Tag Archive | challenge

What am I Worth..to an Employer?


Finding a job is pretty darn high up there on the life stressors chart for anyone. So many decisions, so much time, effort. Penetrating questions. Potential adjustments. Fears. Hopes. Disappointments. The waiting. The unknown. What am I worth?

My heart rate is up just typing that.

So think about my situation for a moment. I had a certain skill set, loads of high tech and higher math knowledge, computer software, great vocabulary, fast typing, persuasive speaking and writing, super confident.

And now…I look at my resume and it feels like someone else. I have so many holes in my memory, no one would believe I used to code webpages or teach calculus or write poetry. My typing has gone from about 80 wpm to 35 wpm with so many errors, the screen is all red underlines. Words that used to flow freely get stuck and I sit and stare, waiting for a thought to form. I am relearning math, but I doubt I will have time to get back to a calculus level in my lifetime as I’m relearning basic facts. Here and there I remember things, like how a tangent works, or what an exponent does, but then I start to work it out and it goes blank again. My daughter is in  high school algebra right now, I had been looking forward to coaching her, and it all looks so familiar, but I have no idea how to solve any of it. I tell her, you have to do something with regrouping….and I get excited thinking I might recall, but no, I can’t get any further.

So. How do you get back to work, when you can’t do what you used to do? How do you explain that you can’t do what you used to do and not sound incompetent or insane?

This process has not been going well. I’ve been applying for low level part time jobs that have nothing to do with my work history. I either don’t get called at all, or when they talk to me, they say I am overqualified, they are afraid I will get bored, or just give me that certain doubtful look, or have that tone in their voice and I know it is over.

My doctor recommended I contact my state workers with disabilities board. I guess I knew there was one, because they helped my brother, but I never considered myself disabled…just never thought of it. So after the shock wore off, I looked online, and saw they had exactly the services I need. I applied online, they called me the next day, set up an intake appointment that same week. Wow!

So I met with them last week. I was so incredibly nervous. I had to gather up my medical records to prove my eligibility, that is phase one. I worked through shame, fear, felt like I was whining, complaining, oh poor me-ing. Until I got there. It was literally a life changing day.

I’m sitting in the waiting room and my assigned case worker calls my name – she is completely blind. She has a service dog leading her, and me, to a small conference room. We sit down, and I’m instantly much more fascinated by her than I care about me anymore. She is confident and professional. She has a stack of folders labeled with braille, and braille typewriter thingy I’ve never seen before to take notes as I talk. She hands me papers that she can’t see but describes them to me in detail. It blows my mind as she helps me to fill them out.

She asks about the forms and records I brought, and asked if I would give her a summary, since she could not scan through them. As I start describing my lengthy and complicated neurological issues, I could sense compassion in her, as I have for her. Mutual respect was huge in this room – like we were both thinking “Damn, I don’t want to be her…” I could tell she wanted to see me when I talked about my scoliosis, because you might think I am visibly deformed, but luckily my curves are balanced and my surgeons are talented so no one would ever know by simply looking at me. You can see my limp when I walk though. So I’m thinking she was not always blind, the way she looked directly towards things and me.

We had a few of these surreal shared moments. I liked her very much. She explained the program and seemed excited to have me there, that she can actually help me. She said so many come through and disappear, don’t show up again, aren’t willing to work hard, don’t answer phone calls. She said she can tell that I work hard from my past jobs, and that I keep my doctor appointments in the city. I never thought of that as a major accomplishment…but I see her point. That takes planning and commitment, shows responsibility to drive 2 hours away for my neurologists and surgeons.

So, the next step is I wait for them to confirm my medical eligibility, then they will set up vocational skill assessment. I’m guessing typing, reading, math, but I’m not sure what all is involved there. Then they use that to see if I nee training, find some job leads, help me re-write a resume, practice mock interviews so I don’t stumble with those tough questions. They can advocate for me, or work entirely behind the scenes, meaning my employer can know I’m using disabled services or not, we will decide which way is best in the career plan we develop. They will stay with me once I’m hired, make sure the transition is smooth. Then I get to use them again, say if I want progress in my career or my health improves, I’m not stuck. They want me to be challenged and working meaningfully. Wow.

So my nerves are gone and I’m only excited now. Someone on my side to help me navigate these tricky steps to getting back on my feet. I am so grateful.

