Month: November 2016

I Got a Job, and My Trip Helped it Happen

October 13th I started a new job. I’ve been meaning to write about this for the past month, but a) didn’t know which route to take, and b) was way too busy to get my thoughts straight. Now that it’s been over a month and things are finally settling down a bit, I have decided this will be a two-part post. This is Part 1.

Last weekend a friend asked me, “How did you get a job?” Not that I’m unqualified, just that I have been out of the typical workforce for two and a half years, and that sizable resume gap seems like it would be a huge hindrance to getting back into the professional world. This is actually a question I’ve heard a lot from people leaving work to travel as well, whether the experience of travel outweighs the “seeming irresponsibility” of being out of work for so long.

Let me be living proof to you all: you can leave your career for over two years and have no problem getting a job when you’re ready for it again. In fact, it may help you land an even better job for you than you expected to find, as happened for me.

Over the summer I updated my resume, and instead of shying away from the past two years I decided to highlight them. Next to my “Work Experience” section I added a “Life Experience” section. Formatted in the same way my job listings were, it made my trip into a professionally-digestible asset.

kb_lifeexp

I got interviews at the first two jobs I applied for. Three rounds at each. The first one was an international architecture firm that wanted someone to help with their markets in South America and Japan, but they didn’t seem to care much about my experience in either. In fact they didn’t seem to notice that I’d even taken time to travel. They were focused solely on my work experience before I left, and for some reason that actually bothered me. My trip was a huge part of my life, and would help with this job opportunity, but they acted like it never happened.

This is also an important thing to highlight for anyone worried about being interviewed post-travels: you are also interviewing them. I found I was annoyed that something so important to me had been so blatantly ignored. Just because a place has decided you are worth talking to doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. Don’t just take a job because you’re relieved someone is taking a chance on you, take a job that wants all of you – professional and travel version – there.

The second job I interviewed with not only appreciated my travels, but partially hired me because of them. Also an international firm, they focus on hospitality design, and were in need of a Project Manager to help open a new mezcal bar. Now my experience working at Cafe No Se was invaluable to my being hired. The combination of my work experience before and during my time abroad combined perfectly into a role at this fantastic firm, not to mention the personality match that both sides sensed.

I am happy to say that my job search ended there. I know, some of you probably hate me for how easy that was, but when it’s right it’s right. And my new role at this incredible restaurant, bar, hotel, retail, and residential design firm is very right.

Moral of the story: taking time off to travel will never hinder anything in your life, it will only enhance everything, down to finding the perfect next career move.

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I Can Run Again

I went for run today. For the first time since Tristen popped out to say hello, I jogged along for 15 minutes with no pain.

I repeat: with. no. pain.

In my prior life, a 15-minute run would not make me feel very good. It would mean I was feeling lazy that day, or I’d had a few too many glasses of wine the night before. But in my new cancer-surgery-recovery life, a 15-minute run is a huge milestone. It’s a sign that things have improved. It’s a sign that I am inching ever closer to a return to my normal life.

As my feet moved along with beat of the music, my mind began to clear. I had forgotten how good exercise was for the spirit and the body, and just how much I had missed being active. Which is probably why, when my short run ended, I felt an overwhelming wave of sadness. Here I was, one day shy of 13 weeks after a major surgery, having just completed my first step towards the more active life that I was used to, and I was crying. What the fuck?

The only explanation I can think of is that for every happy step I take up the recovery ladder, I come face to face with a reminder of what just happened. I am only excited by this little activity because I wasn’t able to do so much for so long. And now that it’s becoming possible again, it’s like the weight of what I’ve gone through, the things that I say I am fine about, push back even stronger.

But I won’t let that discourage me. Because as I ran, proudly sporting my “JOIN THE BATTLE” Cycle for Survival shirt, I felt hopeful. I felt an elation that only physical activity can give me, I felt like I’d recovered a part of myself, and, perhaps most importantly, I felt like I’d overcome a bad stroke of luck that will in the end make me an even stronger version of me. And that is the feeling that will win in the end.