What would you do to feed your kids? To keep a roof over your heads? To provide necessary medical care for a loved one?
Ask yourself, if push came to shove, what would you be willing to do if your family’s life were on the line? Lie? Cheat? Steal?
As job-seekers, the nagging need to make money is an inescapable reality— our constant companion as we go from primary bread-winner of the family to struggling to bring in enough money just to make ends meet in this time of extended economic recovery.
The pangs of fiscal responsibility weigh heavily on you daily, causing a form of residual stress that eats away at your psyche and is difficult for your employed friends and family to comprehend. I am thoroughly convinced that if the fat cats in Washington had to live with the stress of unemployment for some period of time, our sequestration would end abruptly or the legislators would drive off their own fiscal cliff.
In the back of your mind, you balance wanting to keep cash flowing in to provide food and shelter with holding out hope for a job to come up in your chosen career field – heck, some days you’d settle for something in the same career area code let alone in the same field. Some days the weight of both can crush you.
THE $64,000 QUESTION
At some point during most job interviews, somebody invariably asks if you had a dream job, what would it be? Or sometimes, it comes in the form of what do you see yourself doing in five years?
If I had that proverbial magic wand, I think I’d see myself blogging and doing online work from the comfort of my own home. Granted it’s a selfish wish, but if all the options were on the table, I’d take the one that would let me keep building my voice as a writer while making a living that keeps the cash flowing into the household economy.
I’ve been a semi-employed writer/editor/online producer for nearly two years now. I pay my own freight when it comes to health insurance for me and two children, and the mere thought of a vacation or funding a retirement account is about as distant and remote as the islands that I’d like to travel to with my hard-working wife if we ever could get cash ahead.
WILL COUGH FOR CASH
What would I do to feed my family? During this time of under-employment, I’ve shoveled snow, mowed lawns, carried heavy objects, taken portraits and worked in gardens for cash. To me, honest work is honest work, regardless of what it is, and if it can help a neighbor or a friend along the way, all the better.
Of late, I’ve also taken on the role of crash test dummy. Well, not really a crash test dummy, but as a standardized patient to help medical students train in real-life clinical situations.
Yes, I am a medical guinea pig.
Now before your mind races off to some corner of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab that has me being poked, prodded and injected with all sorts of experimental drugs and psychedelic dyes, this is more dinner theater than Doctor Strangelove.
Standardized patients are asked to play a role with many options, and the prospective doctors, nurses and health-care professionals must test and query us for answers, just like in a visit to the doctor’s office or health clinic. There’s minimal poking and prodding and definitely no invasive procedures.
And while you’ll never see me on the red carpet wearing Versace and prepping to receive my Oscar, being a standardized patient helps pay the bills and gives me yet one more skill to put on my LinkedIn profile.
The takeaway from all of this, my job-seeking friends, is to seize the opportunities to bring in cash or experience wherever you find them. You never know when a path that appears to be taking you in one direction might lead you to something totally unexpected – like a job, or at least cash.
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