Saturday, February 14, 2009

workin it

Well to be lost may not be the right way to describe it. But I do feel down. I feel unwanted. Unemployable. Lacking of commercial value. I would love it if I didn't need to have commercial value. I would love to just be a stay-at-home mom (provided I found enough ways to get myself out of the house and socialize with adults every once in a while) but that isn't an option for me. I need to work. I need to find employment. I have education debt coming out of my ears. If I don't work, that debt becomes a problem.

The professor job was not an ideal situation. We didn't know how one of us would handle commuting, and it would have been a long commute. And I would probably have been working over 40 hrs/wk during the time when my son needs me the most. I am not sure how we would have handled child care. Neither one of us was excited about living in Indianapolis. I applied for the job on a whim. Wasn't sure I wanted it. Didn't think I'd get a call on it. But then I did. And I learned more about it and I got excited and dreamed about it and ... well ... it seemed like such a nice solution to all my worries about financial stability and providing for my son.

But I guess it wasn't my solution. Maybe I don't have a solution.

I tend to look at life like a narrative I guess. I feel like I'm looking for recurring themes, trying to identify my life lessons. I am not sure I ever find them. It does seem as though one recurring theme is that hard work does not necessarily (or perhaps often) lead to rewards. This is something I believed -- if you work hard enough, it will happen. It seems like such a nice cause and effect. But maybe this is the lesson I need to be learning right now. Chance and happenstance is as powerful as hard work, if not more, and maybe sometimes that hard work is simply working against the fates. I really need to learn how to not take defeat personally. Not believe it is defining my character or ability. My friends and I are watching the previous generation lose their jobs after a lifetime of dedicated hard work. Some of them are losing everything. This is not something we just see in the news anymore, this is our parents, our aunts and uncles, our friends. Work and servitude simply does not necessarily bring the rewards we feel like we were promised, or believe we deserve, or that we have earned, or any of that.

I get jealous. I get feeling entitled or something. I am afraid that I live my life beyond my means, beyond my social class. I could not afford my undergraduate education, did not understand this, and did it anyway. I did not know enough to realize that spending that kind of money should make it so that you have more earning potential, but I studied art because you should also study what you love. I went back to graduate school thinking it would open more career paths and options but now fear it has closed more than it has opened. I fear I have already made my bed and I just don't yet understand what it means.

But this is my problem. i love to daydream about long-term goals, but I am so shortsighted that every immediate defeat feels like a lifetime of doom.

So. What now? I guess I just keep taking it one day or month at a time. I guess I don't have much choice.

I really wish I could stop taking all this job stuff so personally. But it sort of is personal.


Tammy B said...

you are not alone - long story short, I am in similar situation (and I have a PhD in physics so don't knock yourself for studying an 'impractical' field). The fact that you even interviewed for such a great job puts you many steps ahead of me.

I was inspired by an experience in DC where I was working on science policy stuff. I met some incredible people who had very non-linear career paths. These were passionate people who did great things with their lives and managed to get by. Coming from academia, I had been fooled into thinking that careers were linear and always lead to professorships. Fortunately, the world is much more interesting.

First Time Mom said...

I'm so sorry! Rejection in any form is hard. You are so talented, Liz. I can't believe that in a few months from now you won't be seeing this differently. It sounds like this position was not for you no matter which way you sliced it, but something else will surely come.
While SAHM is not for everyone (seriously, it's hard work in a whole different way), but while you have it I hope you see the blessing it is, even if it isn't right for you on a permanent basis.
This is a temporary set back. I love that you look at the big picture and ask about your own recurring themes, that will help you tackle anything holding you back. But have you noticed the recurring theme of success in your life? You are an amazing artist. You are an accomplished scholar. You are happy with the people you love and have surrounded yourself with. You are an excellent writer. You are motivated to complete projects that most people only think about (thanks for the natal chart onsies!!!! you are awesome!)
I find you nothing but inspiring.