A few months ago I decided to stop writing my blog because I’m in the process of re-entering the workforce. Let me back up. I’ve been home for the last twelve years. At first it was a choice — I wanted to be home for my daughter. But then staying home became a necessity when I got sidelined by chronic lyme disease.
Well, my daughter is now a freshman in college, and while my lyme issues are not completely resolved, they are much improved. With both time and better health on my side, I felt a strong desire to get back “out there.”
Even though I feel ready for this next step, I have to admit it’s terrifying. Let’s take an inventory. I’m 50. I’ve been out of the workforce for 12 years. I still have very low physical, mental and emotional resilience. I’m on a liquid diet. A recruiter’s dream, right? Ha.
Anyway, I decided to push all that to the background and move forward. I figured I must still have something to offer the world. While lyme has taken much from me, I’m pretty sure it didn’t make me any less intelligent.
My first step in re-entry was to figure out what to do. My career was in advertising and there’s no way I can go back to that. First, the business has changed so much in the digital age that I would be considered a useless dinosaur. Second, I could not handle the hours, demands, travel and stress. So, it’s a big “no” for advertising.
Then it occurred to me that while I may no longer be relevant in the advertising world, the skills I developed there still are. In advertising, I learned how to write, how to solve business problems, how to develop strategies and how to manage people and projects. With this inventory in mind, I thought about other ways I could apply my skills, and I immediately thought of the non-profit world. And then I thought about grant writing. I had a hunch the skills I used as an advertising account director would transfer well to grant writing.
To prove or disprove my theory, I enrolled in an online grant writing certificate program. Guess what? The skills a grant writer needs are exactly the skills I honed in advertising. Bingo. As an added bonus, I feel I am in the “giving back” phase of my life, so I am extremely interested in working in the non-profit sector.
So, I figured out what to do, and I just completed my certificate program. But before I started my program, I thought about my online profile. I am not on Facebook, and am barely on Instagram, and I may be on Twitter, but I never post anything. So, there’s not much there. But this blog is rich in detail of my physical and mental struggles, and I decided I didn’t want any potential employers to see it. So, I set my blog to “private” and stopped writing. Then I fired up my LinkedIn profile.
I felt pretty good about that decision. Until I didn’t. I’m fine with LinkedIn, but I’m not fine with my blog fading to black. First, I missed it. Writing helps me deal with my challenges and helps me find perspective. And my great hope is I’m helping somebody else as well.
More importantly, I decided to be so open on this blog because I want to do my part to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles. Hiding my blog because I want to re-enter the workforce is pretty much the opposite of that.
So, I’m back. Let’s see where this goes.