Setting an example: Perseverance

Mar 18, 2008 at 3:00 a.m. ET

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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