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Gainfully Unemployed

Posted on March 19, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Gainfully Unemployed

(February 16, 2011)

Hypothetically speaking, what if you were to find yourself wildly successful in a career, but some aspect of your job put you at odds with your conscience? What if survival in your career meant dialing back your core beliefs? In such a hypothetical scenario, one might find an opportunity to make a clean exit. And one might find him or herself gainfully unemployed.

In a completely unrelated scenario, I find myself gainfully unemployed since late December. I decided at the time I left my job to take a little time to reflect on my abilities and experience and consider only careers that allow me to use my God-given strengths to truly help others. It's a serious leap of faith in these trying economic times.

The first few days were incredibly difficult for a woman who has worked since the age of 16. I struggled with feelings of guilt for not having something to do, some deadline to meet or some stressful scenario weighing on my shoulders. I redecorated and rearranged the house. I cleaned out my car. I took my elderly mother and uncle on errands. I helped friends with marketing and public relations for their businesses. I dabbled with the 'tween novel I've been writing for five years. I slowly worked my way toward blissful unemployment.

Blissful unemployment lasted about two weeks.

I have been fortunate to never have had to search for a job. I have often joked that I have "Forrest Gumped" my way through life because doors have always just kind of opened for me.

One time after high school graduation I was touring a college campus with a friend and a nervous little old lady nearly ran us down in the quad and told me I was going to be late for tryouts.

"Tryouts?" I asked.

"Yes! Cheerleading tryouts! In the gym!" She exclaimed, leading the way to a surprise fork in my life's journey.

I wasn't even planning to attend college but I tried out for cheerleader, made the squad and got a tuition scholarship. BOOM...I was in college, Forrest Gump style.

Another time I decided to enter a pageant so I could earn scholarship money to attend The University of Tulsa. I wound up winning my first pageant and the ensuing four-year journey changed my life. Becoming Miss Oklahoma, winning the Miss America talent competition and making Top 10 at Miss America earned me $70,000 in scholarships, which earned me a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration. A stint emceeing the Miss Oklahoma pageant helped me to land my first job in television, and on and on...

I am just beginning the process of thinking about searching for another job, which is not quite the same as actually searching for another job. I'm tweaking my resume, timidly sending it to employers that have posted jobs that match my skill set. One or two jobs really interest me but I know from my experience in the hiring process that most jobs are posted as a formality to meet some legal requirement or company policy. Most jobs are already filled, which is okay because I don't absolutely have to find something until April or so.

So I'm gainfully unemployed. I still have many contributions to make to the right employer and I am willing to wait for the optimal position. I am learning the art of being patient through the calm. I believe with all of my heart that God brought me here (wherever "here" may be) for a reason that will ultimately benefit others. Will I Forrest Gump my way through this one? Stay tuned...

Categories: Career

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