| Family First Editor's Letter |

“I Quit!”

Six months later, I quit the job that had been destroying me and launched a new career

Friday night, 4 a.m. I can’t sleep. After tossing in bed for a while, I tiptoe to my darkened living room. I sink into the couch and stare out at the dark sky.

I’m miserable. My job as a social worker in a community clinic has become untenable — I have a caseload of 200 families and I work only 20 hours a week. Some of my clients only need me to sign off on a few forms once a year, but many others need extensive assistance in multiple areas. I spend my days putting out fires, some of them raging, and feel like I’m never doing enough. I can’t do this anymore.

I gloomily review my options for the millionth time. I don’t want to commute — with three small children, and a fourth on the way, it’s important that I be near home. But there are precisely two local institutions that hire social workers: a school for children with special needs that isn’t a good fit for me, and the clinic I’m already employed in.

I want to daven, but feel ridiculous. What am I asking Hashem for? That the perfect job suddenly materialize a few blocks from my home? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to asking for a miracle? Dawn is stealing across the night sky, but my heart is heavy as I finally drag myself back to bed.

Three months later, I’m on maternity leave, enjoying our prince. The shalom zachar and bris are behind us, Baby and I have figured out a rhythm, and I even have occasional pockets of time when the older ones are out and baby is napping. I dig up the writing correspondence course I’d started years before.

A friend had recommended a course on writing for children when we finished seminary. I’d enrolled and received the materials. There were ten units, each with its own assignment. You were meant to complete one assignment every two to three months, finishing the course in two years.

Then life happened. I started studying for my first degree, got engaged, got married, went on for a second degree, had a baby, had another. Life was a blessed whirlwind. I tried to crank out whatever I could when on maternity leave or on strike (I had a government job, which meant frequent unpaid strikes), and kept asking for extensions.

I was also realizing that fiction-writing wasn’t my forte. But when I pulled out the course materials for module seven, I was thrilled to see it was entirely about nonfiction. Hmmm. Interviews — I did those all the time in my day job. Research — I knew how to do that. Writing — I enjoyed that.

There was a new sensation on the market, a frum weekly magazine called Mishpacha. I read it occasionally and enjoyed it. I crafted a pitch for a column I thought kids would enjoy, took a deep breath, and contacted the magazine.

Two months later, I was being published regularly in Jr. Three months later, I was writing for several additional outlets and websites. Six months later, I quit the job that had been destroying me and launched a new career.

This week, Aidel Loeb brings us wise, targeted job search advice. Her most crucial tip: Let Hashem take care of you. Do your hishtadlus, but take comfort in that He has a plan.

To which I’d add: It’s never ridiculous to daven. You may feel you’re facing a brick wall, your market flooded, your skills useless. He sees a picture far vaster than you ever will. Let Him lead you.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 728)

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