Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Mom's eye view of Job Search.

Finding a job is a job in itself. Heard this before. I am sure you have and so have I. However am realizing it only now. As a SAHM of ten years, when I decided to start the job hunt, the first task was to build a resume. Not as easy as it sounds. In fact it was everything but fun. The first round of question was, should I write "being a mom" in the cover letter or not. Tangential but a valid question, should I include "volunteering at school" and all projects completed in the resume or not.  After going back and forth, I decided Yes, I will write that I am a SAHM and an active volunteer at school.  

The second round of business was to identify what kind of job I want to do? With an undergrad in Engineering, a Masters in Finance,  skill for writing and work experience in the budgeting and recruitment, what sector should I target for. Should I go back to budgeting, recruitment or start afresh; chuck all that I know out of the window and acquire new skills, sort of like my flip phone that I proudly replaced with a smart phone.  

Before I could decide what job, which job and find answers to all these questions. It was important for me to understand what the corporate world today looked like. For you see, another angle to this story is the fact that I want to continue being a mom. I still want to be able to drop off and pick up my kids. So that limits it further.  I Googled and read article after article on the changing work force expectations.

Outsourcing was making a full circle and coming back. Industries were now looking for national talent. The work environment today is diverse, continuously evolving and global. It is no longer a traditional work environment. In addition to the basic reading, writing and arithmetic, employers are now also looking for critical thinking, problem solving, resourcefulness, communication, collaborative and creating thinking.  Btw, for the record, these skills are what we SAHM's excel at. Ok, OK, promise no trumpet blowing ! :-) 

On a more serious note, the question I have is, how does one quantify these dynamic evolving skills on a two dimensional static resume?

Resume's worked when the only form of communication was through the post office. In the days of paper and pen, resume's helped keep a paper trail. File folders decorated the offices of many companies. as the static data bank companies kept and searched through when a job opening came up. 

The road maybe long, but its always one step
at a time. Sometimes its the process of doing
it, that is more important than the end result.
Let us fast forward to today, 2013, where IQ, EQ have been joined by SQ: Social Quotient. It's a world of quotients. Being intelligent and a team player is not enough. One has to have a social presence too. Many companies no longer want a resume, they are hiring interns based on how they tweet to the posed questions.  Browse through this article as an example of the trends changing Tweets, not re'sume's, are trending.  In addition to this, companies that dare to challenge the norm and cause a paradigm shift are demanding novel add ons' to the re'sume's.  For instance, in my recent hunt to look for writing tasks, came across this part time position, More than Re'sume' (I gave this position a random name, the actual position title can be viewed at the company website) at The Khan Academy.  These are but a few companies hat have harnessed the power of the internet to change the way the world works.

What does all this mean to me? It shows me a golden pot at the end of the rainbow :-)  I don't know if I will find a job which will allow me to make significant contributions and also allow me to do all the "mom duties." But what I do know is that the winds are changing direction. Companies are beginning to realize how under represented the women work force is, they are now making efforts to bring the moms back to work. WSJ recently reported McKinsey tries to recruit Mother's who left the fold.

All of the above is good news, but coming back to the question we started with, how does one add the dynamic skill set on the resume.  The answer is you can't. You can write the details on the projects, and how you approached the project and so forth. The changing winds are now demanding that the employers read between the lines and look for employees who can learn, evolve and adapt at the same time.  

So if you are a SAHM like me wanting to go back to work, don't lose heart, and most importantly, don't compromise on the scope of work. As a start go ahead, research on any of the posts above and if you succeed, keep me posted. I promise a shout out in your honor on my blog.

Keep searching and the right job role will come. It might take some time, but remember what we tell our kids: Be Patient: Good things happen to those who wait.  This mommy mantra works on grown ups too. 

Enjoy the job search, its one of the joys of full-time motherhood!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Time, it moves on!

The original post for today was a shift from the life themed posts, and an effort to move back into business writing: The flimsy plastic bag. 

Father Time, had other plans, he decided to take him away.

