Impatiently Waiting

Argh, this week is going sooo slowly. I am still waiting to hear back on both interviews, OSU and the Memorial Trust. My outreach calls did not lead to new clients as of yet, and my next Meetup group (which usually results in booking several consultations) is September 6th.

I have two client appointments later this afternoon, so that will be engaging and help the time go by. I "should" apply for an open counseling job in Napa, but it feels like the location is a long way away. I just looked up drive time, and it is only 32 minutes; 7 minutes more than when I worked at my other college. Okay, that is really not so bad, I will apply for this position by the weekend. I believe the Napa position starts shortly after hire - the application deadline is September 20th - but the DVC (college close to me) posting says it starts Spring semester 2017, which is definitely not ideal.

Part of my impatience is wanting to move forward with CA Conceptions. I mentioned the CC FB page, which is so encouraging, but it is also lighting a fire under me hearing all the pregnancy announcements and wanting to be one of them. I am trying to trust God, trust "right timing," but it is hard right now, as I am ready to be taking the next steps. Thinking of having a transfer before my December birthday, though, is still super exciting.

The other source of my impatience is definitely finances. I am scraping by on this much lower non-profit income. I still love the staff and feel good going in to work and helping brain-injured folks connect with programs and resources, but getting my paychecks is super disheartening. Please send good thoughts for me signing new clients who would benefit from my career transition support.

Tick. tock. tick. tock.  Argh!


Weekend Updates

Thank you so much to those of you who weighed in on the job opportunity analysis in my last post. It was really helpful! Most of you leaned towards the job with the healthcare trust because it's local, pays well, and offers the opportunity to work remotely. Those of you that favored the university job in Oregon mentioned the positives of living near family and having summers off.

After interviewing for both positions, I have an update on the details of each job, as well as my feelings towards them now...

First of all, the Oregon job interview did not go very well. It was a panel interview on a conference call, which I have never experienced and I can now report is super. awkward. I could not see anyone and received very little feedback on my responses, even non-verbal. They were not a warm and friendly crowd. The main interviewer was kind of formal and unhelpful in communicating the expectations and framework of the interview. In "normal" interviews, it is not uncommon to ask to add something at the end that did not come up in the interview, but when I did this, instead of clearly saying, "I'm sorry, we have to stop now due to time," or something like that, she kind of withdrew and begrudgingly said to go ahead, which totally threw me off.

Also, during the interview, I asked about collaborating between the career and advising departments and an idea I had for that, and got a very strange, stilted response about referring students to career counseling, which did not really answer the question. This also threw me off a little, as I had been told by my friend who works there that this is a great idea and they are really looking for innovation. I realized later that I likely stepped into some political sensitivities, because there was a representative from the career services department in the interview, along with the advising representative, who was leading the interview. This whole separation is foreign and non-intuitive to me, as here in California, we simply have college Counselors that do both academic and career counseling, versus dividing out these functions. What is weird is that it seems that advising helps students choose a major/career, my favorite part of the job. I am still a little confused, and not optimistic they will call me back, even though I feel I did very well on the first half to three-fourths of the interview. Oh, and I did re-read the job description and discover it's a 12-month assignment, so no summers off.

In contrast, I felt like I totally rocked the interview with the healthcare trust for a career counseling position. The whole interview felt as comfortable as an interview can feel, even though this one was also over the phone (only one interviewer though). She and I had a lot in common and seemed to totally click. We had moments of understanding and laughter, having both worked for community colleges and for workforce programs. And the core of why we like career counseling seemed to be similar. I am knocking on wood, but I feel I will likely be moved on to the next stage of interviewing, which will indeed be with a panel/committee. Ugh. In any case, she said I should hear back by next week on the details of this. One potential negative I discovered during the interview is that my position is located in Oakland, which is the one location that has a physical office where other Trust staff work. So, I likely would be working from that office part of the time versus fully remotely, although she indicated I would also work from home to some extent, as well as travel out to various healthcare center locations.

I do still feel positive about the Oregon location - central Oregon, which has waaay better weather than where I grew up - and living near family. My brother said he thought we would likely see each other every few weeks and our families could be more in each other's lives. But traveling for CA Conceptions treatments would be costly and less convenient, and I am really appreciating my friendly, healthy housemate situation, especially in comparison to the stress of my last housemate. In addition, she loves Zoey and plays with her regularly. Yay! She generously offers to let her out when she's home and I'm not, and hangs out with her outside or in her room, truly enjoying Zoey's company. I really feel like she adds to the joy in Z's life, which in turn makes me so happy.

Maybe Oregon does make more sense later, if I do decide to go that route... what do you guys think, hearing how things went?

So now I am playing the waiting game and working on getting new clients to make my budget this month. I plan on making outreach phone calls, which I don't enjoy but which sometimes brings referrals. There is an Art in the P@rk festival nearby that I also may check out today. My housemate and I are going to go in on a big nature photo hanging for the living room. Hope you have a great weekend!


