Over the years my home-based business has enjoyed a fairly even ebb and flow, growing some years, shrinking others. Recently the tight economy has caused some of my clients to rein in expenses, and with one kid in college and another a second semester junior in high school, now isn’t the perfect time to see our family’s income drop.
Being a notorious Nervous Nelly, with an obsessive urge to bash head-on into what life throws my way — or, according to my husband, panic — I’ve begun seriously churning around options for making an honest buck to supplement my slumping bottom line. One measure I’ve already taken is to do some marketing, which I fortunately haven’t had to do for a very long time. Word of mouth and faithful clients have previously kept things humming along at a comfortable level.
In case this new effort doesn’t pan out and things go in a different direction, I figure I should have something tangible to demonstrate I really do posses marketable skills and experience. Being self-employed all these years I haven’t had to maintain a resume; work samples, yes, but not a resume.
To that end I began poking around and finally found an electronically-stored, 22-year-old record of me that while obviously needing revising, saved me from having to recreate an employment history dating back to 1981.
It was fun rediscovering what I was up to at various stages of my checkered career. I’ve done some interesting things. Well, at least they read like they might have been interesting, and isn’t that largely the art of resume writing? On paper, I don’t look half bad. I might even hire me.
Still, I can’t help wondering how I stack up against my peers who continued to don their black pumps and smart suits long after my feet widened and my wardrobe became increasingly comfortable.
I also find it curious, or perhaps ironic, that the two shortest job descriptions of the more than half a dozen are my first straight out of college — glorified receptionist — and the one I’ve been doing most of my adult life — maintaining a small business I built from the ground up.
Does this most recent entry do me justice? Running my own cottage industry means it’s all on me. I’m CEO, CFO, most of the Indians, all the Chiefs, and the person who has to remember to switch the heat on and off weekdays, countless Saturdays, and most minor holidays. It’s been a huge part of who I am for a very long time, yet there it lies, 18 words out of the roughly 500 that summarize who I’ve been for the past 32 years. Have I said enough without saying too much? I don’t want to exaggerate or apologize. All my working life I’ve done what’s had to be done, and that’s something, isn’t it?
Throughout the past three decades, and particularly of late, I’ve often thought back on a woman I heard being screened in an employment agency, where I too was a client. She’d run her own business for 20 years, and I thought even then how hard it must have been for her to step outside all she knew, leave behind much of what she’d accomplished, and begin again. She clearly was in the process of reinventing and redefining herself.
It happens, you know. Seems we can all expect to require a little updating every now and then.
Susan Writer pens a regular column for fredericknewspost.com and is one of The Frederick News-Post’s Board of Contributors. She can be reached at email@example.com.