Like most eighty three year olds, he too supported his body with a few medicines, however, the mind was young and allowed him to stand tall and proud. He had every reason to be proud for he had raised his family, his grand kids and now had the pride of seeing and raising his great grand kids too. Never once did I see him frown, always a smile and a stately wave.  Last night was different though. Amongst the bright lights of a fire truck and ambulances, his soul left this materialistic world to move on to a happier place.  Met his wife of sixty three years in the morning, she carries forward his legacy of standing tall and proud. She told me it was instant, less than three minutes and it was all over.

Lighting a candle in his memory.
Stand tall, Be Proud and Smile. 
I didn't know what to say. I sat there looking dumb and speechless. Somehow, rhetoric sentences; he's in a better place, he went peacefully and such seemed meaningless. I sat there looking at her and admiring her composed poise. She had tears and yet managed to ask me how my kids were doing with a smile. Such composure comes only when one has realized a content life and attained a level of freedom that most dream about. 

A few relatives came and respecting their privacy, I offered my help and exited, surprisingly not with a heavy heart, but a reassurance that she will be okay for she continues to be surrounded by life. 

At such moments, often, we wish, if only time had stopped, if only time would return. With the advent of the western calendar we have been trained to think of time as a linear function. Time is anything but linear.  "To stop" would be an antithesis to time.  Time is continuity. Moving on and never stopping is its nature.  

My paternal grandfather taught me, to never ever wish for time to stop.  He said, "just imagine, what would happen to those who were going through a bad time, and time decided to slow down or stop?" He was a wise man. Thank you for teaching me to always wish for time to keep moving so the good times can continue and the bad times can move on to make way for the good times. 

Don't save that dress for a special occasion, wear it today, for today is the present. Don't wait for next monday to go to the gym, go today for the "next" monday will always be a week away. Don't postpone a vacation because you need to save, plan that vacation, memories are built by moments and not money.  Don't wait for that perfect moment to propose, do it now, so tomorrow you can be together to enjoy life.  Live today. 

Ending this post with prayers for the departed soul to rest in peace and for the family left behind to  continue and celebrate their lives with his smiles.  

He was my neighbor of six years and this is my tribute to him. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love; It's Logically, Illogical.

“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

I love this quote, not for the romance, but because it captures the essence of love. Love makes our dreams a reality. 

What is Love?  There are probably as many forms of love as there are people in the world. For a child, it’s the tender care of his/her mother, for a mother it’s the simple hug she receives from her child, for a sister it’s the unconditional support of her brother and for a wife it’s the few minutes of her husband’s (phone free) attention LOL! There is one thing common in every definition; Love is a beautiful feeling that starts with conception of a living being.

A feeling that is assumed and taken for granted in its infancy, but grows to be a choice.  So, is love a choice? I think so. Be it any relationship, it’s a choice. A choice we make consciously and nurture patiently with kindness, care and affection; the combination is love.  In our lifespan we cross paths with millions, but choose to be friends with a handful.  Once again, even though we meet many who are kind, gentle and caring souls, we choose to bond with a few.  
Made this painting for a client. It is more than the hearts.
It depcits love that spans time, has its ups and downs
and yet emerges triumphant, vibrant and alive. 

Some relations are given to us and with the right nurturing we always value them. Some we build, and those are, our friends and that significant someone. 

We meet many, and love many, but romance only one. Romance and love are often considered synonyms, however love comes in many forms, romance comes in only one.  In today's times, love is generic, romance is a brand :-)  Life, makes us meet many, by choice, we choose who to care for, how we want to care for and how much we want to care for. Once the choice is made, then comes the decision to love and acknowledge it.  To a friend, acknowledgement is helping and being there for them.  To the special one, acknowledgement is not just being there, its also important to say those three little words.  Love without acknowledgement is like a dream without aspirations.  Its one thing to love a person, but to say "I love you" is a whole different ball game. It is this relationship that is the hardest and needs the most work. For it brings out the best in us, it is this love that makes our dreams a reality and yet sometimes hurts the most too. 

