As anyone who has been unemployed can tell you, the toughest part of unemployment is the hit your confidence takes. After hearing “I don’t think we have a use for someone with your skill-set” enough times, you begin to feel like you just aren’t useful. At least, I do.
This isn’t an intellectual belief, but rather an emotional reaction. Intellectually, I know I am outrageously competent. I have both extensive life experience, academic credentials and work experience that are hard to match. I know this, but when I hear enough people telling me their organization can’t use me, it begins to erode that intellectual confidence.
But, it turns out, I am competent. I spent about an hour on the phone doing what I do best: problem solving. Someone wanted some advice on contracts for visiting rabbis. I happen to have signed several such contracts myself, as well as cleaned up messes in congregations when such contracts didn’t work out the way they wanted. I’ve also signed lots of contracts in the business world, and dealt with lots of contractors of various kinds. All of which means, I have a lot to offer someone who is less familiar with contracting for rabbinic services.
Admittedly, I didn’t get paid for this advice. On the other hand, I got my name out there. And more importantly, I reminded myself that I am competent and my work is valuable. Now I just need to convince someone with money to hire me of this.