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 EatingWell.com

(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?
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Career Choices: From There to Here

Well.  It sure has been a process.  A journey.

Yes.  That’s just it.  A journey.  From there to here, I mean.

I remember being a freshman, spending my first night in a strange dorm room at Gordon College.  This was the night after having been in the Adirondack mountains for 12 days.  I was exhausted.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.  Maybe even spiritually.

And yet, I was ready.  For what?  Not a clue.  New friends, maybe.  New places to see, new ideas to learn and to explore.

And yet, somehow, I never felt quite right.  I didn’t like the career choices that advisers were helping me make.  Actually.  I take that back.  I didn’t like the career choices that *I* was making!

I remember calling my dad and asking him what he thought.  I remember searching through nutrition classes and feeling overwhelmed with excitement, just by the class descriptions.  But I was scared.  Of chemistry.  And biology.  But mostly, I was scared of failing.

But then, it happened.

It = phone call to dad.  The phone call.

The one that sent me on a spiral of new opportunities and new experiences.  Looking back, it now just feels like a blur.  Dad told me to not be afraid of failing, saying that I could always return to Gordon if I felt the need.  He told me I could do it.  He believed in me.

And then.  I graduated.  With a degree in nutrition, at an entirely new school, with an entirely new set of friends.  It was overwhelming.  Absolutely overwhelming.  I almost cried.  Maybe I did.

After graduation, my sister took me out for a girls-only, dream getaway to Boston.

I remember feeling so girly.  So happy.  So giddy with excitement and fun.  So in love with the city, with the day, and with life itself.  And crab cakes (!!!) at the Top of the Hub!

And then, along came the next step for becoming a dietitian.

This was after those five semesters of chemistry.  After anatomy and energy metabolism and medical nutrition therapy.  After one too many sleepless nights, and major exams and research articles that would send anyone’s head swimming.

After all that.  The next step: dietetic internship.

This was 10 months of clinical, community and food service experience.  It was intense.  I walked with mom every chance that I could get, just as a means of giving me energy and keeping me calm (and sane!)  She didn’t mind my venting or complaining or my sharing of stories.  She listened and laughed and sighed right along with me.

I remember these walks carrying me through happy moments, stressful moments, and those moments when I only wanted to sleep.

Yes.  I remember that first day of my dietetic internship as if it was yesterday.

I remember the entire journey.  From there to here.

There.  Confused about career choices at a school in which I never felt quite at home.  Always wanting something more.

To here.  Graduating with a degree in nutrition and (soon!) from my dietetic internship; in just 3 days.  And then, eventually, going for my RD exam.

Life sure is funny.

Career choices.  Never be afraid.  You are more capable of achieving your heart’s dreams and desires than you think you are.  Always aim high.  Because, really, what’s the worse that could happen?