Monday, March 30, 2015

Post Bar Depression

Ok I know I've been off the grid for a while, and I know that a lot of my friends have been worried about me....and rightfully so.

For anyone who has never taken the bar exam, or been very close with someone who has, you just have no idea.  The intensity of the experience is really incomparable to anything else in the "lay" world.  I am not one of those people that walks around thinking I'm just so special because I went to law school, but really, the Texas Bar exam is a beast on a whole other level that most people just can not relate to no matter how hard they try.  The only thing I have seen that comes close is the STEP exams medical students take during their second year to become licensed physicians.  At any rate, it's rough.  And after you make it through that hell, after the studying, after the test, after the mental break downs, you suddenly wake up and you really just have nothing to live for.  I know that sounds bleak but think about it.  For the past two months, you have eaten and slept and studied at your desk.  Your every waking minute is spent studying.  It consumes you.  It is your world.  You spend three days taking this exam and then suddenly, your schedule, your life, your purpose that has consumed you for the past two months is just over.  It's done.

So now what? 

Well right before I started to study for the bar exam, my industry just collapsed.  I was working in oil and gas, and making good money, but as you all might have noticed at the gas pumps, prices are WAY down.  When the market experiences a drop like that, my position (a landman) is the first thing to go.  So what was I to do?  Here I am, with multiple degrees, one of which from law school, with really a lot of experience in several different things and a resume that more than proves that I am ready and willing to work and work hard.  So I started applying for jobs.  All kinds of jobs.  Management jobs, non-management jobs, sales jobs, law jobs.  You name it.  Because I am not yet licensed, law jobs are off limits.  And because I have a J.D. I am way "over qualified" for any other job.

Personally, I am now very offended by the term "over qualified."  I feel like if you have a desire to work, and work hard, and you have a relevant skill set to the position, then you are qualified and that's the end of it.

Sadly, that is not the thought processes behind employers today.  I looked everywhere. I called everyone.  Still nothing.  So take the depression I was already facing after the bar exam and compound that with the impending doom of financial failure and the inability to find work despite my very best efforts.  It was more than a little disheartening.

I had a few good leads.  I interviewed all the way up through the chain of command with a car dealership for a Finance Manager position.  Things looked great.  Then I find out they decided to hire someone else.  All this back and forth just hauled me further and further into this pit of bleakness.  It got to the point where I would wake up every morning and from my bed search for new jobs, apply for any jobs I hadn't already applied for and follow up on jobs I had already applied for.  After that with no success, I went back to sleep.  I woke up at lunch and did the same thing.  Then again at dinner.  It was so bad that I didn't leave my bedroom for almost a month with the exception of the few interviews I could get.

I had no desire to be around friends or to work out or to really do anything.  I just hid from the world with the exception of my job hunting.  I wouldn't even answer my phone unless it was a number I didn't have saved.  If you weren't calling to talk to me about a job, then I didn't want to talk at all.  It finally got to a point where friends would just show up at my house and make me shower and get dressed and take me to eat, or take me to a movie, or make me meet up with them with our dogs at Starbucks and go to a park.  And I thank God for those friends.  They were not going to let me fall through the cracks, no matter how much I pushed them away.  They forced me to rejoin the world and I'm glad they did.  Thanks to them I got back out into the sunshine.

It finally got to a point where if I didn't find a job by the end of the week, I was going to have to borrow money from my parents just to move back home with them 300 miles away.  I was facing that potential reality and still praying that something would come up.  I love the fact that I can depend on my family, and that they are present for me if I need them.  Ready and willing to bring me back in and protect me.  But I have always taken pride, maybe too much pride, in the fact that I've been able to stand on my own two feet.  I've always been able to hustle and fight and scrap and make it through the tough times.  But I will be honest with you, those tough times I went through, God has always had a hand of protection over my head.

God has been teaching me a lesson, and clearly I haven't learned it because He's still teaching it to me!! haha  God has been teaching me the lesson of dependence.  Dependence on HIM.  As much as I like to take credit for my ability to hustle and find work and just "make it happen" as my sister would say, it has always been Him, coming through for me in the eleventh hour.  He makes me wait until the last second, when I think there is no hope, and then He swoops in and saves me.  As I've gotten a little older I have started to see this pattern, and tried to teach my self to rely on it.  The whole time I have been looking for work, I've been saying "I know God will take care of me. He always does".  I just have to be patient.  But still, having that knowledge doesn't necessarily mean you have that faith.  And even with this knowledge, I still fell into a deep depression as things looked more and more forlorn.

BUT...In true form, He did once again come to my rescue.  It was my last week of independence or so I thought.  I had told my mom that if I hadn't found a job by the end of the week, I would come home. We had already made the Uhaul reservation.  That Friday morning, a friend of mine suggested I call some people she had previously worked for doing non-medical home health care for the elderly.  So on a last ditch effort, I called.  I spoke with the manager, went in, filled out an application,  interviewed that afternoon and suddenly, I had a job!  They acknowledged that I was "over qualified" but they saw my willingness to work.  The owner of the company had been in the same place herself and decided to not over look me.  And I couldn't be more grateful.

At first, they didn't have a ton of hours for me.  At the beginning of the week they only had me scheduled for 14 hours, but because I was willing to work, I started picking up more and more hours. Once the first week was over, I had worked over 40 hours just by being available and picking up shifts all over the place.  And the job itself is so rewarding.  Pretty much what I do is hang out with old people all day and I do whatever they need me to do.  For some that's house keeping and laundry.  For some that's outside yard work.  For other's it's jus sitting and watching TV with them, occasionally helping with little things, but just being a presence in their life.  But I have been truly touched by all of the clients I have been privileged to work with and I can't wait to tell you some of their stories.  Because of federal regulations I can't, of course, mention their names, so they will all have an alias.

I will begin to tell you their stories one by one, because each one is unique and beautiful.  But even  after just this first week of work, these people have touched my soul.  They have brought me out of the deepest hole I have been in (to date) in my life.  Hanging out with these little old people has increased my perspective and awareness in this life, has given me new things to think about, and most of all has allowed me to truly begin developing the heart of a servant.

I know (well hope really) that I have many more years to go, and that my life will be touched by tragedy and heartache far worse than anything I have experienced so far.  But, having the privilege to care for these wonderful souls has given me a bigger picture to look at.  I am learning wonderful lessons, some of which I know I won't realize until a later time in my life when I'll need that lesson the most.  Either way I am grateful and please to be here working with these people even if it is just a temporary position.

Stay tuned....there are some wonderful stories to come!

 - Scarlett

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