Yesterday, I decided to share my thoughts with whomever feels like sharing, as we go through this horrible stage of life together.

As I stated in my “welcome” post,  I’m no quitter, but I know when to say “when”. I have roughly 50+ versions of my resume. Each one laboriously crafted. Complete with buzzwords scan-able by computer run HR departments. I have .pdf versions, MSWord versions. Versions with dates. Versions without dates. Versions that are specific. Versions that are generic. Versions that are SO ambiguous –yet interesting– you’d think I  might at the very least score an interview. Nothing.

I had had a good, long run in the advertising business. Nearly 20 years at a top tier shop doing national advertising for Fortune 100 clients and then 10+ successfully running a freelance design studio. Unfortunately, my clients started to be slowly eaten up by larger companies or driven out of business, or “pulled the design in-house”, or “decided to use someone cheaper”. My bank account dwindled, my phone stopped ringing, and most of my email is junk. I can’t even apply for unemployment benefits because that’s not how it works. So, I decided to “deal with the situation” and do what had to be done to keep a roof over my head and food on the table.

Get a job. Anything. (as in ANYTHING!) So, I considered what I might be good at. What I might actually enjoy trying. What I used to do in high school. What I might be interested in… Then I had to consider “benefits”. The pay is going to be pitifully low, so there HAVE to be benefits. I do not need a discount on, say, fancy clothes, when I can’t afford to go anywhere. So, I focused on “food” since I actually have a bit of a food background anyway.

When times were good, I had the opportunity to earn a professional chef’s diploma. I found myself particularly interested, and good at, pastry and baking. I joined the Boston Culinary Guild as a pastry chef and made specialty cakes (and still do, on occasion). I went to Paris for one week to bake with a Master Chef at the Ritz Escoffier and earned a certificate in boulangerie. Most recently, I studied artisianal chocolate-making with a French Chocolatier and now make and sell chocolates –seasonally.

So, I thought I might have a chance of landing some sort of position in a food related business. I won’t name names, because I am grateful to be employed, however, I was NOT prepared at all for how difficult it would be to land a position at the bottom of the food chain in a high-end grocery store!!! I applied 8 (eight), EIGHT, times before I finally got it together and went to a job fair which finally landed me my first of 3 interviews. THREE INTERVIEWS for a job at the BOTTOM of the pack, in a grocery store, for a mature, responsible person with a food background.

Yes. I got the job. But… with 6 weeks probation that, unfortunately for me, turned into 10 weeks probation due to the fact that I am an adult with family and had some “issues” to deal with. Even with my “food” resume, the fact that I had 30 years as a working professional, I started at the bottom of the pay scale with every other employee. The bottom. Less that 1/10 of my former “hourly” rate.