As some of you already know, I have been out of work since October, due to a lay off. I was starting to burn out after 12 years of working with mentally and physically challenged adults and children, and although I truly do love the the work that I've done, and the people that I've supported over the years, the lay off couldn't have come at a better time. I would never have taken this time for myself, had I not been forced to.
Right away I started applying for jobs in my field though, because it's all that I know. I even had people from agencies I had never heard of call me and offer me positions with them. I was never worried about finding another job, I have always been confident in my skills and my knowledge. Then one day, as I was sitting in an interview, I realized that I didn't think I could do it anymore. I was done. I've had a rough year in my personal life, and then putting a high stress job on top of it just drained me. I am a firm believer of "you have to help yourself, before you can help anyone else", and for once, took my own advice.
With the support of my husband, I went on EI, and took some time to figure out what it was that I wanted to do. Other than a medical leave a few years ago, I have never been out of work. It was an adjustment, for sure. For years, I have been trying to get my Abigail Road (http://abigailroad.etsy.com) business off the ground, and I have some ideas for expanding it and making it something more. I just never had the time or the energy, due to full time shift work. I also am loving selling Epicure Selections (http://annasmandych.myepicure.com/) and I would like to put more into this business and make it my own. My husband has also offered to hire me as an assistant in the next few months, to help him around his home office. I thought I needed some skill upgrading to pull these ventures off though, and had hoped that I would be eligible to take a Small Business Course, or Self-Employment course through EI, or some other courses such as accounting or bookkeeping. All of these would benefit myself and my husband in our long-term goals. However, at every meeting with my EI caseworker, I was hitting a wall. She didn't understand what I wanted, and she didn't understand who I was. It's very frustrating, seeing as all of these courses are free to people who are on EI, having someone road block you at every turn. It's starting to look like I will not be able to take these courses without paying for them, so I've had to switch gears.
I'm jumping right in. Unskilled or not, I can't waste anymore time hoping some close-minded government employee will give me the green light to do what I want in life. I'm going to find the courses to take, and pay for them. Most are available at the Community School here in town. I'm working with my husband to get Epicure and Abigail Road advertising designed and printed and out to the public in various forms. I've been given the master bedroom and am working at turning it into a home office/studio for myself.
My husband and I have a goal of being as independent and self-sustaining as possible in our life.This is all part of the plan, it just came about in a different way than I had previously envisioned. Being able to work from home, make our own hours, not having to commute to the city, being able to share a vehicle, and help each other in our respective business ventures everyday...it's what will work for us in the long run.
So, wish me luck! It's going to be a busy, terrifying and exciting year, and I can't wait to get started!