A Bit of a Crossroads…

Surprise! This post isn’t a product review.

I wanted to share a little bit about what’s been going on in my life lately- let you all in to see the woman behind the curtain, so to speak.

Warning: Mild adult language to follow. If that’s not your thing, I understand.

I am one of the lucky ones in this time of The Virus. I live with my folks, so I don’t have to worry about crabby landlords or mortgages. (I do help pay for household expenses, but it’s not the same as folks renting a place or buying a house.) I work from home so I have no hour-long commute – my commute is about five feet. And my job isn’t paying me minimum wage (don’t have benefits but that’s a different story).

the view of my workspace from my bed

For the last couple of years I’ve been saving up my money to have a good emergency fund to help me move out of California, but that was in the Before Times and now I’m dealing with a whole new set of shit to worry about on that front.

Do I even try to move out of state without an established job? Do I try to find a job that allows me to telecommute? Do I try to apply for a job from hundreds or even thousands of miles away and just eat costs and vacation days for interviews? How do I figure out getting a new place when rent everywhere is skyrocketing? Do I just walk out into an open field and let out an unholy scream?

It’s a lot and it’s heavy. I’m still trying to find answers that don’t involve that last part. But what really throws a monkey-wrench in it all is that my current job is temporary. It was a limited position to help with a surge in the workload and it ends in Summer 2022. Joy.

This means that I’ve spent the last month or so applying to every job I can find, hoping that something will stick. But you know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again…

So I’m shaking things up.

I’ve been taking little certificate courses here and there; learning new things and padding my CV a little bit. To give a little context – I have my B.A. in psychology and a handful of associate’s degrees. My bachelor’s degree is about 10 years old (yikes!) but that’s my educational background. I’ve always wanted to work in the social services and mental health fields – still haven’t but that’s a story for another day. I took a course from Johns Hopkins University on Coursera – Psychological First Aid – just to get back into the swing of using that language and having that mindset. It was a refreshing little recap of things I remembered from college. Then I took the free Victims Advocacy Training course from the Office for Victims of Crime Training & Technical Assistance Center, which I thought was a nice way of re-learning some good study habits because there were a few units in that course that I had no prior knowledge of. But it was insightful and not too painful – in fact, I just submitted the documentation to the National Advocate Credentialing Program to have my Provisional level credential! I should hear back in about 10 weeks, so I’ll be sure to post some updates.

I know what you’re probably thinking – “those are cute but pretty useless for most jobs out there!” I get it and I agree. Those were more for me personally, not professionally. But I did find a course that I think could have a big impact on my job hunt and I’ll be working on it in the new year – HarvardX’s data science professional certificate program. I did take a couple of classes that involved data science and data analysis back in college, as well as general statistics courses, so I’m hoping this course won’t be too over my head.

But I know that having data science skills – even basic ones – makes for a very nice selling point on a résumé. I know that I’m not going to be raking in 6 figure job offers the minute that I finish this course, but I’m looking at this course as a foundation of skills that I can continue to work on long after the last day of class. I want to take what I learn and build upon it. Not just to improve my job prospects, but to keep learning for myself. I don’t want to end up one of those people who hasn’t learned something new since they left college (or high school).

So I’m going to work my ass off for this. I’m going to put in the time to study like hell and do extra practice to make sure everything sticks. I’m going to make flashcards or cover my wall in those sticky notes and red string. Whatever gets things to click in my mind. I’ll even give up some of my TV binges with mom.

I want this to work. And not just because it was a good chunk of change. I want to prove to myself I can still learn.

If anyone has any ideas of study guides to supplement my course or any words of advice as I embark on this interesting new journey, I greatly appreciate it. If you already work with data science and analytics, let me know – am I crazy? Do I have a good idea here?


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