“I’m Looking For a Job: Can You Please Help?”

Looking for a job in the U.S., after being a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, has forced me to re-program my brain, which is why I’m asking for your help. (Photo of my first networking event the day after I landed in the U.S.)

My last job as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho with my 7th grade debate team.

The minute I stepped off the plane at LAX, I realized I’d have to put on my Usain Bolt legs to keep up with the pace of my fellow passengers. Why does everyone sprint? In my rural village in Lesotho, I was known as the fast walker, but now my legs appeared to be letting me down. (No jokes about an aging body please.)

The competitive spirit hit me as I accelerated to fit the fast pace of the western world and aimed for the immigration officer before everyone else. Why am I striving to beat everyone to this imaginary finish line? There is no medal for first place.

My second shock occurred when I set up my laptop enjoying the luxury of never-ending Wi-Fi. I no longer had to buy vouchers from Vodacom for data. With e-mails cramming my inbox, I’d forgotten the turn-around speed of e-mails in my new environment. In Lesotho, I would get an e-mail, ponder over it for a few days, and reply when I felt like it. Back in California, if I don’t reply within 5 minutes of receiving an e-mail, I may be losing an opportunity.

The third culture shock I had to face, was the skill of talking fast, and having a 30-second elevator pitch ready. It seems that marketing yourself is a MUST in the society we live in today where we are constantly trying to either sell our skills or make ourselves seem brilliant and indispensable.

We need to hook our potential employer, even our potential online dates, with a PITCH. Basically, everything is about marketing ourselves; what has this world come to? No wonder we are so obsessed with ourselves! Even dating has become a 30-second elevator pitch.

I’m by no means a slow, lazy, person. In fact, I’m quite surprised at the things I’ve accomplished in the two weeks I’ve been back. I’ve:

  • Bought a car
  • Got insurance, both health and car
  • Attended the Publishers, Writers San Diego meeting on how to create book buzz.
  • Attended a business networking meeting where elevator pitches were flowing like the wine, and business cards exchanged from hand to hand
  • Attended my niece’s wedding
  • Joined Match.com, and attended a singles happy hour with one of my friends, plus a few dates
  • Met my ex-boss for lunch and was offered a valuable contact for a job opportunity
  • Got offered a job at a French cafe in Newport Beach
  • Got offered work a few nights and weekends a month with an event planner at the Newport Beach Library with their author events
  • Meeting friends who are offering suggestions on resume writing, business coaches, and contacts
  • Getting my rental room organized
  • Loving Amazon prime, I won’t tell you how exciting it is to order something and receive it promptly

So writing a resume is not only difficult, but adapting it to various positions, especially when your interests and skills are all over the place. Why couldn’t I just be a dentist, or an accountant? It would be so much easier to pin-down specific jobs, rather than looking at what I have to offer, and saying:

“Help! What mold do I fit in?”  

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. What mold do I fit in? Please help me define a job, and if you know a person who might need my skills, I’d love to have a contact name.

My skills and experience

  • Networking and connecting with people
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Tri-lingual (French, English and Danish)
  • Recruitment and mentoring
  • Ability to clearly convey information, including to multi-cultural audiences
  • Project management
  • Research and report writing
  • Interviewing
  • Social media and blogging
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Marketing and promoting
  • Professional, adaptable and flexible
  • Ability to overcome challenges
  • Fundraising and project management working on a sustainable school renovation project in Lesotho, Africa

If you would like my resume, please e-mail me at: Sonia@soniamarsh.com

As they say, the Peace Corps requires you to be flexible, adaptable, and to overcome challenges. They also require patience, and I have to say coming back to the fast pace of Orange County, California, leaves little time for patience.

Comments (12)

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  1. Suellen Zima says:

    I thought your experience in the Peace Corps gave you a direct path to stateside jobs with the Peace Corps. Would you prefer to steer away from stateside Peace Corps-related jobs?

