Written by Anne-Marie Jennings
It’s a sorry state of affairs when you realize you’ve become just another career statistic.
In many ways, I have done everything one was supposed to do in order to find a good job – and keep it. I did well in high school and enrolled in a top-notch university. I found what thought would be a good career to go into and graduated. I got a job after university in order to pay off my loans, and then after being patient enough and taking on any chance to develop my skills even more, I finally got my foot in the door.
Only to crash and burn in a matter of three months. And although that experience happened to me more than 15 years ago, it is usually the hard times that teach us more about what we want – and where we would like to be – than the times when everything seems to be going right.
Which brings me back to my original point – about having become a career statistic. For the larger part of this year, I was among the unemployed. Fortunately in the last few months, that status has changed; I am now among the under-employed, those people who have a job but could be doing so much more than their current job allows.
In the name of full disclosure, I actually left a good, well-paying, permanent job last December simply because the job was no longer fulfilling and showed no signs of changing for the better.
So…I took a leap of faith, believing that with my solid work experience and a boatload of skills and abilities to my credit, finding another job would be fairly simple. I knew where my strengths and weaknesses lay; I knew what kinds of jobs for which I would be best suited; and I had a varied and strong resume behind me.
I thought finding a new job would be relatively easy…. that is when I started to realise what it was to be a career statistic
The truth is that I was completely wrong. Months later, I was feeling lower than I had in a couple of years – all because of my job situation. In many ways, I felt as if I was back at square one – like I was 15 years ago.
But I had one advantage this time around. I knew a lot more about who I was and what it was I wanted to do “when I grew up”. I had a number of marketable skills under my belt; I could speak two languages fluently, and was learning a third language; I had lived in a wide range of different places around North America; and I was a great person to have on your side when the chips were down. All of these skills I knew would be a welcome addition to just about any workplace – if only they could read between the lines of my cover letter and resume and see what they could have on their team they would see I was more than a career statistic.
According to the “experts” (whoever they are). the new career statistic will be very much like this: highly-qualified individuals working in jobs that are slightly or even far below their level of experience. Some people believe that this is the new world economic order for the next few years – or maybe even longer.
It seems to me that if this indeed our new future reality, knowing exactly what we want to do “when we grow up” is that much more important.
Fortunately for me, I know exactly what I want to do. As a matter of fact, I’m doing it right now as I sit in front of my computer writing this. My next step has to be to figure out how to start making this actually start paying the bills..
Some of you that are reading this article have been in the same boat – perhaps some of you are in the very same spot. If you find yourself a career statistic, I suppose the only piece of advice -not that I am an expert by any means – is to keep moving forward. Every experience we gather along the way is one more experience that we can bring to the table when we do finally begin doing the job we love – and not the job we have to do.
And one more thing. If you are going to be a career statistic anyway – don’t forget to enjoy the journey!
After more than 20 years of real world experience, Anne-Marie Jennings could write just about anything – and probably has. Whether Anne-Marie was working as the sole employee of a bimonthly publication in the Arctic, as a Sports editor who also developed black & white film, or even as a Compliance Officer for Canada Post Corporation, Anne-Marie’s jobs have all involved the written word.
Now firmly entrenched among the under-employed, Anne-Marie will provide an unique perspective on finding your true career path – from the viewpoint of someone on that very search for herself. As she provides her insight through her contributions to the site, Anne-Marie is excited to begin the journey – and perhaps in doing so, finding her own way.
To find out more about Anne-Marie and her life in the Canadian North check out her blog
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