Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Mid-life Resume

When I was young, toiling away at corporate jobs, I always felt my big break was just ahead. I had big ideas, creativity, talent. Someday, one of those things was gonna pay off. Someday. I guess I wasn’t clear enough in my hazy future expectations. I assumed I’d have it all together at this age, that I’d have a solid grip on money, of course would have plenty of it, and would be traveling, writing, teaching…finally carefree after a youth spent in indentured servitude. After all, I’d earned it by now, right? All the hardships I’d endured, all I’d sacrificed, all I’d given. Now it would be life on my terms, right?
But here I am edging closer to the half-century mark, realizing that the nebulous “Someday” mark most likely passed by one night as I was sleeping, and now I am saddled with the reality of “Today”. Today, I am reeling from the bad luck and financial blows dealt in 2010, and sitting on a book that so far, no one knows how to sell. And Bristol Palin just got a book deal, which means the publishing world actually is coming to an end (the Mayans had it half-right). So what do I do?
I hit the jobs section on Craig’s list.
To merely say that this is depressing would be a colossal understatement.
I have several years of college under my belt, but no degree, which means that although I’ve owned a national business, founded two non-profit organizations, and written a book, apparently the only things I’m “qualified” for are telemarketer or middle-aged dance hostess. Okay, just telemarketer.
Not that I ever enjoyed writing a resume, but doing it at mid-life is a real suckfest. Knowing your resume will be competing against all those fresh-faced, eager college grads is daunting. Sifting through the myriad of job postings makes me feel like a giant LOSER because I don’t understand what half of them are, but I do understand the requirements and clearly I don’t possess them.
Here is what I do possess.
My Mid-life Resume:

Hollye Dexter

A highly motivated self-starter with the following midlife attributes: Experience, wisdom, patience, self-assurance, kindness, truthiness, and blogging.
I’ve raised children, so I am a Team builder.
I’ve made it twenty-one years in a marriage, which makes me a Mediation Specialist.
Bachelor’s degree in psychology? Ha! I spent more time in therapy than you ever spent in school.
Degrees? I’ll tell you about degrees! I survived being trapped in a housefire- my body blistered from the heat. How’s that for degrees? So yeah, I have a Housefire Degree.
Hollye Dexter, Hd.
Surely there is a place in the world where these attributes are of value? And I mean the kind of value that pays the mortgage.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m praying, hoping, and putting my best foot forward. I doubt my solution will be found on Craig’s List, but I don’t have any other ideas at this point.
So, I ask you dear reader-friends…what do we do when our expectations fall short of reality, and Someday is Today?
Please share your stories…


  1. Ugh! I hate the idea of self-promotion! But it seems you have got it down. I would hire you in 5 seconds after reading that.
    BUT... who cares if you don't have a degree? Nobody checks, right?

    Also... don't look on craigslist. Look on Mediabistro. 2011- the bunny year is your year.

  2. LinkedIn is another good one for you Hollye! Anyone who knows you can recommend you and introduce you to their contacts. I am so on board to help on this one, you are a gold mine to the right employer!

  3. I also say stay off Craig's list and all other sites that just have you mail a resume. Networking, networking, networking. Blast this resume on FB and all other social links. Someone will know someone. Hope Edelman is looking for a driver for her kids 4 hours a day and she would love you. Not sure you could do the times but something will come through. Put your resume online on FB so we can share it. I think yours is creative and actually it might show up on a monster search and snag a creative job looking for that resume that sticks out. Yours will. Love you and sending you hugs.

  4. Hollye,
    I am in a similar situation. I am 45 and have been unemployed for 17 months (even though I am a nurse). I pursued a Bachelor's degree, but that didn't land me a job. Maybe majoring in English and Writing might be why! I am back in college working on a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration, hoping that will help me find a job in a university.

    Since you are a writer (who loves to write...), it may help to look on this website:

    It isn't just for journalists.

    There are writing jobs out there, too. One suggestion (for a part-time income) would be to write some short "feature" and "lifestyle" essays for magazines that focus on your interests. On every magazine's website, there are Writer's Guidelines. Look at some of the magazine websites (especially those that you already read) and bookmark their guidelines. An article may only pay $300.00 to $500.00, but the more you write, magazines might use you repeatedly. Many magazines will consider an unsolicited query letter for a proposed article. That way, you won't have to write the article first and hope it sells. I hope these ideas help.

    Karenne Saylor

  5. Hey Hollye,

    Loved what you wrote above. I've been working a lot for years in unpaid positions doing community activist type work. At schools, in non-profits, etc. I'm now working for a Foundation that supports our local library. I head up the Communications efforts for it. I lead the work on brochures, letters, fundraising appeals, special marketing pieces, etc. I work with a great group and could have turned my "job" into paid employment at this time. But here's my point, you could take your writing skills and start at a non-profit (maybe work for Hope on the side for a while) writing grants, and other communications. Very often, if you're good, it isn't too long before paid work is an option. I've seen this happen a lot over the years and think with all your talent, you'd be a shoe-in once you get your foot in. :>)

    Good luck Sweetie! xoxoxo Karen

  6. Hollye is one of those rare gifts to the universe and most of the people in it - I say most because some people fear perfection. Now I'm going to try and put this on my FB wall for everyone to see...Linda Anonymous Lichtman

  7. Michelle Lee Doyle ChavezFebruary 8, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    All you need to do is be seen and talked to. Once that potential employer meets you, gets to know you, and sees what you bring to the table you will be hired for what ever job you are interested in. That is the beauty of being you.
    :) Just apply.