  2. Sonia, After I left AmeriCorps, I realized my age was working against me in the job market. AmeriCorps had somewhat turned me off to the whole nonprofit scene so I decided to hell with it, start my own writing group, self publish my memoirs, and help others bring their manuscripts to fruition through my editing skills. I started teaching memoir and fiction at local libraries and writing conferences … none of it pays much, but that’s not why I do it. In the end, I felt so fortunate to have a pension and investments and a savvy financial planner. I live comfortably and don’t have to work, and can pursue my passion which is writing. If you are in this position, go for it. If you need money, sad to say it is going to be tough for someone of your qualifications to find work against the deluge of young people, particularly in Southern California. As for Match.com, it’s a crapshoot, at best. I know. Been doing it for years. The women I have met who “found true love” on Match, admit on closer examination and candid conversations that they settled in most cases for “a nice, normal guy” and weren’t interested in more. My response, if all you want is a companion, get a dog. Your experiences may be different than mine, but I say, you’re an excellent writer. Keeping writing, keep publishing your stories, take the parttime jobs at the library or the cafe, relax and enjoy life.
    Susan Weidener recently posted..Dreamland: A Modern Tale of Pain and AddictionMy Profile

    • Sonia Marsh says:

      Susan, I love your “to-the-point” analysis, and the idea of getting a dog, however, I’m just back, and feel excited about my new life here. I’ve always been an optimist, and like to make things happen. I was deprived of entertainment, restaurants, family, friends, workshops, etc. in Lesotho, so right now I’m enjoying life, and we shall see what happens. I do love writing, and making presentations to motivate others, but I also love travel and working with a team, being able to use my language and connecting skills etc.

  3. Hello Sonia,
    I’m glad you are home safely from your adventures.
    I really think you would be great in a Human Relations position at a large corporation. You’ld be good at evaluating people and placing them where they would do well.

  4. Best of luck to you, Sonia. I’m sure you’ll find a job that intrigues you very soon. You have a great set of job skills, an outgoing personality and a winning smile. A fabulous combination in my book 🙂

  5. Barbara says:

    You are the most energetic and positive person I think I’ve ever known. I feel confident the perfect job will show itself soon, or whenever it’s meant to be. Stay positive!!
    Barbara recently posted..Secret GardensMy Profile

  6. Veronica says:

    Instead of looking for the mold to fit into (not even possible!), how about creating your own work? The prevalent thinking of career counseling and coaching is that you approach this differently. It’s not about fitting into someone else’s mold, it’s about figuring out what you want to do and then finding a place to do it (which may be your own home office!).

    First, you aren’t looking for a job as defined by someone else. You are looking for someone who wants to spend money for you to do something that you are good at doing, that hopefully you enjoy doing, that you will do for them at the right price. It is an attitude adjustment.

    I can recommend reading if you are interested.

    The approach that is most successful is a continuation of what you started, networking. But it isn’t about asking people where they think you can fit into a job mold, or what job molds do they know are vacant.

    Once you figure out what you are “selling,”–your skills, values, interests, priorities, etc.–then you can look for people already doing work you admire, work you would like to do, work that you MAY be qualified for. (Work always looks easier to outsiders.)

    Ask people you meet for help getting personal introductions to those special people you identified. Personal introductions make all the difference. Then, you arrange a meeting or talk with your special person(s) to ask them questions about their work which you admire so much. You are NOT looking for a job with them, but rather you are looking to find out more about what they do, requirements for the work, and more. From that meeting you connect yourself with the special person(s) and … if there is work out there, they will hear about it and be able to recommend you. That’s the overview.

    For more detail, see http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/ (The only connection I have with Nick is his site and information that I have recommended to my clients for a long time.)

    The site is robust and worthwhile. Nick’s info will change your approach and help you find work that is about who you are, not who some employer is. Start with the basics here: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/basics.htm

    All best!

  7. Entrepreneur!!! You sound like you have all the bases covered!
    Eileen Hopkins recently posted..Four Days in My LifeMy Profile

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