If I’m remembering correctly, the idea first began making its way around my head at some point in 2006. I think it was that year that the concept of living abroad and filling some sort of position in the overall category of “development” began to take hold and occupy an increasingly hospitable place in my thoughts. There were plenty of things that I found to be appealing in it all. I was interested in gaining a deeper insight with respect to the world of poverty, immersing myself in a new and foreign culture, and trying my hand at proficiency with a foreign language. Most of all, though, I was interested in dedicating one year of my life to living in an altruistic manner, to set aside a period of twelve months to focus solely on the act of directing all of the resources I had been given over the years in an outward direction.
From there, I began researching organizations that do this type of work in the developing world. I spent months online, looking at various NGOs and the specific work they were carrying out at the time. I wrote emails. I made phone calls. I filled out a few applications. At one point, I even headed to Arizona to spend a week of “pre-employment training” with one group. I went on to speak with everyone from the United Nations, to Peace Corps, to your friendly neighborhood missionaries, and in conjunction researched the large, the small, and all organizations in between. For nearly two years, I looked around without finding that perfect fit, which really, due to the fact that I had a great job and situation back in Colorado, posed no real problem whatsoever. After all, there was no real hurry. Eventually, though, in late 2007 I stumbled across an opportunity that sounded and felt right, and within a short time all lights turned to green and all compasses pointed in the southern direction, to Nicaragua.
One of the challenges I came across in those two years of searching was found in my unique “background”, or “skill set” (skill set is one of those cool terms I picked up in Arizona). I had a formal education in biological science (with no real experience) and had spent the previous ten years working in the area of emergency services. What I found was that in looking toward potential projects in this new area (new to me, that is), the general consensus was relatively positive. The classification, on the other hand, proved a bit more difficult.
So why do I mention all of this background material? I mention all of this to make the point that, as it was in pre-2008, I’m once again LOOKING FOR A JOB!!! I realize that it’s an obvious statement in a Blog entry surrounding unemployment, but I figured I’d go ahead and clear up any confusion that might be present. I also mention those things above to say that, as was the case before, such an undertaking is not coming without its challenges. For one, although I’ve been fortunate enough to add a few items to the skill set over the last several years, I’m still a difficult animal to classify in the world of development, especially when the animal is requesting a modest paycheck. Also, in an attempt to carry out such initial objectives as cultural immersion and poverty education over the last few years, I’ve typically avoided those communities characterized by their lighter skin color and/or economic advantage. And although I do think there can be something of value to be found there, I have to say that when in search of employment, those living on a dollar per day are NOT going to be one’s most profitable resource.
Regardless of one’s language, however, the word “challenge” isn’t necessarily classified as a negative, and “difficult” never automatically implies impossible. On a positive note, I think I’m learning a few things these days and hopefully picking up a bit of personal growth along the way. I’m learning (and re-learning) such practical skills as the compilation and presentation of the resume, the do’s and don’ts of the interview process, and perhaps most notably, the value of networking. I’ve been gaining perspective and insight with respect to the overall concept of work (more specifically, work that carries with it a monthly paycheck) and the value and role it occupies in one’s life. And recently I’ve found myself exploring that fine line dividing such traits as persistence and diligence from the simple allowance of letting events and opportunities unfold and present themselves as they are meant to, in their own way and in their own time. Perhaps more than anything I’m just learning to find a place of peace in a moment often characterized by such less than attractive words as restlessness, frustration, worry, or doubt.
On the lighter side, I’ve been reading some great books, getting more than enough rest, and catching up on the Oscar nominated films of 2010 (a personal recommendation…127 hours). As for the matter of finding a job, something will eventually turn up, of that I’m confident. And when it does, I’ll have additional topics about which to Blog. In the meantime, though, I think I’ll just focus on the enjoyment of unemployment.