Focus: Getting Past Mommy Brain and Getting on with Life

Since my son turned one almost two weeks ago and I was let go from my high-school level temp job one week ago, I have decided now is the best time to figure out what I should be doing for the rest of my life.

I started following a new blog, Zen Habits. I figure if I want to write a blog that anyone wants to read (myself included – notice this is my first time back since July), I should probably bone up on what the blogosphere is reading. So I googled “Best Blogs” and came up with Time Magazine’s can’t live without blog list. Zen Habits was one of the first listed, and I only had to read a few posts before I decided this was what I needed. If you’re interested in quick tips to living a simple, meaningful, focused life, I highly recommend visiting Zen Habits.

One of the posts on Zen Habits is named “The Short But Powerful Guide to Finding Your Passion.” I spent a few hours going through the steps to find my passion – things like writing a list of what excites you, what you’re good at, what you read about, etc. Since professional karaoke isn’t a very realistic career for me, I am going to look more closely at a few of the other things on my list: writing and Web marketing.

My first thought is that passion may be too strong of a word. I am passionate about saving homeless and abused animals, keeping my son happy and healthy and having a successful marriage. I would even say I’m pretty passionate about simple things like listening to music, working in the yard and spending time with family and friends. However, those sorts of passions don’t easily translate into a career where you actually get paid with money. Writing and Web marketing seem like more job-friendly skills. I wouldn’t live and die for either, but sitting down on a Monday morning to create a web site or write a blog doesn’t drive me to drink at 8 a.m. So, I guess that’s a pretty good start.

My first step is to practice what I already know and learn everything I can about what I don’t. This blog is the practice, and reading other blogs is the learning. I plan to learn everything I can through research, books and classes about designing web sites and marketing businesses online, and I will practice by designing my own web site and marketing it to see if I can get any business. I have done a little bit of this in the past, but I’ve never really had a chance to focus on it or learn more. I figure now is my chance.

Background: I have been drifting around for almost 4 years now, hopping from one meaningless, unchallenging job to the next, losing a valuable piece of my self esteem – and often, money invested – with each job. My last “real” grown-up job with good pay and benefits was back in 2006. I was a marketing manager for Aramark, a food service contractor. I was laid off after only a year and a half, and things have gone steadily downhill since then.

Now I’ve never been #1 at anything, but I’ve always been confident that I was somewhat smart and talented, and I could pretty much count on getting jobs I applied for. For a while I did. And then I learned the hard way that when things get tough for a business, the employee who spends the money (read: marketing) is the first to get cut. The irony is that when the economy gets tight, businesses need to market more. That’s understandably a tough pill to swallow for most small businesses though.

These days, marketing jobs are few and far between. I am relatively young and inexperienced, so the jobs that do open up are not going to people like me. I’ve been on a few interviews in which I thought the job was a perfect fit and I had all the necessary qualifications – and then I didn’t get the job. That doesn’t even hold a candle to the countless number of resumes I submitted that I never even heard back from. Of course this has affected my self-esteem (and my bank account) in a negative way.

So, today I have a goal to get back on the horse, but maybe try a new horse. Maybe I start learning about something I am interested in and have the jobs come to me…maybe. I’ll just start with today and take it one day at a time. I’ll need to stay focused, so writing this blog will hopefully keep me accountable. I’ll keep you posted.

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