Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When I Grow Up ~ Part 2

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hate this question. It's the twisted cousin to the benign childhood question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I started tackling that answer in this post. So now, I'm picking up where that story left off...

Ever since having children, I have really struggled with wanting to carve out a successful, meaningful career while still being incredibly involved & active in raising my children. This is a struggle for working moms everywhere & a simple internet search will turn up countless articles supporting this statement. In a perfect world, if money were no obstacle, I would stay home every day with my little ones, having learning time, playtime, field trips to the library/zoo/children's museum & just enjoying watching them grow. Jesse loves his work & is very dedicated to his ministry, so I would be content to allow him to flourish in that career & blossom in my own as a full-time mommy. However (reality check!), a youth ministry paycheck & lack of benefits aren't enough to sustain us. So, we need both paychecks as well as the health insurance that my job provides & his doesn't.

With that stark reality, I have come to the realization that if I must work outside the home, then I want to do work that is meaningful & allows me to use my education & expertise to the best of my ability. I have gone about trying to achieve this in a variety of ways...

  • Using my current job as the ultimate learning experience: In this mindset, I try to make the most of my current work experience. I have attended trainings, participated in team projects & done my best to learn & build up my skill set.
  • Finding fulfillment elsewhere: I recently became an adjunct faculty which has helped me find fulfillment in at least some of the work I do! However, it is difficult to be in a lackluster job for 40+ hours a week & balance that feeling of inadequacy with smaller quantities of time where I do find fulfillment.
  • Seeking out other employment opportunities: For the past four to five years, I have been actively looking for another job. I have applied for countless jobs & had at least half a dozen interviews. All of this has honed my job search & interview skills, but has not actually resulted in a change of employers.
  • Pray & trust that God's Will be done: I heard this type of TRUST described as True Resolve Under Severe Testing. Nearly eight years of frustrating job conditions coupled with four small children, opposite work hours with my spouse & a nearly constant job search & I certainly feel like I have been severely tested! I have continued my devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots & offer up my situation routinely in prayer.
I'd rather not look back on all of the difficult & frustrating circumstances of my current job & job search. Quite honestly, it can be painful to feel that you aren't qualified enough for a job or didn't have what the employer was looking for. That quickly spirals into the school of thought, "I wonder if I'll ever get out of here?" So, I'd rather just look forward.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Honestly, I don't know. I'd like to be working on projects I feel passionate about, contributing to a greater good. Providing an example to my children that even though Mommy can't be home full-time, I am spending my time away from them doing good for others. That is rather vague, but given the journey I am on, it's the only answer I can give right now. Hopefully, in God's time, I will go where He leads me & find amazing things along the way.

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