Every once and awhile I take a look at my family’s financial situation and I contemplate re-entering the workforce.
I always start out thinking of all the pros: getting out of my house, talking to other adults, having some extra spending money, feeling like I’m contributing to society, putting at least one my degrees to use. All good reasons to get a job.
This is turn leads me to looking at job listings. As I look at all the available job opportunities, I systematically find something wrong with each available position. The hours won’t work, the pay isn’t enough once you factor in daycare expenses, I’d have to deal with too many people, I’ve done a similar job before and sucked at it. There’s always something.
Plus, there’s the whole pants and shoes requirement. I’m not about that life.
After I’ve eliminated every available position, I start to consider going back to school (because 3 bachelors degrees aren’t enough, obviously).
I love lists, so I start writing down all the things I think I’d like to do. I research the heck out of each potential career choice, looking into the best schools, seeing how many credits I would need after factoring in my previous schooling, and finding out what the job actually entails. Of course, as I go through this process I find something wrong with each of these options as well. Back to the drawing board I go.
This time around, I decided to do things differently. I thought, maybe I’ll start by listing all the skills I already have, and then think of jobs that would be a good fit.
Excited, I grabbed a fresh piece of paper and started my list. I looked at the finished product and laughed at myself. It was all lies. So, I amended it and it looked something like this:
1. Good with people. Can be polite and deal with people while holding back anxiety-induced vomit and tears.
2. Team player. Nope. Not even a little bit. I can smile and nod while mentally complaining about how stupid you and your ideas are and kicking myself for being too shy to speak up with ideas of my own.
3. Fast learner…if it’s something I actually care to learn.
4. Good at following directions…after you’ve repeated them 80 times. You should probably just tell me one step at a time and allow me ample time to complete this step before moving on to the next. I might just skip a step if it seems pointless, so you should thoroughly explain why it is important.
You want me to do what now?
5. Punctual…insofar as showing up to work on time is concerned. Deadlines, not so much.
6. Great memory…as long as it involves obscure trivia facts, song lyrics, fun tidbits of rock-n-roll knowledge (especially concerning 80’s hair bands), or movie quotes. Basically, if you need a bar bet settled at 2 a.m. I’m the girl to call (which, happens quite frequently, to be honest.)
7. I can over-analyze any piece of media like nobody’s business. Seriously, I can find deep philosophical meaning in a coffee commercial if you ask me to.
8. I know a lot of words and phrases that nobody uses anymore. If you need someone to speak in old-timey idioms and cliches, I’m your gal.
9. I kick ass at karaoke. I will entertain you with my singing for hours, whether you really want me to or not.
10. I can play guitar and bass well enough to write a song and get the point across to a much more skilled musician who is willing to play it for me.
11. I can draw in a crappy, cartoony fashion.
12. I can grow green beans and other vegetables. I don’t know which jobs require this skill specifically, but I’m seriously good at putting seeds in the ground and remembering to water them.
13. I can cook awesome down-home meals. Just don’t ask for anything healthy. If it’s pan-fried or smothered in gravy, I’m your girl.
14. I can stretch a buck. Years of living on very tight incomes has taught me a thing or two.
15. I can get a thousand menial things done to avoid doing the thing I should be doing.
16. I love mindless, tedious, repetitive tasks. I honestly enjoy things like entering information into a data-base, collating papers, or sorting items. If I can feel productive while day-dreaming and listening to music, I’m all in.
17. I can sit in a room alone for hours on end and becoming unjustly irritated by the slightest interruption. I think this may qualify me for a managerial position.
18. I can keep a child alive and (sometimes) entertained. I can’t promise I will teach them anything of value or make them follow conventional rules, but I’ve kept mine fed, bathed, and free from serious injuries for 4 years now.
19. I can drink more beers (or wine) than I intended to and still drag myself out of bed to attend to my obligations. This is an incredibly useful skill that I think deserves extra credit.
20. I can organize any assortment of items with a smile on my face. Don’t expect me to keep it that way, I’d rather let it build up so I can enjoy reorganizing it later.
21. I can make awesome to-do lists, schedules, check-lists, and charts…as long as I don’t have to follow through with their implementation.
22. I can stare at a computer screen for hours on end. I probably won’t even notice that eight hours have passed, so you know that my lunch break will be used for work instead of eating.
I’ll make dinner as soon as I finish looking at these watches.
23. I can fold a fitted sheet properly. I probably won’t do it, but I know how.
24. I can spend all day reading. If you just need someone to fill up space, I’ll happily sit around and read for money.
25. I can put my personal thoughts on the internet for strangers to read. So far this hasn’t been an incredibly useful skill, but I’m sure that it can come in handy.
As you can see, I have a wide variety of skills that qualify me for absolutely zero jobs. Basically, I can do this and be a mom. I can keep the dream alive that someday I’ll be a best-selling author who owns a record store, a bar, and a recording studio while releasing her own music on the side and keep honing my skills.
I can continue to be grateful that my husband is willing to support our family while I raise our daughter and figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life.
And I intend to do just that.