Archive for July, 2009

As I wrote in my last posting, I am currently an unemployed job-seeker. Instead of going to a place of employment every day, I go to my computer and check websites for intriguing new job listings.  When I find a good match for my skills and experience, I submit an application.  Then I wait.  Follow-up.  Wait.  Keep looking. Over time, this can be a discouraging state of being, and some of the unemployed give up.

People are often so defined by their work, and get their personal sense of success from it, that it can be a blow to their self-esteem to lose a job.  That is one reason that I am taking action during this temporary out-of-work time to stay connected with people and to keep learning new things.  When I went back to college a few years ago, I discovered that the most rewarding benefit of returning to school is the sense of accomplishment and confidence that comes from it. 

I have been taking writing classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  One of the classes was The Art of the Blog, and you are reading a result of that class right now.  I am also writing about the travels my husband and I have taken over the years for my current Essays on Journeys class. I also joined a local writing group. This is just another stage of my ongoing midlife transformation. I find that this investment in myself helps to keep me engaged in interests other than just looking for work, and enables me to meet new people with similar interests.   I am confident and enthusiastic about what is going on in my life.  That is not only good for the way I feel about myself now, but I am pretty sure that when the right job comes along, my future employer will pick up on my positive energy and want to hire me.

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I am one of the faces of real people behind the sky-high unemployment statistics this year.  I have been looking for a new job, but as anybody who is doing the same can attest, it is difficult to make progress in this environment. Many of us in the midlife age range are concerned that hiring managers may not recognize the value we can bring to their organization.

I spent the past two days at a workshop on “Creative Job Search” (sponsored by the State of Minnesota) and was very pleased to receive helpful suggestions and strategies.  Besides the valuable information about resumes, interviews, online searches, etc., I especially appreciated the facilitators’ positive approach to midlife workers.  One said that many employers are passionate about 50+ workers because they bring a background, a reference point for making vital decisions, with them into a job.  As older boomers retire, there will be gaps in knowledge, and experienced workers are needed to bridge those gaps. I am happy to hear that!  I am enthusiastic to find a job that is the right fit for me, and for an employer who needs what I can bring to the table.

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I have always been a big fan of Julia Child.  She is truly inspiring for having influenced the way Americans not only cook, but think about food.  An article about Julia in the current (August 2009) issue of Vanity Fair magazine made me appreciate the impact she has had on so many of us.

 I watched her on public television, not only in her later years – she hosted other chefs on her show in the 1990’s – but earlier too, when I was still at home growing up in the 1960’s.  I remember my mother making beef bourguignon in that era.  Some of Julia’s techniques must have rubbed off on me too.  Today I like to create dishes with a roux base, and sometimes I cook with wine (a little for the pot, a little for me).

 Julia’s life story is fascinating.  During World War II she worked for the O.S.S. (which later became the C.I.A.) She had her own midlife transformation: she learned French cooking in her late 30’s, worked on the classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in her 40’s, and started teaching the masses on her first PBS television show at age 49.

 By the way, according to Laura Jacobs’ article in Vanity Fair, Julia loved the 1978 Saturday Night Live spoof of her starring Dan Ackroyd.  I laughed until I cried the first time I saw that skit, and still crack up during the many times it has aired since then.  Now I am looking forward to a new movie, Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child, due out next month.  In the meantime, to quote Julia, “Bon Appetit!”

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