Pinch Me: I'm Working Full Time Again

Fran Hopkins, full-time worker

What's it like, working full-time again after a nearly three-year sabbatical?
  • It's seeing the beautiful full moon, still in the sky at 6:30 in the morning.
  • It's smiling to myself because I feel connected to the world again. I'm no longer an observer, I'm a participant.
  • It's having daily opportunities to wear nice jewelry. It's getting my first paycheck and looking at it in awe, like it was the Loch Ness monster. Is it real?
  • It's splurging on a manicure this past weekend, one thing I'd promised myself I'd do if I found a new job.

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Of course it isn't just these thrilling little moments. I feel so tired most of the time, but that's gradually getting better as I adjust to my new schedule. Some of the realities are less than thrilling:
  • I'm a night owl and I hate having to go to bed "early" and get up "early."
  • My free time after work feels so short before I have to go to sleep -- so I can get up and do it all over again.
  • My weekends are crammed with chores.
  • It's much harder to schedule things like doctor or vet or car appointments.
  • I'm still trying to find routes to and from work that are the least-backed-up with ridiculous rush-hour and holiday traffic. Commuting isn't my favorite thing.

When I think about the things I don't like about working again, I always remind myself that I am NOT complaining! This is what I worked so hard for, for so long. There were many times that I doubted that I'd ever experience the "daily grind" again. So at times, I still find it hard to believe that I'm really back at work.

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I'm adjusting, but it's going to take some time. I'm having a little trouble keeping track of all the details of life. (Did I pay that bill? I forgot to go to the cleaners!) My dog is sad that I leave him all day (and I miss him too). I'm not getting enough sleep. My social life has been drastically reduced. I have to do more planning ahead to stay organized -- planning tomorrow's dinner tonight, figuring out what to wear each day -- the night before. And it's harder to fit in my exercise routine now.

I'm still transitioning from my old life without a job to my new life with one. It's actually quite a joy to be in this position. I know that I've been fortunate to beat the odds; the opportunity to work again is something that I don't take for granted.

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Fran Hopkins


Fran Hopkins is a lifelong NJ resident and Baby Boomer who’s been searching for full-time work since losing her job in a January 2010 layoff.  While “between jobs,” she’s earned an MS degree in Health Communication, does freelance writing and public relations, and is actively involved in the NJ chapter of the Association for Women in Communications.  Her household includes a college-age son and an assortment of pets.

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