Navigating the Job Market Requires an “Open” Approach

Job Jump Starts picture

One of the SMORE themes is Job Jump Starts. We realize how difficult it can be for single mothers to enter the job market if they have not been employed outside the home before. And we also realize that we are living in times when it may seem impossible. Having said that – a job is a necessary part of life, so here are a few thoughts.

I’ve held many sorts of jobs and gone through challenges of finding a job in the right place at the right time. Here are a few thoughts on the subject. – Gail 

I’ve been on a job hunt several times, mostly as a single mother. After divorced I attempted to find a position as a high school theatre teacher since that was what I held a degree in and was my first love.

At one interview a school administrator pointedly asked, “How can you manage this position with all the evening rehearsals and weekend contests as a single mom with children?” This probably wasn’t a legal question but was one I needed to consider. How would I juggle directing plays at school and children at home?

It was a wake-up call. Though my mother was determined to stand by me and assist in any way she could, I wasn’t being realistic.

A school principal in my hometown advised me that to be the most employable educator in the future I needed additional certifications. The more subjects I could teach the more job security I would have.

As I rounded this turning point I saw that I would have to change my approach.

Be open to a change in your approach.

I was able to attend classes at Lamar University where I received by bachelor’s degree for two summer semesters and earn a teaching certificate in English.  My high school theatre teacher recommended me for a job in a district forty-five minutes away and I accepted it. Teaching high school English wasn’t a dream job, far from it. Employment, however, was a necessity. I’ve heard it said, when a dream collides with reality, reality seldom falls to its knees.

When you are looking for a job be open to jobs, not dream jobs, but jobs you can do.

Letting go of what we think of as our occupation is difficult. So often it is our identity. There are usually job openings, though maybe not in fields we can see ourselves.

Be open to learning something new.

Our workforce is always shifting. New ways of living produce new ways of doing things, new jobs. We find ourselves with inertia. Change is the single thing we resist more than anything else. It would be so much easier to do what we are accustomed to doing, the familiar. Change happens, however, and those who are willing adjust and move forward.

After I taught for a few years I realized my salary would not significantly increase unless I had a master’s degree. Even then it wouldn’t make a big difference. The idea of challenging myself provided me with a sense of adventure and I could justify it with the increase in salary over many years and into retirement. Who knew? Maybe it would lead to another career. I jumped through the hoops required to attend The University of Texas and created worthwhile memories for me and my children in the process. (Related Story)

Be open to the adventure obstacles provide.

3 comments

  1. […]     Landing a job requires a level of confidence that may have been damaged by divorce or even an abusive marriage. I recall an early job search of my own. My dad always said when it comes to getting hired, “You have to let them know if they don’t hire you they’ve made a mistake.” […]

  2. […] last post on jobs suggested that you “be open to a change in your approach.” Since change is something we all resist I thought I’d continue with this line of […]

  3. […] Navigating the Job Market Requires an “Open” Approach (smoreforwomenblog.org) […]

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