  8. I say get yourself out there. You decide exactly what you want to do and then go after the companies one at a time. Just walk in and keep going.
    I love your life degrees!!
    As far as I am concerned life degrees are earned thru experience!! Do you know how many kids out of college have no clue of the working world, some do not even know the word classified!
    Then on the other side I have friends with various college degrees who have not worked for 15 years~they are obsolete~antique~clueless in todays working word or so they were recently told.
    You decide then go after them. You will be very surprised!
    Go get them Girl!! and as for your book. Keep sending it out~someone will get back.

  9. Wow. You guys are awesome. Truly. I so appreciate all your feedback and suggestions and will take them to heart. I've bookmarked all the sites you suggested and started exploring. Started sending out resumes today. I'll let you know how it all pans out...Stay tuned.
    And what about all of you?

    How did your midlife plans work out?
    I'm curious to hear....

  10. If you’ve been unemployed for a while, you probably know how mind-numbing unemployment can be. Instead of just waiting around for the “perfect” job opportunity, you should just take a job that will get you by. A flexible part-time job means that you have the opportunity to check out new full-time jobs as they come up, but it also means you have something to stay busy and pay the bills. Delivering pizzas, mowing lawns, or walking dogs – none of these is beneath you. As long as you’re working to put food on the table and a roof overhead, you can be proud of your accomplishments.

    Learn more:

    employment tips

  11. Don't put a resume out there that expresses any reason (or lots of reasons) NOT to hire you, as this one does. Same thing with a cover letter. You want to be sure to showcase your skills and relate them to the position you're interested in. Demonstrate - convince - the hiring manager that you can do X, Y, and Z for him or her to achieve the company's goals. Take your experience owning a national business, etc., and your attributes ("highly motivated self-starter . . . ") and give measurable statements of your abilities which are relevant to the job at hand. Everyone self-reports being a "highly motivated self-starter." The challenge is to be set apart from the crowd.

  12. Thanks everyone!
    I do hope everyone knows this above "resume" is me being funny ( or trying to). My real resume is a professional one- I had help with it.

    I really appreciate all the feedback!

  13. Wait - Bristol Palin got a book deal? I may have to go into another week of mourning (after recovering just barely from snooki).

    But in all seriousness, I love your post. And get it. Feel the same way now in my forties.

    If not now, when?

    But then I look around at what I do have and try to forget I don't have a book deal.

    Hey. At least we're not Bristol Palin, right???

    Smiles to you, Hollye. You are fabulous and truthy.

  14. Preachin' to the choir sista! ...but you should checkout Linkedin, it has been illuminating... and a much better venue for job listings ...but what's even trippy-er (that's a word right?)about Linkedin is...I found the Swede...

  15. I love this post, Hollye. At 45 (five years ago) I completed defended my PhD thesis in the hospital one week after undergoing emergency surgery for what turned out to be stage three colon cancer. Up until that point, I had a firm plan in place. After thirteen years of school (a struggle financially for my husband and I with three kids in the house) I was going to teach and continue to research my area of academic passion - the history of care of dying cancer patients in North America prior to 1950. The irony was lost on me at the time. Anyway. I would have had to move away from my family (grown daughters) to pursue that academic dream, and all of a sudden that career path lost its attraction. My husband and I moved to the city where we now live, I underwent chemo for a year, and survived. I taught a little bit (sessional teaching pays less than nothing), did a little bit of consulting for the provincial government (equivalent of state government)and just held on to the belief that if nothing else, my writing ability might land me somewhere worth while. It didn't take me long to learn that my PhD was not going to open any doors, but the fact that I could write was going to work for me. You can write, girl - hell you can write. Have you thought about applying with any "consulting" firms who do work for your state government or other public service agencies? I am now a Director of Research policy (getting the job was a total fluke) and I know that expected retirements over the next few years will mean that the policy community will be decimated by departures. I never knew that that being a public servant would be as fulfilling as it is, and it is difficult of course when the politicians who control the government are not the guys I picked. But I do believe the work I do is for the citizens of our province. And I get paid very well, which helps with the outrageous amount of debt that cancer and college created. Just a thought. Final point...when you find yourself in fear or doubt, just remind yourself that you are a strong, bright, courageous, experienced woman and your break is just around the corner.

  16. My story is on my blog (see entry called Affirmations). It's longwinded but ... you might get something out of it.

  17. Found you thanks to Laurenne and I know *exactly* how you feel! I'm supposed to be a famous author by now and yet....

    Well, I'm not.

    I had the corporate America life and left it. I'm trying. With a degree of desperation. Following my dreams into starvation.

  18. Now I'm going to try and put this on my FB wall for everyone to see...


    Fresher Jobs in Bangalore


I love hearing your point of view- thank you for taking the time to comment and be part of the conversation!