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Setting an example: Perseverance

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

mom's job hunt

I'm looking for a new job right now. It hasn't been going great.
I think if I were not looking for a fairly specific kind of job and specific kind of situation (that is, one that will really work for me, the company, my family and so on), I might have been working by now. But I'm not, so I keep at it. Since the layoff, I keep my normal work schedule for job-search activities. The kids keep their normal schedule, and so on.

As the months have passed, as I continue to look, as national economic news is less than stellar, as leads turn to interviews for positions that aren't quite it, as there is outright rejection, I remind myself that in addition to looking for a job, I am setting an example for my children. I am setting an example of perseverance and commitment, of not giving up when it gets hard – even though many days I wish my bank account would allow me the freedom to do that. I am setting the example of holding my head up high and moving forward. It's hard sometimes. No, scratch that – it sucks.

Although I let the kids see me a little frustrated with the search and we talk about what is happening, I wait until they are at school or in bed before I really let myself let go. Tears have flowed, more than once. But I pick myself up, dust off my knees and keep trying.

I've wondered if I am doing the right thing, being so targeted and specific in how I want to work. Am I really in the right profession? Should I be making a bigger change? Should I change how I work? Even when I am working, I think about setting an example for the kids then, too: it's the example of being a hardworking and committed employee while putting my family first. "Having it all" may or may not be possible to achieve, but having a pretty darn good balance – on balance – is, I think.

There's a paperweight I have seen in several catalogs over the years. It says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." That's what I am trying to do as I set example for my kids while working and while looking for work, be that change. That alone is hard work, but for my kids, it's worth it. I will find career success. I will persevere.

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