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.)
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.
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.