Three weeks until the international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) exam. At this point, I am probably mumbling FLAT PiG in my sleep (FLAT PiG = the hormones of the anterior pituitary gland = FSH, LH, ACTH, TSH, Prolactin, ignore, Growth Hormone). I’ve been flipping through flash cards every free moment. I have read and reviewed every sentance of The Breastfeeding Atlas; showcaseing, with pictures, just about every concieveable breastfeeding problem. Middle refers to it as “the book of bad boobie things”. I’ve taken seven different practice exams scoring a 96% on the last one. I’m ready.
So in three weeks I should be an IBCLC, right?
We have to wait until November until we get the results. So now I seem to be in this unemployable no-woman’s land. I’ve lost count of the number of jobs I’ve applied for. Dozens at this point. As an IBCLC candidate I am overqualified for lactation educator jobs or jobs teaching breastfeeding classes. I was rejected from two jobs before 10:00 am this morning. Yet, as I am not yet actually an IBCLC and won’t be until November, I have not found anyone willing to hire me without an official IBCLC credential. I had interviews as a lactation educator and even a few per diem jobs in the past two years but now absolutely nothing. I haven’t had any paid work since May and don’t see any on the horizon. I spoke on the phone with a woman this morning who needed someone to teach a hospital based breastfeeding class but when she found out I live about a 45 minute commute away she told me that she “just knows that won’t work out”. She was sure that I wouldn’t want to commute an hour each way just to teach for four hours. I told her I used to commute up to two hours each way in my old job and that while certainly not fun I considered it part of life in the Los Angeles area. She told me she was looking out for my best interest and ended the conversation. Lady, it would be in my best interest to have a job! I am so frustrated. People tell me that once I have that credential in November I should be able to find a job relatively quickly (whatever that means – a month, six months, a year?). On my good days I believe them and look forward to working with mothers and babies again. On my bad days I see an uncertain future ahead of me; scrambling to get per diem or temporary contract jobs, never having a real career again, and I start looking up job listings in my old line of work – aerospace engineering. The lure of a steady, well-paying job in a field that I am comfortable in is strong. Sometimes I don’t know if I will be able to resist it.