A few weeks ago I went to hear legendary author Natalie Goldberg read from her newest book, Old Friends from Far Away. While waiting to get a few books signed, I fell into conversation with Theo Nestor, author of a new memoir, How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed.
Nestor just sent me a copy of her book for review and I really liked it. She writes well and best of all, she’s right here in Seattle, so I relate to the places she decribes…and the weather, too. The title is somewhat misleading. Her book really describes the process of surviving a divorce when you have young children and few marketable skills.
Nestor bravely attacks the job market, beginning with temp agencies. Her interview with Microsoft is hilarious: she talks to half a dozen different team members, all of whom ask the same dumb question: “Why do you want to be a contract worker?”
Um…because I like to eat?
Nestor’s more patient than I would have been, which is why she’s mainstream and I’m maverick.
But, I wondered, why didn’t Nestor borrow a few hundred dollars (or even a grand) and go hire some good career consulting? I’m not drumming up business for myself: I mostly work with mid-career professionals with a minimum of 5 years experience (and 10 is better).
Seattle is filled with career coaches, counselors and consultants, many of whom could help. The Internet would lead to more consultants, some specializing in helping just-divorced moms.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose a coach, consultant or counselor. Just stay away from anyone who begins with a battery of tests and emphasizes navel-gazing. Career change happens through action, not introspection.
A career coach would help you deal with those weird multi-person interview. She would tell you to have several irons in the fire, so you walk into each interview feeling strong and confident, not bogged down. Or he would give you new ideas, like taking classes in technical writing or developing contacts for business case study writing — like memoir writing, just related to money.
Nestor mentions a therapist who sounds really cool (anyone lives with 3 long-haired cats gets my attention). Just about every post-divorce and newly-bereaved person gets a therapist. Grief and angst can get in the way of finding a job. But not finding a job can get in the way of dealing with all that grief and angst too.