one of which is disabled. I fought with insurance companies, hospitals, and physical therapy centers on an almost monthly basis for the first 6 years of Veronica’s life. And I won every time. I even had my own personal insurance referral person that I called and said, “Make it happen.” And she knew she had to. That was no easy feat.
I have spent every day for the past 11 years researching doctors, therapy treatments, surgical procedures, and therapeutic gadgets for Veronica. And when I’m not doing that, I’m driving her to appointments or I’m working with her at home so she can be independent. And I can’t forget about Jude who attends karate twice/week and likes to sit in my lap and have me read to him every day.
I maintain a home, manage a budget, and get the children to and from school and all their activities on time. I am also a nice person who doesn’t break the law or write bad checks. I have maintained my good credit despite being married to an addict and later divorcing that addict. I keep my house clean and I keep up with the laundry. I also cook dinner every night and make my children sit at the dinner table and talk about their day.
And despite my already over-booked life, I decided to find a way to support my children and myself and enrolled in grad school. Luckily, I can put the school stuff on my resume, but I just feel like I should have the words (she is a single mother of 2!) next to my 3.85 GPA.
But that’s the beauty of a resume. It isn’t supposed to elicit sympathy from others. It’s supposed to give people a glimpse into your professional life. Which is good for me, because I don’t want sympathy—I want respect. And to be honest, I’m tired of having to explain my personal life. My professional life is much easier to explain and I am beginning to realize that my professional life is much easier to “sell."
It took years before I ever believed a man would be lucky to have me. And now I just need to believe that an employer would be lucky to have me. I know that all the bad things from my past have happened to me for a reason. I also believe that those events made me stronger—I think they made me a better person, too. Now I just have to find a way to wrap all the really great things about me into a neat little package and sell it to the highest bidder.