This was my smile after soaking up the sea and sun in Maui for two weeks. It was our first real vacation in years (thanks to my parents). We loved Hawaii so much. Then we had to go back home to the reality of Spokane and the stressful situation of our real life. My entire body cried, “Put me Back!”? It was like being ripped from a dream.
Its been 23 days since returning from Hawaii,? and reality is not looking good.
While my appearance may look like everything is fine – the truth is I am really struggling. Its been exactly seven years since I was laid off from my communications job at Sterling Bank, just before TigerLily turned one. I was 38 years old, with a professional work history of nearly 20 years, awesome credit score, growing retirement fund, a home owner, married, mother… and suddenly unemployed. Now seven years later, I haven’t found my new “place,” or “success.”? I went back to school and got a graphic design degree in 2014, but despite repeated applications, I still haven’t found full-time employment in that field. When I couldn’t land a good design job, I started my own business (Blue Tiger Studio) and got whatever independent contract work I could find.
I thought working from home would be nice, getting to spend more time with my family and all. But it has turned into a steady stream of loneliness without a steady income. There are so many un-billable hours! So much time trying to land the next client, learning how to solve complicated website problems, trying to hire people to help and then cant afford them, running the business costs money and time spreading me out too thin to do my best at anything. Yes I am married, and Charlie works hard as a massage therapist, but he can only pay for half of our expenses each month. While he’s at work, I’ve had the majority of child care responsibility with no family in town to help. When she was too young for school, I paid for daycare, but now that I’ve used up all my savings and credit, I can’t even afford after-school care. This cuts into my work time, while at the same time my working from home cuts into the quality of time spent with TigerLily, and I’m not getting enough time to take good care of my home either. Everything is getting more and more expensive but our income has decreased. Also my contract work doesn’t include any benefits. Yes, that’s seven years without going to the doctor even for a check-up. The worst part is this prevented us from being able to have another child. We are the working poor who have to pay for everything in full while our hard earned tax money goes to support everyone else.
As some of you saw, I was getting some interest in my clothing designs a couple of years ago, and I started a clothing business to see if that direction might work for me. (Actually started two of them) but long story made short, I partnered with the wrong tribe, then when that didn’t work, I didn’t have enough money left or free time to make it on my own, and lost everything. It was devastating! I still hold onto some hope that Nayeli Clothing will come together, but just can’t make it work right now, because all my time needs to go toward making money, not sewing, developing new products or services, re-writing my business plan, or applying for loans or grants.
Everyone told me to give it up and just get a job. But that didn’t really work either. Finally after a year of being turned down for tons of job applications, while barely squeeking by with contract website work, I got hired to teach art classes part time at Painting with a Twist, sounds great right? But it turned out to have a very stressful management situation (no wonder three people quit in four months) and ends up taking a lot of my time without much pay. I still have to work for clients from home during the day to make ends meet, but now am working days and nights and weekends, and still dont make enough money! It is so frustrating! I am running out of life force and feel totally undervalued.
Tonight I have to get up on stage and smile and pretend everything is OK again. But its not. If any of you know of an opportunity where I can get a steady paycheck for the skills and experience I have – please refer me. I am tired of people not wanting to hire me because I am an entrepreneur. At least I found a way to support myself for the last seven years! At this point my entrepreneurial dreams have all turned into nightmares and I just need a good job. Look at me as someone who has learned a lot from this experience and can bring that to any company. Are there any good employers out there who could see my potential?