The Circle of Life in the Labour Force

I find myself in the interesting yet confounding position of looking for work and mentoring younger women in the broadcasting industry looking for advice about looking for work. Would I listen to myself considering I'm out of work? It makes one question one's decisions throughout a career; decisions that have inevitably led to my place in middle age life today.

While unemployed, I'm happy. Maybe I shouldn't be happy? I'm not happy about being unemployed but content and confident that my choices throughout my career were the right ones for me at the time, choices that forced me to stop and "smell the roses" now.

I had breakfast today with a bubbly, enthusiastic young reporter who has chalked up incredible experience in a relatively short time, slugging it out and proving herself in difficult circumstances. She recently walked away from a job situation and tells me some of her colleagues say she's crazy. I tell her she's crazy to stay if you're not happy. It's a case of "Do what I say" though, not "Do what I do or did.."

I advise her not to do what I did...stay somewhere too long! Trust your gut feeling, I say, even if it means you might be out of work for a while. As long as you can get by and especially if you have no ties or obligations, take control of your career early before it controls you! It took me way too long to realize that. While I loved my job, I didn't love what was happening to me but didn't see or acknowledge how the quality of work life was so negatively affecting me. I needed a nudge and boy did I get it. Decades of hard work, and loyalty don't always earn loyalty back...a tough lesson.

Learning does last a lifetime. I've also in my mature years learned another lesson: there are certain times, certain milestone moments in life when careers must take a back seat. Burn-out is becoming rampant in today's workforce and family/life balancel must be brought back into the equation. In my rush to get back into the workforce, after giving birth to my son, I gave up precious months and years with him. In my desperation to hang on to a media-made "identity" in a growing negative landscape, I lost my own sense of value. I have it back again. I also have time to focus on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my home, my community and MY future. And yes that includes a pay check down the road but not at the price of my sense of self and well being.