I haven’t been saying much about my life here lately. I only recently realized that, and of course it made me think, hmm … why not?
In related news, I never know how to answer those go-to questions “How are you?” and “How are you guys doing?” any more. If I know the asker too well for “fine,” I tend to say something rather confusing like “On a day-to-day basis we’re doing really well–we’re healthy, and Noah and Simon are doing so well, and we have lots of fun together–but it’s also really hard.” Really hard not to have an income and to watch our very small savings turn to dust while trying to guess whether we’ll become eligible for any additional state support once our account and my unemployment benefits run out. Really hard to look for work, month after month, and not find any. Really hard not to be able to plan more than a couple months at a time, because whether or not a job crops up changes everything. Really, really hard to be both overqualified (PhDs, college teaching experience) and underqualified (precious little experience doing anything else, which is a big problem in a job market full of unemployed yet specifically-trained and experienced people in virtually every industry/field),* especially without a robust local network of people we know personally and are thus willing to go out on a limb for us. We keep running into the same wall no matter what area of employment we pursue, and it gets old. On the other hand, I love working on my book. We love homeschooling and being together. We aren’t freaking out, losing sleep, or devolving into stress-launched conflict and misery. “If we were independently wealthy,” I say, “we’d be golden. We could go on like this forever.”
Or, if I know the asker really well, I just say: “The same.” As in, we have been carrying on in this strangely suspended and in-between reality for about eight months now, and there’s nothing much to say about it. When will we move on, and what to? We don’t know.
Anyway, this is all to say that I still exist–even beyond book reviews and links!–and that we are okay. Just waiting and wondering, enjoying each other (because why not?), and carrying on. I promise that we are doing All the Things, considering all the options, applying for a wide range of jobs. We don’t need advice … but we could stand to have people wishing us luck.
* A little illustration of the over/underqualified conundrum: a while back, I had an informational interview with a hiring manager in an interesting field where I could easily have gotten work pre-2008. She told me, “I couldn’t hire someone anymore who doesn’t have a lot of experience. We no longer have the time to work with people like that,” the people “with potential” who used to look like very desirable hires to her. At the same time, she said she wouldn’t hire me for an entry-level (primarily administrative-assistant-type) position because they’re looking for someone “with a lot of energy, right out of college,” meaning not all old and used up like my decrepit-ass self: that I’m just not what she’s picturing when she advertises for those positions. (Yes, that is indeed age discrimination: well spotted!) Then she enthusiastically encouraged me to look for work in two other fields instead. Unfortunately, we’ve had basically this exact interaction with folks in those fields. Multiply this meeting by dozens, and you have Eric’s and my networking experience of the past year. Sounds fun, huh?