I’ve committed myself this year to get a job. As I said in my initial posting, I’m going to write “frankly-but-realistically” about my goal. I’ll discuss what kind of work I enjoy doing and what motivates me—while remaining as objective as I can about the job prospects I actually turn up. Ultimately, however, I’m intent on finding a more satisfying fit, professionally, for my personal set of skills, interests and work style(s).
Previously, I described my “top five skills”—those I both enjoy using and do well. These include: writing informatively and expressively; being good at visualizing and thinking in pictures (which comes out in my photography); and being very good at working with precision and accuracy.
My remaining “favorite skills” point up my strong preference for working with “data and information.” (Just give me the facts, ma’am could be my unofficial motto.) These include:
- Laying out a step-by-step process for achieving a goal (e.g., discerning the sequence of events that comprises a process, and drafting a clear written procedure)
- Researching information through various media, both electronic and in print
- Having a superior memory and keeping track of details
- Organizing information, identifying a central “theme” or trend within it, and synthesizing/combining it into a new “whole” (e.g., writing a report or “article” relating what I found)
- Gathering information by studying or observing things
Throughout my professional life, I’ve held a series of jobs that allowed me to practice one or more of these skills. I’m sure they led, at least in part, to my extended “first career” in quality assurance and control (a field in which precision and accuracy reign supreme). And, I did get to write, albeit in the form of detailed test reports and standard operating procedures.
Just as my career in quality was winding down (due to a job elimination), I was excited to have two travel-themed articles published in the Los Angeles Times. Thanks in part to that early success, I landed a job working in corporate communications, which drew on my writing, researching and photography skills. But I grew discouraged under the role’s very demanding pace, volume of work demanded, and by my boss’s increasing dissatisfaction with my performance—except for my photography work. Those imaging skills have since brought me sporadic work as a wedding, portrait and special event photographer. But, while I have enjoyed opportunities to ply my talents none has blossomed into a lasting, reasonably well-paying career.
Now, more than ever, that’s an objective both my family and I need me to achieve. I continue regularly scanning the various job boards; and I constantly revise and tinker with my resume in hopes it will, like cream, rise to the top of some recruiter’s applicant pile. Throughout this process, I’ve tried to narrow my focus down to jobs requiring some combination of my technical background and/or communications ability. But, in a market awash in job-hunters, that’s a truly humbling numbers game—and very unreliable when my professional life and livelihood are at stake.
I’m still holding on to that dream of a more “creative” profession in which to apply my visual, writing and information-focused skills. But I need to see my target much clearer than that hazy description reveals. And, frankly, I need a Plan B that’s more than a numbers game.