Category Archives: job hunting

out of my hands

I don’t necessarily believe in a higher power, but sometimes things do happen that make me wonder a little.

This application I mentioned yesterday is something I heard about maybe a month ago. I knew I needed to plan in advance to complete it, that I would need several days to get it done. Unfortunately, life and work have been such that I haven’t had any extra hours. Last weekend, I sat down with my wife, and we made a family schedule. It involved me leaving the house to work from a coffee shop a few days a week. It involved my wife having some paper grading time. And because we had our days planned so well, I was going to be able to fit some extra hours in all week long to pick away at this application.

And then my son got sick.

And then my wife got sick.

Monday came, and my wife came home from teaching looking sicker than she has in a long, long time. I knew she was down for the week. This meant that those little chunks of time I had planned for all week were gone. I would be on full-time BG duty, and any moment he slept, I would be trying to fit in my thirty hours of work for the week. Normally, this would actually not be so bad. He has been taking these dreamy two-hour naps for awhile now, and that allows me to at least put a dent in the work I have to do. But this week, with the cold, he gave up most of his naps. Instead, he would nap for half an hour, or he would fall asleep on our morning walk, and that would be his sole nap of the day (at 10:00 am, no less). This was all on top of trying to keep him still because the kid was so sick, yet he couldn’t manage to stop. By the time he went to bed at night, around 8:00, I would make sure my wife was settled snug on the sofa, and I would get to work. I have worked until midnight every night this week. BG has fortunately been sleeping through the night all week, but he still only sleeps until 5:30 or 6:00. It’s not been enough.

I melted down yesterday. It wasn’t pretty, but I just couldn’t believe that this was my life, that this application was hanging over my head, yet there was nothing I could do about. (Okay, I could have given up the blog, but the blog posts this week haven’t exactly been coherent, have they? They have, however, been good for me, so I don’t feel apologetic about it.) So I had an ugly moment.

Last night, I was working away at this thing, and the server for the application site went down. I took this as a sign it was time to go to bed, and I did. I told my wife I would need her to be on today, knowing I was asking a lot of her, as she is still sick, but she agreed and was very supportive. But then I had to take BG to the doctor today out of the blue (crazy diaper rash infection), and then he had a twenty-minute nap. My wife tried to keep him occupied, and I spent two hours writing and scrapping and rewriting and scrapping a teaching philosophy. Soon applications to two positions had been narrowed down to one application to one position–the one I had started first. And then BG’s nighttime routine took an hour longer than usual, and we had to eat dinner, and I melted down again, and it was 9:30. I found myself thinking, If only I could get an extension. And then, Sorry, T no more extensions. This is it.

I dried my tears, stopped feeling sorry for myself, apologized to my wife, thanked her for her help, and sent her to bed. I logged on to the application site dejected and stressed out and feeling like I couldn’t possibly get the rest of this done as tired as I feel.

And then I noticed something looked different about the HR homepage, which I was trying my best to navigate away from:

*UPDATE*     *SEPTEMBER 23, 2011*     *UPDATE*
Due to technical disruption of our system today, we have extended the application deadline for the following full-time faculty positions to 11:59PM ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2011:
 
I scanned the short list, saw the two positions I was applying for, and took the deepest breath I’ve taken in a week. And then I thanked the air. Who knows why this happened, but wouldn’t it be nice if this was just what I needed to land my job?
 
Now, I’ve got an hour or two of only slightly murky thinking left in me. I think I’d better get back to work.

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Filed under coincidence, job hunting

when the political becomes personal

Last night, we learned that the Senate struck down the latest jobs bill–the bill that was to keep extended unemployment benefits coming to those people who haven’t been able to find work after six months, or a year, or eighteen months of becoming unemployed.

My wife was one of those people.

As of yesterday, she lost her unemployment benefits. I have been working 20-30 hours per week, and while we have had to budget tightly, we have been able to make ends meet, care for our son, and even go out for coffee once in awhile while she has continued to look for work and collect unemployment. But those ends are about to stop meeting. We have entered panic mode.

This morning, I cancelled our cable–the last of our entertainment splurges (okay, so we’re keeping our Netflix account, and believe me, at two discs at a time, that feels pretty indulgent right now). We don’t know if we’ll have enough to pay our insanely expensive Bay Area rent this month. We probably will, but it’s going to be tight. Really tight. As in, so tight, that we have to spend the rest of our very meager savings on it, and we still don’t know if we’ll be able to afford it. We’re cutting every extra expense we can, selling one of our scrapyard-worthy cars, putting countless items up for auction on eBay, and I’m going as full time as my job will allow.

