Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Go back to work?

I was away this weekend - a fun, but cold weekend in Vermont. With 3+ hours in the car each way, I was thinking about the coming year. What am I going to do? Of course, my husband was also asking me - "What are you going to do if you don't find a job soon? - Do you want to find a job?" The problem is that I really don't know what I want. My job hunt is not going well. My resume looks a little scary at this point. I have been with many companies and have several 'holes' from not working and I have been away from a 'real' job since 2002. I got on the "mommy track" by leaving time consuming jobs and working part time and now I'm paying the price.
There is no good way to explain in a 2 page resume that I took time off to spend time with my kids and to provide a more stable family life for all of us. How do you show that a family has difficulty when both parents work more than 40 hours/week and both travel? How do I explain that some job changes came because the company was bought and they booted everyone - it should not reflect on my abilities - they did not seem to matter.
How do I show them that in my time "off", I have run a small antiques business to pay for my antiquing habit, have done countless hours of volunteer work in our schools and at a local charity, developed and taught a wonderful after school program for children that teaches them about different cultures, put together several business plans hoping to start my own small business (never worked out though). . .
Finally, how do I convince a hiring manager that a BS in Engineering and 20+ years of business experience should be able to substitute for an MBA? Book smart or street smart - what do they really need?
I have tried touching on a few of these things within a cover letter, but I'm convinced no one even reads those any more. Unfortunately, part of my problem is that I would rather work for myself and I really need to figure out how to do that - beyond the bits of consulting and contracting that I have been doing.
Anyway - that is my vent for today. I have not been writing much - it is just such a busy time of the year.
Anyone else out there take some years off from a professional career and get back in? Any advice?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Santa traditions

I was thinking about the whole Santa tradition today. My youngest daughter, who is 9, was discussing her list with a friend while I was driving them to gymnastics yesterday. She was explaining how Santa stopped bringing presents when you were 16, and her friend was saying it was not so - her parents still get presents in their stockings from Santa.
(For the records, my kids are more than 9 years apart and we provide gifts from Santa and from us. When our oldest hit 16, the 2 groups of gifts were getting so "small" - due to the cost of items that teenagers want - that we decided to clear the Santa slate. Most people who have a 16 year old may not be dealing with a 6-7 year old who still believes)
Anyway, I just got to thinking about how many times this type of thing has happened since I have had kids. Discussions about Santa result in comparisons of traditions. "Santa gifts aren't wrapped!" - "Yes, they are!"; "Mommy, why don't kids who have less than us get presents from Santa?"; "My parents gave it to me" - "Parents don't give Christmas gifts. Only Santa does!"; "Mom, what's the real deal with Santa?" - "Do you really want to know?" - "NO! Never mind" I have heard all these things, and many more. So, I ask myself - how are we able to keep this wonderful magic alive? It amazes me when kids believe past about 4 years old - with all the mixed messages from others and the inconsistancies. I guess there is something to be said for WANTING to believe!
Generation after generation - we choose to start new traditions and honor old ones. Our kids continue to enjoy the wonder and excitement of the season and many of us do everything possible to keep the 'secret'.
Now, I don't want to get too caught up in the gifts area - I try to focus on the spirit of giving and the joy of family. Like it or not, the gifts from Santa and all the details around them will end up as a vivid (and hopefully wonderful) memory for our children.
So, on we go - deciding what Santa will bring this year and what we will give. I always struggle with who should bring the most desired toy - Santa or me??!!