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Friday, February 9, 2018

Big Changes Are a Coming: Christy's Edition

I got a job last week.
I start on Monday.

A little back story.......

I've been applying for jobs for about 6 months now. Encouragement (ie: Pressure) from my LTD company, along with a growing desire to figure out what I want to be doing with my life set these wheels in motion and for well over a year I've been obsessively thinking about returning to work.
I subscribed to all the major job finder websites, and my inbox was flooded daily with job postings that ranged from feasible to down-right ridiculous. (It's amazing how many jobs were recommended to me that required driving skills.) Several times a week I'd spend hours reading through them, analyzing the requirements and duties listed, trying to discern from a few paragraphs what this job actually was. Was I qualified? What would the work environment be like? Would it be too stressful? Would I be challenged, yet not overwhelmed? What sort of visual skills were required? Would the company be willing to make reasonable accommodations for my vision impairments? Could I get to and from the place of business by bus? Was the commute time & distance reasonable? Would I need childcare? Was it enough (money/interest/opportunity) to risk losing my LTD insurance?
COULD I EVEN DO IT?
WOULD I EVEN LIKE IT?
DID I EVEN WANT TO?

I'm sure you're surprised to find out that my anxiety has been off the charts for the last year.

The idea of going back to work is both exhilarating and terrifying.  It's been 5 years since I've left teaching. FIVE. And while leaving the classroom was certainly the best decision for my physical and mental health, thereby making it the best choice for my family; surrendering to my disability felt like failure to me in so many ways. Just the idea of putting myself out there again, reentering the work force, only to (possibly) have to admit once again that my low-vision prevents me from successfully holding down a job, was (is) paralyzing.  But with A LOT of support from career counselors, therapists, my husband and daughter, family, and friends - I began putting myself out there.

I hadn't interviewed for a job since 2004. Aside from the one summer I worked at Busch's grocery store to help pay for my Masters, it's been 14 years since I've done any of this - created resumes, applied for jobs, waited anxiously for interviews to be set up, and then the impossibly long wait to hear any news regarding the position. Let me tell you, I didn't miss it for one second. But I did it and applied for jobs that I thought might be a good fit. I even began to get a little excited about all the possibilities.

In October, I went on my first interview and didn't completely bomb it. The position was not the right fit for me so I was only mildly surprised and disappointed that I wasn't offered a second interview.

Once November hit, I decided to take a hiatus from applying, figuring I'd start back up again in January. Or maybe I'd wait until April. Or May and look for something that would start in September, when Emy goes back to school. Slowly losing steam, not really sure what I wanted, afraid of the unknown, I was pretty willing to make a decision by not doing anything at all.

But January came. And with it came the feeling of hope, fresh starts, and resolutions to change old habits. As he had been doing for months, Josh, (my relentless cheerleader and Chief Encourager) sent me some job postings. The role of Class Secretary/Office Professional at middle and high schools around the Ann Arbor school district piqued my interest. There were several positions available, two of which were at Huron High School, Josh's alma mater and a mere 2.4 miles from my house. Reasonably confident in my qualifications and ability to perform the duties, I was also excited about the job itself.
So I applied.

Then theoretical became reality, awfully fast.

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