But I don’t know in the end if any of it will be enough.

The Republicans will tell you it’s our own fault, that J should have just gone out and gotten a job once she lost the first. If only just getting a job were so easy. My wife has been looking for work for eighteen months–since she learned that she would not be teaching after her first semester at a new university due to state budget cuts. She has a master’s degree. She even served in the military. She should be eminently hireable. She has been applying for every sort of job, from positions as a wine pourer to administrative assistants, tutoring and mentoring positions, grant writing positions,  teaching and test prep, and everything in between. We’ve gotten no bites. None. Not even an interview–and usually not even confirmation that her application has been received. She has been going up against hundreds of people for each job, jobs for which she is extremely overqualified, jobs for which she is perfectly qualified. Still nothing.

And then came a great twist of fate last week. J received a phone call from the university. They want her to teach in the fall. Finally, we were going to have a break. Her unemployment benefits were about to be extended, and this was going to carry us through (with my work) to the end of September, when the first of her paychecks would start coming in.  But that carrying through is not to be. We’re pretty sure she has a job–in two months (there is some fear that the loss of this jobs bill could cut her position yet again), but in the interim, there is still rent to pay, still power to keep on and mouths to keep fed, and we’re wondering how the hell that is all going to happen.

But we’re scrappy, and we’re resourceful, and somehow, we’re going to make all of this work. We don’t really have another choice.

This morning, we needed to get out of the house, needed a dose of normalcy to ease our anxieties for a few moments, so we raided the “coconut cash” (a stash of ones we keep in this funky ceramic coconut) and our quarters. After gathering seven dollars, we made our way to the farmer’s market where we knew we could only get a few things. We got our salad greens from our favorite farm, and then some early girl tomatoes. We had a dollar left. Not enough for much, but we spied some big, fat, organic carrots back at our favorite farm stand. Baby Genius loves carrots. We especially love this farm’s carrots. So we asked the farmer for a dollar’s worth and handed him the last of our quarters. He gave us a handful, and when J mentioned in passing, “They’re for the baby. He loves them,” the man gave us another handful with a warm smile.  It amounted to maybe a pound and a half of carrots–nothing spectacular by any stretch of the imagination–but there was a knowing that accompanied that second handful of carrots from the farmer, a knowing and some charity.

In that moment I felt humbled–and touched.  I cried behind my sunglasses as we walked away, both because this man offered up some kindness on a hard, hard day and because I can’t believe we’re in this position. But I know we’re going to make it out of this, that we’ll survive it and come out stronger.

Oh, and the coconut cash has been renamed. It’s now the carrot cash.

Our carrots:

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Filed under job hunting, panic, Politics, unfairness, us

an update on the car/work sagas

Life has calmed down since I last wrote, or rather, my reactions to life have calmed down. We still don’t have J’s car back, but the mechanic has informed us that his lawyer misunderstood his request. In fact, he asked him to send a letter to the former mechanic, not to J. It looks like he might even take payments from us eventually should we need to go that route. Meanwhile, we’re going to contact the former mechanic on our own to see if we can make some headway before scaring them with a lawsuit.

J and I also had a long talk last night about the job she was going to take, and we decided it was not in our best interest for her to take it when they couldn’t promise her anything but part-time work. Since then, we’ve heard from a university where J applied to teach, and she may be getting a couple of classes for the fall. She now has the motivation to apply for other jobs, for even teaching one or two classes would make working in some generic office a lot more palatable. And so her outlook has improved, and this helps us both.

I’m waiting out the summer as I fulfill my obligations to my current job, and then I’m going to find some stellar position doing something I’ll be great at. What that is yet, I do not know.

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Filed under car, J, job hunting, Ramblings

when it rains

J and I are both feeling so utterly blah. She’s being swallowed up by PMS and a lot of bad luck. It just sucks. Compounding this is some serious car trouble and potential legal trouble to boot.

Warning: I’m going to rant and complain and bitch and whine now about something completely non-TTC. You are excused from reading should this be of no interest to you. No note from home necessary.

Over a month ago, we were on our way to see my brother graduate from his firefighter officer’s academy when J’s car broke down. We were pulling into a gas station, and everything just died. After a couple of days, the guys at the service station where we broke down concluded that they couldn’t fix it; it was a serious electrical issue. So, we had to do something scary and choose a mechanic out of the phone book. We don’t know anyone here, so it truly was a crap shoot. The one we chose took several days to even look at the car only to find that the computer was blown.

