Activities to Avoid When Feeling Depressed

1) Resume Writing — OH MY GOD. This is what I was attempting when I threw in the towel and decided to blog.

I met a lovely woman at a function this past Friday. We struck up an easy conversation, and a mutual friend wandered over and said, “Viv, tell Caroline about your editing business!” (the one I don’t really have, but for some reason people in my life see me as more successful than I am at everything. This could be a good thing, but right now it’s just not…) Me:  “Well, I do a bit of freelance editing for a friend…mostly creative stuff, ideas, character development, plot adjustments…seriously, it’s not anything. It’s so minuscule it’s not even worth mentioning…tell me about you…” So this lovely person proceeds. She went into entirely too much detail about her novel, which, after hearing about it for nearly an hour, actually sparked my interest. I agreed to have a look.

She went on to say that she overheard that I was looking for a job and that she might have a part/full-time something in her department at the local university. Then she uttered those dreaded words, “Here’s my card. Shoot me your resume and we’ll talk.”

Well, shit. The job sounds exactly like what I’m looking for in terms of hours, and I fully believe I’d be good at it, but A) I don’t have an updated resume, and B) GAPS, GAPS, and more GAPS. Ugh. I haven’t had a full-time job since 2005, though I’ve done plenty of work. I just don’t know how to make it look like I’m anything but a big flipping flake. I’m not, but my work experience over the past ten years has been varied and the fact that I obviously made enough of an impression on this person for her to ask for a resume feels irrelevant now.

So I’m crying into my wine and internally screaming “FAILURE…!!!!!!!”

2) Looking at one’s ass in the mirror while climbing into the bathtub — just don’t. There’s really no need for an explanation here. JUST. DON’T.

3) Talking to friends who are WAY more occupationally successful — I’m thrilled that my friend had a good conference in DC. I’m truly happy for her. I want good things for my friends, but this particular friend furthered her education while i was cleaning up family shit and feeling like a Master’s or Ph.D were not options. I’m regretting my decisions now, and frankly don’t feel like I have another degree in me at this stage. We chatted on the phone earlier today, and finally she asked if everything was okay because I seemed quiet. Oh no. I’m fine. Just feeling like the biggest failure on the planet and realizing that I botched up my career years ago. But really, I’m great. Tell me more about your conference.

For what it’s worth, I’m not really depressed. I’m simply down and feeling discouraged. Gil and I are struggling. I haven’t been blogging because I need sleep. Marriage is sucking the life out of me. Parenting is also hard these days. Wallace is going through a moody phase, and we’re having a gamut of tests run on Piers — ruling out medical/physiological problems before we move on to psychological/behavioral ones. I’m tired, y’all. I need something to be easy, and right now nothing is. Naturally I feel whiney and not worthy of complaining. Things could be SO much worse, and I’m a big believer in recognizing what’s going well and focusing on gratitude. That’s just been harder than usual of late.

Updating my resume was just the straw that broke the camel’s back (and yes, I’m resorting to overused cliches).

Do any of you have experience with this? Making one’s resume look good after large, unemployed gaps?

I had to take a break with the resume tonight. I was getting so down on myself. I’m good. I’m smart. I’m hardworking. And I’m not just saying that. I’ve run a small business. I’ve sold building materials. I was a nutritional consultant. I was an international flight attendant. I have multiple degrees. I’ve tutored young kids and helped them learn to talk and read. I teach toddlers, youth and adults regularly at my church; I coordinate childcare and hire employees. I volunteer at our local food bank and soup kitchen. I’ve done payroll, customer service, collections. I’ve been hired to write resumes, for goodness sakes, what is with me??!! I also edit. I just haven’t had to sell myself in a very long time. I have to do that now, and I need to actually believe in myself first.  Okay, enough griping. Tomorrow is a new day. I need some sleep. Thanks for listening, friends!

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24 thoughts on “Activities to Avoid When Feeling Depressed

  1. I know what you mean about not blogging because you need sleep…ditto.

    I’ve worked for the same company since I graduated pharmacy school 14 years ago. I’m not even sure where to find my resume.

    It looks to me, however, that you’ve done a fantastic job of selling yourself in your last paragraph. Remember that you already have an advantage – you are preparing a resume to accompany your interview, not to obtain an interview. She has already met you, and she wants to talk to you. Use the interview to fill in all the gaps, as you did at the end of this post.

    Congratulations and good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Shelley! You are SO right. Just re-reading that paragraph was a good reminder than I’m not totally devoid of self-esteem. I’ll get back on the horse. Hope all is well with you. I need to go catch up with you and John!

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  2. These comments are hard acts to follow! Lots of great advice here, including your own! 😉 I loved your post (as usual) and all I can say is that you’re amazing and would be an asset ANYWHERE!

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    • You’re such a doll — truly, one of my most kind-hearted people I’ve ever “met.” Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for being such a positive light. I look forward to getting back into the blogging world. I’ve missed it! I have a lot of catch-up reading to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could say the same thing of you, my virtual friend! I’m just glad you didn’t see me in person during my Valentine’s Day & the Day After fiasco! 😉 XO p.s. super-glad you’re back!

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  3. I agree with the suggestions above, but I would just add that any volunteer experience you may have can also be used to shore up those gaps. Just because you don’t get paid for something, that doesn’t mean that the experience is any less valid.

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    • Very good point. Thank you! It’s true, and I’ve had the benefit of working with several organizations voluntarily. I’ve definitely bumped up my skill set and experience. I don’t know why we tend to think — oh, I was just volunteering. Thanks again for the reminder. I needed it!