An up close look at Romance. 
I know what you’re thinking. Since when has love been so logical. It's supposed to be illogical isn't it? Love isn’t logical, but we are.   I don’t know if it’s the mind that makes us love or the heart that tells the mind to love. All I know is, when they talk to you; listen to both of them.  You will realize they are two sides of the same coin. They are nature's watchdog's that present us with two different scenarios, once again we choose what we want to see and ignore the other, and so starts the cycle of choose, decide and acknowledge all over again.  

So this Valentine's day, remember to express your love to those who matter. 

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The promise made to self.

He was ready to come, and they were trying hard. And then finally she heard, he's here, and before she knew it, he was placed on her chest. The instructions were hold him tight, he knows you already. Tears started rolling down her cheeks. He was literally the first child she had ever held in her arms. It was magical. He was her son. It was hard to believe that she had created this living being. A whole human being was thriving in her for nine months and even though they had never met, they knew each other.   

As night came, he cried and the moment she held him, he would stop crying. She said to herself, its a coincidence, how can someone a day old be so smart. How can someone whose brain is still developing recognize a touch? But he did and proved it to her. One night, he was crying, for you see he was colicky, night times were not exactly his favorite. And she had gone down the "to do"list three times, and nothing seemed to work. She put him down on the bed.. and said "what do you want me to do. Tell me, I don't know this stuff. This is new to me too." At that moment it happened, for a hair splitting second he stopped crying and their eyes met, at that moment she knew what to do. She laid down on the bed, made him sleep on his chest, covered themselves with a blanket and kissed him good night. 

They both slept like babies. 

She knew the doctor would be mad for co-sleeping. She knew the nurse had warned her of kids suffocating to death in grown up beds, but she didn't care. She was his mother and her instincts could not be wrong.   That night she made a promise to herself, she will take care of her kids and next morning, she quit her job. A job that brought in a handsome 70K. But she did not care. 

Such is the story of many SAHM's like me. Now when I think about it, its very similar to a suicidal moment. I know you're thinking .. WTH is she talking about! But seriously, it is that split second of a moment when we take that decision. If someone would stop and hold back, then maybe in a day or two, the decision would be different.  Maybe sanity would kick in.. LOL!  It's the most rewarding feeling, but comes with a "Groundhog day" life. 

I am not trying to justify or start a debate on the topic of SAHM vs. Working Mom's. I think we all agree that both situations have their challenges and there is no right or wrong answer to this debate. Its a personal preference, because we are all different.  But I do want to bring forward are the promises that we make to ourselves. 

A fresh out of college student, a newly wed couple, first child, second child, 40th birthday and so forth are all milestones in a typical average Joe or Jane. The priorities and promises we make to ourselves change with us.  And as we keep going, some where along the journey the aspirations and dreams get buried under grocery lists, soccer schedules, doctor appointments and corporate presentations. 

To me that is; Life, it happens.  

Life happens to all of us, but there are a brave few, who either don't let the aspirations get buried, or take a moment to pause and dig those dreams and aspirations from the rubble of life.  It is these few who dare to walk the path less travelled.  Joe and Jane say they are lucky to live their dreams. Are they?  Are they really luckier? Or are they simply those who took the time and effort everyday to do something, a tiny little task that helped them move closer to their dreams and literally one step at a time, crossed the bridge of life to reach their dreams. 

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
These lucky few had made a promise to themselves to not get lost.  

We all need to pause, and think of what we want to do besides life. Maybe it is to learn a new language, start a business, learn to salsa, or maybe go visit the Swiss Alps.  What ever that dream is, pull it out and make a promise to yourself today, to make it a reality. 

10 years ago, the dream was to see "every first" of my child. Today, that dream stays, and joining it is another dream to make a living. Why? I haven't quite figured it out yet.  But I do know, the dream has been in the making for a few years and now has taken shape.  

"Life is not about finding oneself. Life is about creating oneself."  

I will create myself, and not get lost in this crazy world. That's a promise made to self.