The good news at that time was that it was the fault of the mechanic who conducted the tune up J got before we moved, so they can be held responsible for the repairs. The new mechanic even said he’d help J with it. Fast forward a month (it took nearly three weeks for the guy to fix the problem), and the guy is charging J over a thousand dollars for repairs to a car that is thirteen years old. The mechanic told her he’d help her contact the garage responsible for the problem and that he’d work with his lawyer to recover the charges from that garage. Yesterday in the mail, J received a letter from said attorney who has claimed that his loyalty is to the mechanic, and she needs to pay up now and pursue the matter with the mechanic on her own (or with her own attorney).

This is par for the course with us. We have bad luck with legal matters (don’t get me started on her parents’ probate case, which, after seven years, is still not settled), so the last thing we want to do is tangle with this, This just fucking sucks. Ultimately, we need a new car, but that’s not happening until we have some new jobs.

Oh, and on that front, J was offered a job with a for-profit learning center. When she applied, she applied for a full-time position. They want to offer her a part-time summer job. As though she were a student on break. We’re thinking she’s going to have to turn it down and keep searching. Meanwhile, our bank account is more and more anemic.

I’m so ready for something to go right. No pity, please; I’m just annoyed.

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Filed under car, crappy days, J, job hunting, legal matters

It’s Official

I got the letter today: no job. I hate looking for work in academia. I just hate it.

 Now to focus on producing a nice fertile egg, and having a fabulous anniversary cruise. J thinks I’m meant to be a pregnant woman this year–not a full-time professor. Only time will tell, I suppose.

 Thanks for your sweet and uplifting comments from the last post. They’re helping to keep me afloat.

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Contrast

Despite my blog’s cheery new look, my mood today simply sucks. It would seem that I’m not going to be called back for a second interview at the job I wanted so badly. The second round of interviews was scheduled for yesterday and tomorrow, and I’ve heard nothing. It would have been nice to get at least a letter, but alas, I’ve got nothing.

And so, the cheeriness that had overcome me after we booked our anniversary getaway has now fallen away, and I’m indulging in some good old fashioned self-pity. Honestly, I don’t know what all of this is going to mean. I’ve got my part-time work, and I could potentially pick up a few classes at the local colleges for the fall, but that takes me right back to the hamster wheel existence I was living until we moved here. I don’t want to do that. If it comes down to that, I’ll change careers. I just wanted to finally get compensated appropriately for teaching–to have some stability in my work. Alas, that was not meant to be.

Then there’s a small part of me that thinks maybe I’ll be pregnant soon, and I won’t have to worry what comes next in my career. It’s an indulgent thought, but it’s something I can finally entertain again. We’ll be putting an end to this break in just over a week, and with it, who knows what will come our way. I sure as hell hope it’s something good, for I’m quite bored with my own negativity, and I’m sure anyone left reading this thing is sick to death of it too.

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What does a TTC blogger on a break write about?

Seriously, folks. I’ve been utterly stumped.  

At any rate, here’s the latest news:

 I have finished my first interview, and I think it went quite well. The panel of interviewers seemed interested in what I had to say, and they even laughed from time to time. It was actually kind of fun. But now I wait. I wait to hear whether or not I go to the second and third interviews, and I’m fine with that. The worst of them is over, and I did my best.

Our dear, dear friend is visiting from our former hometown tomorrow and through the weekend. Interestingly enough, she is one of the other candidates interviewing for the same two positions I’m up for. I hope she does well. More than anything, we’re both thrilled to see her and entertain her in our new place. Needless to say, we’ll be taking her wine tasting. We take everyone wine tasting.

Hmmm…what else?

I’ve had so little to say on the TTC front because we’re truly enjoying our break. I’ve lost the few pounds I gained since we moved here, we’re both walking, and we’re refocusing on what it will mean for us to be a family. It’s nice to get back on the same page, to ogle babies from time to time, to enjoy seeing the Little League season start up. We’ve even put together a costume box for our future child(ren).  I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to our next few inseminations. I have high hopes for their outcomes. But that won’t be for another month.

So I am left with little to say. Very little. Are there any topics that you, my dear readers, would like to hear about? Is there anything I’ve mentioned in the past that you would like me to delve into more? Anything you want to know about me or J? Tell me, and I’ll feature your topic in a future post. Really. I’m desperate.