You don’t drown by falling out of the boat

You drown if you stay there. You drown if you panic. You drown if you do nothing. You drown if you give up. You drown if you can’t see the life preserver that has been tossed out to you.

life raft

Look for your life preservers (Photo credit: Faisty.com)


I read this quote in this month’s edition of Curves Magazine, something they email to members full of inspiration and recipes and tips for healthy living. I love this magazine because it is realistic, no even better – it is real.

It does not promise weight loss without effort, or 10 days and 10 pounds. It promises you will get out what you put in. Wow.

But this quote applies to everything in life, not just weight loss.

I will keep repeating this message because it is the most powerful one you can ever hear. Nothing will change if you don’t change it. Everything will change if you do.

Sounds simple, but it isn’t. It’s hard to change. It’s exhausting. At times it seems pointless.

So what’s holding you back? Look around for those life preservers, because no one is truly alone on this planet. When I looked for those life preservers, I was shocked to find more than one. My therapist is one. WordPress is one. My husband is one. My children are one. My new dancing friends are one. I sent out an SOS a few years back and was amazed to find so many people reaching out their hand to help me. I was drowning and ready to give up so many times. I know I will get there again. But now I know the most important thing I ever learned.

I know how to get back in the boat.

I know I can ride out any storm, get tossed about, frightened to my core, lose sight of shore and the boat too. Sometimes I get so low I need scuba gear. But no matter what – I know how to get back on the boat.

I feel strong today.

Look back at what you have overcome and I hope you feel strong too. Because no one has an easy life, and we have all fallen out of the boat (or been pushed out) at some point. But if you are reading this – you know how to get back on the boat too and need to believe in that strength.

Enjoy a bit of Chumbawamba, a throwback to my college days to fit my mood today, and also because on Friday I have a girls night out and I will have a whiskey drink, a lager drink, and be pissing the night away for sure to a local band.

“I get knocked down, but I get up again”

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I Think My Neurons Rhyme Now

When I started this daily poem challenge, I thought wow, this will be fun, and a good challenge for me to stick with something without getting bored and tossing it aside like most of my started, but abandoned, projects. I’m a day behind, but have completed 20/30, and some of them are actually not too bad I think.

Problem is, I think my neurons rhyme now.  Passing thoughts are forming phrases and couplets in most peculiar ways. Now this is not entirely new, as I tend to resort to Seuss mode when stressed, and often play the finish the rhyme improv game with the kids, but this is different. Having to pump out a semi-polished poem every single day is a huge job! Usually I would rough out a poem and play with it over days or weeks, making changes or tweaks. Stop it! See?

Maybe  a daily challenge is not good for a brain that tends towards addiction and obsession. Or maybe it is good. Time will tell.

Anyways, I am so happy today, because my dog seems to be fully recovered! Those truly were super kill-everything-except-the-dog meds. He’s back to running around and barking and generally being himself – which is a high energy guy. Got him on the treadmill to get some of that tension out – Thank you Cesar Milan for that tip, or I would have gone crazy long ago with my neurotic dog. He is a farm dog, a shepherd mix, and thinks he should be working and running in circles all day to herd, well, anything. And since I only have cats here, and we all know herding cats is a futile endeavor, I need to let him run. And with my bum leg not allowing anything close to actual running, the treadmill has done nicely.

I nicely avoided another batch of baited emails from my Mom. I figured out if my initial reaction is “So?” after reading, then I don’t reply to that one. I wait for an actual question or something that only a polar bear could remain icy.  I am so pleased my boundaries have stayed intact, and that she actually says she is proud of my progress. She has no idea that my smile is from the beautiful irony that my progress is in large part to avoiding her. Only my own thoughts in my head these days. It is so peaceful in there I can actually hear a Hawaiian guitar and the sound of ocean waves, in between the rhymes of course. But that’s because it is Sunday night. I am sure tomorrow will be a Monday morning like any other, full of blah blah and leave me alone. But really I’d worry if it were any other way.

Garfield really hates Mondays

Garfield really hates Mondays (Photo credit: thefuturistics)

Hah, found this pic looking for the typical ‘Garfield hates Mondays’, and I had to share it. I think the only way to for Monday to surprise would be if it was in Norwegian. That might open my eyes.