As a card carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, I was feeling a lot like chopped liver this morning. If you’ve been kind enough to follow along with me on this journey, I’m sure many of you could relate to feeling slapped between two slices of the stuff life is made of (a.k.a. elderly parents and adult children). My ninety year old mother broke her hip several months ago and can no longer live alone. My twenty-something year old college graduate daughter had to move home because…well, you know…she couldn’t find a job. All right, maybe I shouldn’t have gotten quite so upset this morning at my husband for chewing his cold cereal so loudly, but really, I couldn’t hear Good Morning, America. It didn’t help after I looked at him and said “REALLY?,” and he pretended not to know what I was talking about.
I planned to go to a luncheon today because a local elected offiicial was the speaker. I was definitely not in my best “no matter what happens to me in life, I have a positive attitude” frame of mind. I looked at my husband who was now eating an apple (need I say more) and my daughter who was still in her pajamas getting ready to get on the Internet. Now more than anything I wanted to go to that luncheon. I suggested that my daughter might like to come, and to my surprise, she agreed. Frankly, I think she just wanted a break from filling out job applications; and if I said, “Hey, you want to go get a flu shot?” she would have jumped at the chance to get out of the house.
We arrived right on time, and a friend called out for us to sit at her table. I don’t care how old you are, when you walk into a room with a bunch of tables and no assigned seating, it’s like you’re in the high school cafeteria again hoping you won’t have to eat alone. Although I was feeling more relaxed as we introducted ourselves to one another, I glanced at my daughter and knew she would have preferred a flu shot to being there. She was the youngest person in the room by at least thirty years. I whispered to her that we would leave as soon as we were finished eating.
Then something happened. One of the ladies asked my daughter about herself. As soon as these senior citizens heard the words “looking for a job,” there were six head-hunters charging down the career path in search of a job. Once they had sufficiently uncovered enough background information on my daughter’s education and work experience, the ideas were flying through the air. The synergy was exciting. One knew several people at marketing agencies who were looking for college graduates. Another suggested a job networking group that met at a local YMCA each week. My friend wrote down so many suggestions and leads, that she used up two sheets of notebook paper.
We didn’t leave after the meal but stayed to listen to the guest speaker. Afterwards, these women who were now my daughter’s personal career consultants made her approach the speaker and ask for not only her advice but names of people who could help her. We both left with a “no matter what happens to me in life, I have a positive attitude” attitudes. Someone once told me that it’s easier to steer a car that’s moving than one that’s parked…or something like that. Anyway, the analogy is right. My daughter and I could have stayed home that day and missed out on this great Networking experience. She received valuable leads on possible jobs, and I observed other women who were probably card carrying members of the Sandwich Generation, too. I saw the difference. I was focusing on the chopped liver, they were all about the relish!