Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week of Advocacy

It turns out that I'm full of much more gumption than I thought I was.  In all this time, being unemployed can really make you feel at your lowest.

Apparently, according to different things people are hearing, employers aren't hiring those who aren't already working.  Which is a horrible way to go about business if you ask me.  It doesn't lessen the unemployment rates if the unemployed folks who are looking aren't getting hired.  In fact, it's ridiculous and counterproductive.

In turn, the fact that employers are following this trend makes me think that it would contribute to the lowering self-worth that us unemployed folks have felt.  "No one is hiring me, regardless of my skills because I'm not already part of the work force.  I must not be worth the chance."

Then, when an opportunity presents itself, one has to muster up whatever sort of positive energy they have to then project how amazing and awesome they actually are as a person and an employee.  But if you've been feeling so low for so long, this is easier said than done.

This past week, I've really had to do some quick turnaround in terms of my self-esteem.  Luckily, I've had a lot of people support me when I would tell them about what was going on in my job search.  Talking with some of them helped me remember that I had more options that I remembered.
This past week, I really had the opportunity to put my macro social work skills into action by negotiating the terms of my employment, something I wouldn't have ever thought I could do while unemployed.

So, when it came to accepting the full-time temporary position at the after school/summer program, I wanted to make sure to ask about a slight pay increase after the full training.  My supervisor sent the request to HR, which means that he would support it.

Considering my education level, I know I could be paid much more than I was getting.  Just his willingness to consider it, regardless of whether I get a raise at all, had made it worth my asking.

Then, I had another interview scheduled.  Just because I have an idea of what's going on for me this summer definitely doesn't mean that I should rest on my laurels too much.  So, as it was clear that the interview was going relatively well, I asked about what time frame they were looking at. 

I let both of my interviewers know that I had agreed to work full time for the summer, and "I'm the kind of person who feels that when I start something, I finish it."  Both were impressed by my loyalty, and were extremely open to the idea of having someone start later than they both projected.  Again, even if they don't end up hiring me, it feels good to know that I stood up for myself and my schedule.

Remember a couple of posts back, when I was having some anxiety about my work schedule at City Hall?  I had the chance to talk face to face with my employer and future co-workers.  After filling out the necessary paperwork, I then had a chance to speak with the woman who's been trying to hire me. 

I let her know that while we had agreed on the month of June, that because I hadn't really heard about any final details that I had to make some plans.  Thus, I have a couple of weekends when I wouldn't be able to work.  However, I'm more than willing to come in on evenings during the week.

After a bit of balking, I realized that while they were a bit worried about the space in their office, they didn't necessarily know where and when people were in different locations.  I'm still going to be working on the weekends and some evenings, however I am also going in on Tuesday morning.  But I let them know that there were just several days that I couldn't do it.  It's just how it is.

You can't possibly expect that I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs and not making plans.  At one point, they said that they were workaholics.  I get that, I really do.  But that's not the road I want to go down, and if they want to hire me I need to set a precedence for how I plan to work.

I'll work hard and earn my keep.  But I'll be damned if I let this get in the way of my self-care, my happiness, and my goals.
So, as the weekend has arrived, I'm really happy to know that I have a group of people who have supported me through my continuing rough times.  And I'm extremely proud of myself for what I was able to advocate for.  That is, I advocated for me.

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