Under-employment offers some advantages, including the ease with which one can excel. In the first six months of my little job, my efforts have been formally recognized three times, and I have received lots of great informal feedback from my managers. I have also been allowed more responsibility. Rather than simple floor sales, I will be able to schedule appointments to sit down with customers and develop plans for bigger projects, and I’m excited about the opportunity.

I see this job as a long-term, but not necessarily central, part of my work life. It is fun, the people I work with (and for) are wonderful, and I am developing skills in an area that has always interested me. I’m also applying skills I brought to the job. And of course, there’s the discount. I sell beautiful things for the home, and I have a home that needs many things, which might as well be beautiful.

Being officially “part-time” also keeps things fresh, and leaves me plenty of time for…

That’s the problem. Even with my puttering and my projects, my walking and my Waldo, and my lovely family, I find myself searching for somewhere to direct the rest of my energy. The years of experience in my field are jingling in my pocket, just crying out to be spent. (wow, tortured metaphor or what?)

I’ve been diverted this last year by many things (details available in previous posts), but have been inching back toward the hunt for a “big girl job” with a big girl paycheck (I have not given up my dream of hardwood floors.)

I applied for the local version of my old job when I spotted an opening in early May.  I tweaked my LinkedIn profile. I asked the colleague I most admired at my last job for a recommendation, which he promptly provided. I perused LinkedIn, scanning for anyone  with whom I might have some tenuous connection, who might give me some insight into the prospects for the job. I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone, but I noticed the profile of a woman who had previously held my prospective position. We seemed to have a lot in common professionally, although she has already done things I am still aspiring to: certified mediator, mitigation and sentencing specialist. I’d love to talk to her. I started composing a message, and couldn’t find the right tone. Dr. T came home and off to lunch we went.

I did not receive a response to my application, which stung a little, but was something of a relief:  a full-time job could be hard to juggle with the parts of my life that are working well- studying with BR two nights a week, and my little job, and there was a certain “been there, done that” aspect to the job. Ideally, I’d  come up with something that allowed me to set my schedule around my existing commitments, and give me room to grow. This train of thought pulled up right back where I started last year: mitigation specialist, certified mediator, private investigator, graduate student, freelance writer. All highly acceptable options, but how feasible? Time to start getting serious again.

About two weeks ago, I received a LinkedIn invitation from my prospective contact.  Had I sent the message after all? I couldn’t find it, and decided I was becoming just that much more senile. I happily responded to the invitation, promising myself to contact her after the in-laws left. Before I got to it, she sent me a note today, saying she’d found my profile on LinkedIn, that she was interested in moving to California and hoping I might be able to offer her some information on how things are done there. She offered to provide any information I might need about working here. I expect we will meet for coffee soon. I am still grinning at the cosmic symmetry.