A few weeks ago I went to lunch with a married woman who discussed her career trajectory with me. After ten years in her first career field, she was burned out, and she quit in order to stay home and be a housewife. During that time she talked to someone at a party who said his father was hiring and to send along her resume. Mind you, this was in a completely different career field. She ended up getting the job, which she later quit. At yet another party, an acquaintance in that same field told her he needed an assistant and ended up hiring her. From there, her career in this new field took off, and she is now a highly-paid high flyer.
My friends and acquaintances, on the other hand, tell me about companies I could contact and job boards I could try. While that’s helpful, thus far nobody has come forth with an actual job opening. If I’m sending resumes to companies or job boards, of course, I’m just one amongst many, and my chances are slim. I’m still shaking my head over the fact that I’m in my forties and in this position.
I’m trying, however, to remain centered. I’m still not yet full hog on the job search, as I’m spending a lot of time buffing up my skill set as well as enjoying this reprieve from full-time employment. Once I’m employed, it could be years before I get another break. I don’t want to spend this one stressed-out, miserable, and worried about my next job.
I feel your pain, as I, too, have never had anyone help me get a job. Ever. (I suspect that we are similar in that we’re not looking to be hired for a job for which we’re not qualified, but rather we would just like a little help now and again getting a foot in the door.)
My experience as a single middle-aged professional woman is that I am effectively closed out of many social occasions for people who would otherwise be my peers by virtue of education, background, interests, etc. (I note here that I have many married female friends, but although I might have lunch with them, I am simply not included in their coupled-up dinner parties, etc.) The irony is that I am a divorce lawyer, so of course my target client base consists entirely of MARRIED people. (Single people, after all, aren’t in the market for a divorce….!) By not moving in those circles, I don’t have the chance for those serendipitous encounters such as your friend had, which in her case led to a new career opportunity, and which for me might lead to an expansion of my client base. I DON’T meet Mrs. X whose suburban neighbor has just split up with his/her spouse; I DON’T talk with Mr. Y who remembers me a year or so later when he finds out his wife has had an affair; I DON’T chat with Mrs. Z who asks for my card because her brother is going through a divorce and is unhappy with his current counsel, etc. Nor, because I don’t have children, do I have a built-in network of fellow parents from my children’s schools, as do many of my colleagues. (I am the only unmarried attorney at my firm, out of a total of 17 of us.) In recent years I have noticed more and more that I am struggling to keep up in generating clients. While I do what I can via other methods — writing, speaking, etc. — apparently nothing beats being part of a couple and schmoozing with other couples at a frickin’ backyard suburban barbecue.
Yes, I just want to get my foot in the door.
Thanks for writing… I totally relate to your post and it was good to hear the perspective of someone in a different profession but struggling with similar issues.
Of course, the one guy who was offering to help me was using his help as a guise to date me… ugh.