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Filed under job hunting, The Break, Topics, ttc

On the horizon

I have managed to secure an interview at a local college for a full-time, tenure-track position. I have applied to this college three times, and this is the first time I’ve gotten an interview. It’s next week. I haven’t had an interview for one of these serious positions in quite a long time, so I’m feeling a little shaky about it.

These academic interview processes are gruelling. Of course, all interview processes are potentially gruelling, but these can be nuts. My application packet (which I submitted a month ago) was no less than thirty pages. The interview itself will be at least an hour in front of a rather large committee. For the interview, I must prepare a fifteen minute demonstration on a lesson plan and syllabus. If out of the twenty or so candidates they are interviewing, I am one of the lucky few finalists who makes it to a second interview, I’ll then interview with the Vice President of the college. If I make it past that one, I’ll interview with the Superintendent of schools. This whole process takes a few weeks, and it’s nothing short of nerve-racking. The good news is that I’ve gone through it before, and while neither process ended in me with a great job, I did gain experience, and perhaps a speck of confidence, maybe even a hint of professional maturity. We shall see.  I just hope I’m not still coughing up a lung every five minutes by next Wednesday. I really want this job.

Speaking of horizons (and, consequently, back to the original focus of this whole blog), we’re on a one-cycle break for sanity’s sake, but we do have more cycles of trying coming soon. After this month, we’ll have probably two more attempts with Mr. G before he leaves the country for over a year, at which point, we will implement a yet unknown Plan B (or C or D–not sure which letter we’ve gotten to by now). We probably should have taken a few months off during the move, but we didn’t have the heart to do it. I fell oddly okay about this because I think J and I both need to get back to that place of remembering what it is we’re doing this for–back to dreaming about being parents, potentially even back to a speck of idealism if that’s even possible. Of course, that may be as likely as regaining one’s virginity, but it doesn’t hurt trying, right?

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Filed under job hunting, sick, The Break, ttc

Taking Stock

It is CD2. We have decided to take a cycle off to figure out what we want to do. We like Mr. G, but we don’t like his lack of reliability, and we don’t like the shipping processs. It’s just not working out for so many reasons. So we have to figure things out, and we are not sure where this is going to take us. We do know that the baby empties are worse than ever. We just went shopping with my sister, who is visiting for the week. We got her some much-needed maternity clothes and ogled baby items, and while it was fun to shop for our neice-t0-be and my sister, we couldn’t help but want to be doing this for ourselves. It’s an ugly feeling.

On top of all of this, J lost her job this week. It wasn’t a job that she particularly loved–or even liked–but she had been trying her hardest for the past four weeks to learn the ropes. Her new boss is just so f-ing insane that she couldn’t get her act together to train J or teach her anything about the organization, so she let J go on the grounds that there wan’t any time to train her and that she wasn’t the previous grantwriter (who had been there for four years). We’re both more than a little freaked out right now because this was supposed to be our stability for awhile while I figured my life and career out. Now we’re not sure what is going to happen next except that we’re now both looking for work.

Despite this major blow, I think it’s probably for the best. J was miserable. Her working conditions were unacceptable (I’m surprised the building hasn’t been condemned), and the director of the organization truly was a few eggs shy of a dozen. These items on top of the horrid commute were making J more stressed than she was supposed to be since our move, so I know that eventually this will all make sense.

For now, it’s all just hard.  

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Filed under J, job hunting, ttc

Sunrise

This week the sun came out. For some people, this would be good news. For most people here, this is a godsend because people become depressed by the constant rain and gray skies. I, however, don’t find the same reassurance from the sun these days. It makes everything feel that much more urgent. Somehow the fog and the gloom soothe me. They slow things down.

It’s not just the sun that has me full of nerves this week though. All week long, I have been engaged in this tug-of-war between hope and panic. On Thursday, this all came to a head because my lovely, talented, brilliant J was offered a job near our new city, and she took it. I am so very proud of her, so excited that this is really going to happen for us, but I’m terrified all the same.

She starts work on the first of February–just thirteen days away. We don’t yet have a place to live; we haven’t even been packing. We have seven years worth of crap to deal with, and it’s more than a little overwhelming. Today we’ll get started on disposing of clothing donations, clearing out our garage, and such, but my head is simply swimming with this weird panic and mayhem and anxiety and craziness. It’s too much for me right now. I want to burrow under the covers, curl up into a little ball, and tell someone else to do it.

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Filed under anxiety, J, job hunting, moving