I don't have a career counselor (and there aren't any in these parts) or anyone to turn to for this, so I'm seeking help on the green.
Re-acclimating to life at home, career path indecision / lack of direction, lack of opportunities and illness and death in the family have left their mark on my recent professional and life history, and I want to be able to summarize it all to a prospective employer / networking contact without sounding like an indecisive drama queen. Plenty of snow here, if you haven't gotten enough this winter.
It's just the last 3-4 years of my life have been quite a mess and I don't see how I can explain it all to someone only half-interested and judging me with every word I say.
So we're heading back to 2010, the year I returned back to the US. The 6th paragraph of this askme
explains what I was doing before then, but seeing as that was so many years ago, that probably doesn't matter much anymore. I flew back home in July, and it took me the rest of the year to even begin feeling comfortable driving again. On top of that, I moved back in with my parents, which was a major life adjustment in itself. So the last half of 2010 really ended up being a non-productive, life-readjustment year.
Can't say 2011 was much better. Of course, I had heard about the recession before I came back, but as naïve as I was, I thought I would have a decent shot at finding some work. Ha. A contact of mine was teaching Chinese at my high school alma mater, and she asked me to take care of her classes while she was on maternity leave. So I substituted for her for several months and ended up substituting for the Chinese department as needed.
So I continued looking for something that seemed both my alley and full-time, but there wasn't anything to be found. In 2012 I was chatting with a friend back in China about starting an international business together, and that summer I took a trip back to discuss this with her. The day after I returned my mom was put in the hospital, so naturally with the shock of her having such a serious illness (my family is rather healthy) and since she is after all my mom, I put everything on hold. Fortunately I was able to find work doing interpretation and language tutoring that year, but one was only as needed contract work and the other was just a weekly side job. I also kept up with the substitute teaching, but of course that was also as needed.
Part of the reason that I've had such career indecision is that I've been struggling with the question of family vs career... I even asked about it here
. At the time and even now, my work interests lie in places other than here, and I've really struggled between being close to my family and being professionally successful.
My mom passed last year, and it was really hard. In the time that I was helping care for her, those business ideas with my overseas friend fizzled out. I've spent the past year cleaning out the house of her belongings, helping my father with the estate, and generally growing accustomed to not having a mother anymore. I have kept up with the interpretation work and the tutoring work, but as for substituting, the school is across the street from the hospital and I haven't felt ready to head back there. Along with my mom's stuff, I've been cleaning out my things as well, as I've kept nearly everything since we moved into this house when I was 4.
How can I explain my lack of career, lack of full-time work (or even stable work), and everything that has been happening in my life in a short 2-minute response to "Tell me about yourself"?