What matters more? Loving your work or working near loved ones? I fall asleep thinking about this, I wake up thinking about this. It’s on my mind in the shower, in the car, and in endless meetings.
I hate my job. Original, right? Certain policies of my employer reek of ickiness, I have little to no respect for my immediate bosses, and, most problematically, I’m not doing the job I was promised I’d be doing. But, I get paid very well to under-deliver on my education and experience. It was a bait and switch that landed me in a pair of golden handcuffs. Amidst a group of stellar individuals who feel much the same.
I’m seeing concerning things from my profession. Yes, a growing few are touching upon the issues of privilege that pervade our paths to professional posts; a vocal cohort are calling for reenvisioned roles for ourselves and the work we do; and I’m proud of those individuals and organizations that consistently reinforce the worthiness of what I thought would be my life’s calling. Yet, I still work in academia in the time of “quit lit”. And, just because every argument, every comment, every new piece in the genre is predictable, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t ring true. I now leave professional meetings more cynical than hopeful. Perhaps, in part, because my iPad has learned to autocorrect words and phrases like “buy-in,” and “advocacy,” and “deliverables,” and “lean times,” and “do more with less.”
But, I still truly, deeply love what I do. It’s just that I don’t often get to do it. And I had to move my family to the middle of nowhere to not do what I do.
So, given the birth and death and post-death fallout of the last year I thought I’d try and see whether I could do what I love near the remaining family I’ve got left. We inherited a house, Obamacare’s got my back, the husband’s employable, the cost of living is low-ish there, no more need for over-priced, full-time daycare… it wouldn’t have to be a good job. Just a job. To reconnect me to the work I love. To reinvigorate me.
I know I shouldn’t be discouraged, and really I’m only a little bit discouraged. I’m mostly feeling confused and trapped. We’re not talking hundreds of rejections here – there’s only been six open positions in my field (or closely allied field) in that city since February. I’ve applied to all, gotten personalized rejection emails/letters from two (which was quite nice in this day and age of unanswered applications), and heard nothing from the rest (expected). Part of me feels good about the fact that I’m not getting interviews for the mostly entry-level posts that I’m clearly overqualified for, but then the other part of me feels despondent that there aren’t really any mid-level posts for me to apply to. Which then circles me back to my worries about the profession. Which then opens the flood gates of doubt and confusion.
The way I see it now, I’ve got two options. 1. Suck it up and stay here, or 2. get any job and move (or move and get any job). Option 2 sounds better, if I’m totally honest, but I don’t even know how to begin to do it. I’ve got two graduate degrees – one so academic it makes me qualified for nothing, the other so practical it makes me qualified for only one type of job, the type I can’t seem to get. Then I get a resurgence of warm and fuzzies about my work and the people I help and the skill set I’ve established and the professional contacts I’ve made and the pride I have for my professional life. And I don’t pull the trigger. I make more excuses.
This post has no ending. It has no real purpose. I can’t undo what has been done, I can’t make happen those things out of my control. So, I wait. And get angry that my life is spent waiting. That my marriage is weighed down by the waiting. That my every day is consumed by waiting. That this waiting is so eerily familiar to an IF survivor.