The Job Search: Bruised Ego and Alternative Career Options

My current job as an Organizer is a limited term duration position. I have been creative in my job application approach – applying for state and local government positions and several non-profit organization positions.  For example, in December, one week after having my baby, I submitted a legal fellowship application. I submitted two fellowship applications in January and several Executive Director positions with local non-profits.  Further, I will be applying for grants and attend training on leadership development and building.

In addition, as it is legislative session in Oregon, I have been attending various lobby day gatherings and meeting with my senator and representative on the importance on issues important to me. This includes domestic violence, the Pacific Islander community, affordable housing, ethnic studies, and racial profiling laws.

Unfortunately, I have only received rejection notices. Of the rejection notices, the last one hurt the most. It was a position I felt confident that I would at least be offered an interview. I made it through the first stage and was required to write a memo. It hurt when I received the notice as the duties of the position entailed work I did for a year when I was a law student.

I am aware of the reality that my career path is not the same as others. Some choose to pursue big law after passing the bar. Others start their own practice or join a smaller practice. Others may be like me, contemplating an alternative career path. I enjoyed the work I do for non-profits, so I am looking for positions as an Executive Director. I am also deciding whether to re-study for the GRE and apply for graduate school: either the PhD, or as I once considered, the Physician Assistant program.

My children are young and I know I need a flexible work-life balance for family emergencies, illnesses, and other school-related activities especially as they get older. I will not have that life in big law, which I already knew about, and have no plans to pursue.  The non-profit world is changing. As beautiful and ideal as the opportunity avails itself in non-profit organizations, I will also have to continue seeking opportunities in case the organization fails. State and local government agencies could work, if the pay is reasonable, and could cover the cost of childcare expenses for the two youngest. The fellowships I have yet to hear from could open opportunities for me in the legal-health realm. Provided I pass the bar, I could start up my non-profit law firm, though the costs with start-up and the likelihood of failure in the first year is real. If I elect to return to school (PhD or PA, for instance), my student loans will increase further.

It is hard to balance life as a working parent and being a parent. One of my goals is to ensure my children feel love and not neglected. Of the above-mentioned options, which would ensure I am successful? I am sure this is a question all working parents ask themselves: am I spending enough time at home?  Time will tell . . . 



Jacqueline, your posts continue to be honest and mature. I appreciate your reflection on the love you have for your children (previous post) and search to find meaningful employment (this post). I have no doubt you’ll get a “yes” soon! Good luck and keep writing, PLEASE!

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