Figuring stuff out...Please share feedback!

This post is going to be a "figure my shit out" post because I feel a little all over the map career-wise right now. I would appreciate feedback or words of wisdom from your own experience. It seems I'm in that situation where, even though I am excellent at coaching others and helping them make career decisions, I'm struggling to coach myself. Like the painter whose own house paint is cracked and peeling. ha

The context is that my career counseling business is in a "valley" within the journey of peaks and valleys that is self-employment as a counselor/coach, at least until you build enough passive income sources online. My college counseling unemployment ended, and I replaced it for the most part with a part-time, 15 hour a week (3-day), Resource Specialist job with a local brain injury support organization. Unfortunately I spend 2.5 hours per day, 7.5 hours per week commuting, so it ends up being at least 22-24 hours per week. Still okay, though the commute is stressful, but it limits my client and business building time. I still have 10 clients, three fairly new, though several are vacationing right now.

As I may have mentioned before, my clients often pay for a complete career counseling package up front, which is great in that moment! But not so great over the long term when I'm working with them but not receiving regular payments. To rely only on my business through one-on-one counseling work, I would need to bring in at least three or four new clients a month, and regardless, I need to bring in 1-2 new clients a month right now to supplement my other income. It doesn't sound like much, but that translates to doing a certain level of outreach and conducting at least 2-3 free career consultations per week. I haven't been marketing/networking as I should, though I did send out my third information-packed newsletter last week.

I also have drifted in my connection with my business marketing program. I'm officially finished with the weekend intensives that come with the program I signed up for. I want to enroll in the next-level program, but I didn't feel ready to do that a few months ago when my other program ended. I'm scheduled to assist at another introductory summit weekend in September, which will bring in several hundred dollars and another lower-rate opportunity to sign up. I have realized that being part of this program and actively developing myself and my business within a group of other committed, like-minded folks - many of whom were inspiring in that they were several steps ahead of me - really did push me and generate momentum in my business. As I think this through, I believe my next step will be assisting in the program I completed myself, Mastery, in Oct/Nov of this year and/or Feb/March of next and then moving forward with more money socked away towards the payments and hopefully receiving a higher income at that time.

Regarding the higher income piece, which is core to the desire to "figure my shit out," I have been applying for both full and part-time counseling positions with colleges and within other contexts. These positions generally pay more than twice what I make hourly at my current part-time position (my independent career counseling work pays four times as much per hour but as mentioned is difficult for me to predict and manage right now). I have two interviews next week, one as a career counselor with a memorial trust organization working with the region's largest health care system, and the other as an Advisor (career and academic counselor) at a state university in Bend, Oregon. The thing is, I'm not sure I want either of these jobs. As I have mentioned, I have thought that my ideal would be to find a part-time college counseling position close to where I live, which allows me to continue to put a lot of time into my business.

BUT And this is a big BUT, as you know, I am super excited to move forward with the CA Conceptions program and become a mom in the next year. To take the next step and begin receiving donor profiles, I need to take out a loan for the required up-front payment, and I believe I will have a higher chance of receiving this loan if I am making a consistent, higher salary. Not to mention, preparing for and supporting a baby down the road requires a good salary, as well.

Please bear with me as I analyze these two opportunities. It would really help if you share your opinions on these!

Pros and cons of the memorial trust position... Pros: located in Oakland which is where I see many of my clients and where I have friends; pays quite well - a little higher than a full-time college counseling position; seems to allow working remotely or virtual commuting; and uses many of my strengths while allowing me to develop skills I want for my business such as hosting webinars. Cons: full-time; requires some marketing and detail-oriented program management which doesn't fit me as well; limits my client contact to folks working within this health care system, though the system is large and requires many types of positions, not just medical practitioners.

Pros and cons of the Oregon state university position... Pros: located in Oregon, near family and in the same city where my family now has a vacation house and travels regularly (could be a big plus when I have a child); great weather and recreation in Bend; located near friends from my hometown who I recently loved reconnecting with at my reunion, including two living in the same city and one who works at the same university; and I am excited about the opportunity to work at a four-year university and see how that differs from community colleges. Cons: would require me to break my lease and move after having found a great roommate; pays significantly less than university advising/counseling jobs in N. California (10-15K less), though the cost of living is considerably less, too; full-time and would require me to put my business on hold for a while, though I believe I could rebuild it there; I would need to travel for CA Conceptions procedures; and relocating is stressful. One point worth mentioning is that "full-time" usually means 32-35 hours in a college/university setting and you often get part or all of summer off.

It's not as though I have been offered these positions yet, but I would like to go into the interviews with clarity about whether and how much I want the job. Another iron in the fire is having a full-time application in at the college near where I live, which I should hear back on in September. I guess I want to focus more on what I want and need in a job right now, and these parameters feel like they necessarily now include financially supporting my dream to become a mom in the near future. Please share your thoughts and experiences...What would you do career-wise, or how would you be thinking, if you were me?