• Kathleen Lees

Tracking Time and Invisible Progress


The last few months have been a bit of a journey for me. Overall, it's been a wonderful year. I got married, I had some successful freelance pieces, and I traveled quite a bit (especially compared to just roaming around a park like people did during most of the pandemic.) However, I really wanted to turn my freelance position into a full-time job. It's been about 10 years since I worked in a full-time writing position (that wasn't purely technical). (Though I have always held long-term jobs in writing or editing in some capacity, and my journalism background is still very fresh. On top of that, I teach English as a part-time job.)


In any case, having come back to really look for work in this field full-time (and in an area where this is much less to offer when it comes to media than New York City--St. Louis, Mo.), I had no idea how draining looking for a job in a particular area can get (especially if you're sort of starting your career over or new in the field, which is kind of my case, and when you're not fresh out of school.) So, I wanted to share a post on this--particularly for those who are interested in starting a career in their 30s or possibly going back to school.


My Current Job

I may have mentioned this in another post, but I now teach level 1 at Clayton. I work with students who have little to no English. Some have never even written in their own language. (I find that this may happen for women coming from Afghanistan, but not always.)


I actually really enjoy teaching this level because there is an extra layer of excitement and seriousness with students learning in level 1. Students show up every day of class no matter the weather, and they really want to learn. (The higher class did as well, but they already had a solid foundation in English.)


However, there is a lot of reviewing in level 1, and even then, some students may not remember what we did the other day. Some students do, and some, unfortunately, just don't. It might take another year in this same level for them to understand the verb "to be," etc.


I met with my boss the other day regarding this, and she said something, (which I am paraphrasing because I don't remember all of the words exactly), but it really spoke to me. She said "you struck the match even if someone else lights the fire." And that even if some of the students didn't appear to quite grasp some of the things we were working on, that they would later.


All Things Count

The last--I don't know--three months, I have been endlessly pitching and applying to jobs. I even recently had an interview for a position that I thought I might get. However, the position was put on pause until the new year.


I put a picture of the "Doomscrolling Reminder Bot" Frog because I passed it quite a few times on Twitter--just endlessly looking for ideas, job postings, etc. And I realized that I did this so much--scanning other sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.,--that I even abandoned some hobbies that I had enjoyed, like not reading as much or playing the piano.


What I've learned from this experience is that applying to a job in itself, even if you don't get it, should be looked at as an accomplishment. First off, it gets so much easier to prepare each time. And secondly, after each interview, it's easier to narrow your job search. Lastly, I noticed especially for myself that not only writing down the things that I needed to do really helped me (as well as crossing them off), but also writing down the things I actually did; this might include writing down that I did go in for the interview and took the writing test and that I received positive feedback, etc.


On a highly personal note, I think everyone should follow the "Doomscrolling Reminder Bot" Frog. If you keep passing it on Twitter, it's probably time to get offline. In addition, it sometimes ask you if you're slouching. (Ugh, I always have the worst posture when I'm sitting at my desk. That's also another sign it might be time to get off or at least stand up straight for a while.)



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