Thursday, August 4, 2011

Doing nothing

So what do you when you have nothing to do?

I am struggling. My husband is now back to work full time, since he and the other teachers have meetings this week and start teaching next Monday.  That means I'm at home, alone, from about 6:30 a.m. until whenever he can get home at the end of the day - which typically will be at least 5 p.m. And I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing.

I spend hours every day pouring through job listings and applying to anything that I think I could do. And so far, I've had one in-person interview, one phone interview, missed one in-person interview for a part-time job due to illness, and have been told by at least 4 other places that they can't see how I could fit what they need.  In general, I'm told that I am over-educated and under-experienced.  My only jobs for the last 10 years have all been in teaching at the college level one way or another. And no one will even give me a shot.  I got a call today asking me to come in for an interview for some financial group, but when I looked them up afterward, I wasn't reassured by the info I found and probably will cancel the interview.  It's a gut feeling, but I don't want to ignore it when it doesn't feel right.

But I don't know where this leaves me.  What am I supposed to be doing? I have worked so ridiculously hard for the past 12 years in college and grad school, I have developed public speaking, written communication, typing, computer software, organizational, and instructional skills. And no one will even give me a second look. Jobs that I know I could do with ease, because I've done them before one way or another, won't give me a chance because I have too much of the wrong education and not enough specific experience for them to care. 

So what does that leave for me? I can't even get entry-level jobs that I'm pretty sure I've seen teenagers doing, even though I could probably be working as their manager with ease. Unfortunately, I have a very hard time applying for retail or restaurant positions - the ones that require no experience - because I have so many problems with my body that I honestly don't think I could work a job that required me to be on my feet, standing, walking, or lifting, for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

And so I'm at home. It's close to 110 degrees outside, so being outside isn't much fun. I stay in the house. I run some errands, cook, clean, do laundry... and worry about the fact that in three weeks we won't have enough money to cover our mortgage and all the other bills. And I feel like a failure. A failure at work, a failure at helping our family. 

It would be a very different matter if we were raising a child and we chose for me to stay home and be primarily the nurturer (assuming we could ever afford to live on only one salary, that is).  But this isn't my choice. I don't want to be out of work. I have lost count of how many jobs I have applied for since we got back from our honeymoon. And I have nothing to show for it. I'm lost. What am I supposed to be doing if I can't find work, can't help pay the bills, and can't do much of anything else?


Scientist said...

I want to give you the biggest hug right now. I'm sorry this is happening but I know the feeling. One would think going to school to get the best education possible would be the thing to do but it seems society has a different opinion.
Have you thought of substitute teaching high school history or being an instructor at a community college?
I hope something comes through soon.

Historian said...

Scientist - Thanks. And yes, I've applied for every community college or college/university teaching job in our area, but their budgets are being slashed and I know for a fact that former coworkers who have finished the Ph.D. are struggling to find even a one-course adjunct position as well. It's just a very difficult time, especially in our state, where education is not in any way respected or valued.