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  4. You can send your resume to me and I’ll be happy to look at it and give you some feedback. Gaps aren’t what they used to be in the work world. Freelance is a good term as is stay at home mom or simply “between jobs” or “looking for my next career opportunity”. People understand that gaps happen, especially in the creative fields.

    I love the idea of writing it as if you’re writing it for someone else – I’m going to use that one!

    I SO get the jealous/envy feelings about your friends and then feeling like shit because you’re human and feeling that way so you turn it back on yourself and call yourself a failure…I mean that’s ME!!! I took a job that moved my family out of state and that I hated for an entire year. THEN the company laid me off and set my career back at least 10 years. I’m watching my former coworkers excel in the role that I once held and I wonder why I’m where I am and “oh my GOD I’ve ruined my career”.

    Then I stop and really examine where I am. My kids are happier than they’ve ever been. My husband has been able to retire. And I’m doing a job that, while not as glamorous or financially stable as my old job, makes me happy and sends me to work most days with a smile. That makes me begrudgingly put my ego aside and enjoy what I have.

    I don’t know what your situation is specifically but to me you’re an extremely accomplished, highly successful writer who also happens to be a great mom and a wonderful blogger friend. Just sayin’.

    Sherry

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    • Thank you so much for saying exactly what I needed to hear. You hit on a lot of what I’m feeling, especially regarding former coworkers who are excelling in roles you once held. I’ve never had a truly linear career path, but I’ve always had good jobs — often jobs that required more education than I had at the time. I left my last stable, well-paying job to return to school to pursue avenues that were more fitting for my skills and interests, and while I still believe it was the right move, seeing my former co-workers can be a bit much for the old ego. I ended up getting pregnant as I was finishing my degrees; we moved across the state, etc. etc. etc. and what was supposed to be a short break from a steady, secure, well-paying job turned into 10 years. The job I’m looking at now is a grant-funded part-time gig that sounds interesting. It would also allow me to continue freelancing, writing, and have time with my kids. I would be out and about and interviewing educators — principles, teachers, administrators and reporting my results to various team members. Most of the work could be done while my kids are at school, which is a plus and if I had to work later, the extra money would allow me to put them in the after-school arts program that I think they would love. It’s not exactly in my field of choice, but it’s definitely an interest and I think I’d be really good at it. But…it’s not a creative field, so I’m afraid the gaps and multiple fields might not look appealing here. Although, before the woman even told me to send her a resume, she knew most of my history — she basically said, we need a good communicator who can write well and is comfortable talking and interacting with educators. Check. I’m your girl.

      Even if this job doesn’t work out, and I have to prepare myself that it might not, that doesn’t mean I’m a loser, just that maybe this isn’t the best fit right now. Either way, I think I’m at a point where I need to do something other than freelancing/working from home/odd jobs. I think I need more of a structured schedule even though it will be hard at first. My occupational self-esteem is kind of in the toilet lately, and I need a reminder that I am good at something other than housework and child-wrangling — not that those aren’t worthy, admirable skills, but right now I need something different and I’m at least ready to start exploring my options. I was feeling so good about everything until I started piecing together my resume. I still haven’t gone back to it. I’m almost afraid to do so because of how crappy I started feeling about myself…

      Thank you for offering to look at my resume. I might take you up on it when I feel I can handle the constructive criticism. I’m just not there yet. I’ll let you know. Wow. long reply. Thank you. I think I worked out some of what I needed by writing this comment.

      You rock, Sherry!

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    • Thanks, honey. I know, man. Is there something in the water? I’ve had too many of these kinds of conversations lately with brilliant, kind, passionate, hard-working women. We’re too hard on ourselves and never feel like what we’re doing is enough. Thanks for the support. Stop beating up on Charlotte. She’s pretty awesome in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The above suggestions are great. Seriously, I have huge gaps in my resume also and the remedy is to put Freelancing. You can always find friends to back up your story. Updating one’s resume is equivalent to pap smears, mammograms, and dental X-rays–unpleasant, but hopefully done only once a year (or less).

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    • There you are again — teasing me. I need some keep-it-real writing from you. I’ve missed your posts! That’s true about the freelancing — and it’s not a lie. I guess when I start writing it, I start questioning myself — like, I really should have been doing more freelancing or does this look like enough? Those are the thoughts that hijack my brain, and I become plagued with self-doubt. Thanks for the encouragement. Hope you’re doing well.

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    • It’s funny, because just reading about all you’ve done made me exclaim, “Holy crap!” aloud. You have absolutely nothing to feel inept about–quite the contrary. I, on the other hand, only seem to be able to write about penises–yes, my latest in a long line of penis blog posts. Try incorporating that in to a resume. groan

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Re: the resume. Stop thinking of the resume as your own, but rather a client who hired you to work on their resume. It’s always easier to write great stuff about other people. If you have to, change the name at the top of the page, write the resume, and then change the name back.

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  7. You can do it!! The resume/selling yourself process truly is no fun, but it sounds like that lady is really interested in having your on board and she seems like the understanding type. We all have weird things that happen in life. Besides, your resume is just the tiniest reflection of all that you have accomplished. To me it seems like you have accomplished a lot of amazing thing! Don’t stress too much! You can do this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. You’re absolutely right. Something about confining myself and my accomplishments to a single sheet of paper feels beyond overwhelming. I have to talk myself up and minimize my shortcomings. I really just have to get something on paper and send it to her in this case. Procrastination will certainly not help my chances. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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