The problem with being sort of (kind of) semi-employed.

As soon as I graduated from college with a degree in nutrition, I entered right into a 10-month internship.  People wanted to know how much I was getting paid.  (Secretly, I kind of liked the shocked faces I received when people learned that I was the one doing the paying, not the other way around!)

And then I graduated from my internship.  And people immediately wanted to know if I had a job.  When (where?) was I going to move out of my parents’ house?  And what kind of job was I seeking out?  What did I want to see in my future?  Was I dating?  And, while I was at it, what is the purpose of life?

Honestly, these questions make me feel slightly uncomfortable.  Mostly because I just don’t know how to answer them.

First off.  Yes, I have a job.  But it’s not really a full-time job.  I’m getting paid for making research calls.  It goes something like this.  “Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m calling from such and such a study.  How are you?  I’m just calling to collect some dietary information from yesterday.”  And then I walk them through the process of portion sizes and various brands, all while making sure I don’t give any biased information or recommendations.

And I kind of, in a geeky sort of way, enjoy it.

But usually when I explain this to people, they want more of an answer.  Okay, so I’m working part time making research calls.

What else? 

The truth is.  I’m still looking.  And as I’m sure many of you know and understand, job hunting is a job in and of itself..

As is cooking for the family.  Filling out resumes.  Making research calls.  Studying for the RD exam.

Not to mention, I have no idea what kind of job I would like to do at this point.  I’m pretty much set on taking any sort of clinical position, although in the long term, I’d like to have some variety and spice.  A little freelance writing, maybe.  Counseling.  Teaching a few gym classes.

Cooking would be nice.

Who knows?

All I know is that this whole indecisive, awkward, not really sure kind of answer is the problem with being sort of (kind of) semi-employed.

Yes.  This is the absolute problem of being busy, swamped, and crazy, without really knowing how to explain myself.

In the meantime, I’ll keep on job hunting.  And studying.  And working like crazy.

(And no, I’m not currently dating.  I’m in no huge rush to move out before finding a good, steady job.  And while I have some idea of the purpose in life, this would take more than one post to discuss.)

So, as always, I will continue to cook.  Because this is one thing that will always make complete sense.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Vegetables as seen at

(Serves 4)

Use this flavorful combination of shrimp and vegetables to top your linguine, brown rice, whole wheat couscous or quinoa.  And make a double batch if you’re planning on leftovers!

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
    2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.
    QUESTION: What are you currently doing for a job?  Do you like it?

17 comments on “The problem with being sort of (kind of) semi-employed.

  1. It seems like those kinds of questions never end 😉 like, I’m married (for 5 years now) and people for the longest time have been asking me, when are you going to have a baby? As far as my job, I don’t have a career but I feel so blessed to have a job that I love – as an admin assistant for 2 divisions (music education and composition studies) at a huge Music college (actually, the largest in the U.S., I think). But even though I love my job, sometimes I’ll get asked what I want to do in the long run. At this point, I’m just learning to take things one day at a time, and to be thankful for each day I’m given!

    I think the answer “I don’t know” is a good one 🙂 It confuses people, hehe.

    I MUST try this recipe! Except I think I’ll try it with chicken since my husband is not a big shrimp fan. Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

    • You pretty much summed it up! Taking it one day at a time is key, I think. Thank you for the sound advice! 😀

      (p.s. Chicken would be a great substitute, as would any other kind of vegetable as well. Let me know how it turns out for you! 😀 )

  2. Caitlyn says:

    Amen! (I felt like I had to say that since I live in the south) I get the same questions and really never have an adequate response. Mom and dad prepared me for a lot of things, but not for all these questions!! LOL 🙂

    I agree with you that cooking is one constant that makes all the uncertainties more tollerable! There’s nothing as comforting as playing around in the kitchen. Keep up the cooking and good luck studying for the RD Exam. You will do WONDERFUl!

  3. Natalie S. says:

    Yes! I love this post. Though I’m still in college, I hate when people ask — “So what are you going to do after you graduate? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?” I’m still young, and I don’t know yet… “go with the flow” should be my new answer. Good luck studying for the RD exam!

  4. livvy30 says:

    I hate those questions. Sometimes I feel like turning to the person and saying very seriously, How did you manage to have the perfect life? I feel that people who ask questions are avoiding something in their own lives!

  5. Man, even when you DO have a job the searching never stops. And the business just expands. At this point I *think* I’ve identified that I really want to do something with food, healthy living/nutrition, and writing, but exactly how I want to go about that? Slash whether that’s even realistic to think I can make a career out of that? That’s all a different story. So I guess I’m lucky that I do have a full-time job while I’m trying to figure it out, ’cause goodness knows it’ll take $$$ to get there but hey, we’re still young. We have plenty of time, right? 🙂

  6. I work for the ABS department at a mortgage company. It’s not the job I want, but I have a business degree and it pays really well. It works for me.

    Good luck on the next step!

  7. Nicole says:

    Not in love with my job, but it’s cool for now… Hey, it’s giving me the oppertunity to go on a business trip, so that’s fun! 🙂

  8. sofia says:

    Totally hear your thoughts! Just moved on from that place, finally – got my Master’s in Social Work, had finished up an internship and was just… job searching. It’s a tough place to be with a lot of uncertainty and too many people to answer to and appease. Just finally got a job a few weeks back and am on my second week, and it feels damn good to have an answer. Keep your chin up and remind yourself that you know you’re working toward where you want to be. Good lucK!

  9. carlydeal says:

    Job searching IS a job in itself. And a tough one at that.

    I work in a residential house with youth, and work 48 hour shifts at a time. People give me disapproving looks and say things like “well you can’t like that”, or “that must be too hard for you” all the time. I hate talking about my job with people like that since they will never understand so I just say “It’s a good thing it’s not your job then!” and carry on. People get way too worked up about others peoples business!

  10. Devon says:

    Ahhhh. I can totally relate, and the questions never stop!

    I’ve been working full time for the past 2 years as a reporter/producer, and people continue to ask me what my goals are. I usually say, “To make it to the end of the pay period.”

    My advice: just go with the flow, take it one day at a time, and enjoy life. When the time is right you’ll find the perfect job.

  11. People want to know all about your major life events because after the graduation, the career finding, the wedding, and the babies there’s not many life-changing things that happen…and I guess that means there’s not much to talk about.
    Applying for jobs is more stressful than having a job itself in my opinion. There are so many things to consider and it takes SO long to perfectly craft a single resume and cover letter for each of the million and a half jobs that you are applying for. If you’re in no rush, then take your time with it and don’t overwhelm yourself. And if you can don’t just take the first job that you’re offered if your gut instinct says not to because there could be a better fit for you somewhere else. And ALWAYS negotiate a salary…it doesn’t hurt to ask for more than they’re willing to offer.

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