Hi, I’m Pat. Will you hire me?

It’s downright depressing.

I am 48, with a J.D. and a lot of life skills under my belt, with a recent work history with a former supervisor who is willing to praise me to the skies at a workplace where (I have been told) I am still much missed, and for all intents and purposes I am an entry level employee.

You see, I was at my last job less than three years. And it was a part time job, at that. Before that? A homemaker for twelve years.

Volunteer work? Doesn’t count — not paid. Legal work and law school? Doesn’t count, too long ago. Anything before law school? Forget it.

I can write. I can oversee projects. I can coordinate. I can problem solve and troubleshoot. I am a big-picture person. My people skills, according to an art instructor who called to see under what conditions I would return to work at PAL if she could get them to pay me, are “phenomenal.” I can get along with just about anyone — my customer service abilities are kick ass. (I’m not that good of a sales person, though.)

At my last employer, I developed a reputation for calm under fire. (Oddly enough, I often totally fail to bring this quality to my personal life.) I was the one who talked to the difficult instructors, the difficult students. And you know what? I didn’t mind doing so. People who would be routinely abusive towards other staff would back off with me.

Oh, and I can data-mine, and I know Word and a limited amount of Excel, and am taking classes in April in Power Point and Access.

I would be an asset to your organization.

Problem is, I am an entry level employee at a time when there have been mass layoffs in my area. Employers are asking for people with two to five times my level of experience — and getting them — because they can. Add to this my necessity for a flexible schedule, and I am going to have a damn hard time finding a full-time job, or even a part-time job that pays what I need it to.

I am having a difficult time figuring out even what I should be looking for. I have not seen a lot of jobs in the public/private sector that correspond to my former non-profit job. I did an online job assessment, and some of the answers came back: counselor, clergy, and librarian. In other words, occupations which would take yet more schooling, for which I don’t have the time or money. Or, in the case of “Clergy,” no calling and possibly not the temperament. The only one that seemed slightly reachable was “First Line Supervisor of Maintenance Personnel.”

So I am at a crossroads. I need a job, sooner rather than later, and it is almost certain I will end up with something less than my abilities can contribute. Hopefully I will end up with an employer who will give me an opportunity to grow the job to fit who I am.

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