working on believing

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. Muhammad Ali

I have been unemployed or underemployed now for eight months. During this time I have worked in a bakery, blogged about my daily experiences, spent *hours* on the phone with the state unemployment office, applied for countless jobs, negotiated a series of adjunct classes to teach this fall, deepened my work in therapy, and resolved that my next full-time step be to a position that means something AND promotes work/life balance.

I’ve realized during this time under-/unemployed that I’m built for thinking, for learning and writing, and for educating and teaching. I thrive on strategic planning. I enjoy quiet reflection. I like to work from home (occasionally) and I like to be with people. I need to be challenged and yet I also need that challenge not to take over my self and my life. I do not want to work an 60-hour-a- week job, nor do I want to work 50-hours a week. I can. But, I don’t want to. Nor do I think that one has to work that much. The 40++/hours standard is a by-product of capitalist culture- not a necessity. I want a position that appreciates me as much as I appreciate it. A company that works for me as hard as I’ll work for them. I need time for self, for family, friends, and my boyfriend. Oh, and the dog and cat 😉

I believe those positions do exist. This fall I have created a “salary’ for myself from adjunct teaching. It is a far, far cry from my prior income, and it still leaves me vulnerable due to its lack of benefits (i.e., a cancer survivor with no healthcare is a worrisome thing). Yet, it gives me balance. I have time to write. I have time to bake. I have time to walk my dog and then take a nap with her if I need to. I have time to go to therapy – regularly. I have time to job search and network. I have time to live outside of work.

I believe that balanced positions exist. However, so far I’ve had trouble finding them and finding employers who are not shocked at my expressing that I believe that a 35-40-hour work week is a necessity for promoting good work. I am struggling to believe that I am actually going to find that next position: one that challenges me; fulfills my desire to do social justice work; utilizes my strategic planning, management, writing and speaking skills; and that supports me working balanced hours for a living wage plus benefits. But, I know that I have to believe it because I know that what we put into the world manifests around us and in us. I have to believe because I want it to happen.

So, if it’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, then I affirm that I will find a job that promotes balance. My next step will put me first and the job second. And, it will both use and support the growth of my skills and expertise.

I will repeat these affirmations. I will work on believing that the work is there and that I deserve it. And, things will happen.

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