Nothing to see here.


You might have been noticed that I’ve been avoiding this place a little. It’s not you. It’s me.

Things are very busy right now. I get up early. I play in the garden for a while, watering and pinching and fertilizing and mushing my compost around. I feed Connor, I dress him, we do something artsy, or at least art-adjacent. I throw various vegetables together with various sauces and leave them to chill. We watch movies. I check Craigslist and, when I can get it, the newspaper. I do a little cleaning, I make lunch, Connor and I eat lunch. I check Craigslist again, I stare in fury at my resumé on the screen — unprinted, unmailed. I tweak the damn resumé for an hour or two and write endless, variable cover letters. I tuck Connor in for a nap. I spend naptime fiddling with our budget, designing flyers that say I will clean your house or watch your kids if you please, please just pay me. I stare in fury at the flyers on the screen — unprinted, unposted. I compose elaborate diatribes about the economy, my slug of a husband, the cost of childcare, and my useless goddamn degree. I get Connor up and we have snack time, we read some books. He goes off to make crashing noises in his room and I read some blogs. I read some celebrity websites. I piffle about on MSN, and suddenly it’s evening and Michael is home and it’s time for dinner.

And I’ve wasted another day.

I am very, very freaked out about June. When we got our taxes (and later our stimulus check), we used the money to pay rent in advance. It’s our biggest bill, and it’s the only thing we just can’t swing on Michael’s income alone. We paid it up through next month, thinking that surely I would have a job by then. I’m not asking for much — part-time would be ideal, and I only need to make $300, maybe $400 or so to cover the gap and leave us comfortable. The trouble is, Michael will not take me jobhunting. He will not get out of bed, he will not dress, he will not take care of Connor so I can faff around with showering and cosmetics. He “forgets” to bring me a newspaper. He “thinks it’ll be fine,” then stays out so late that he sleeps until noon. He’s “too tired” in the mornings to be useful, he “can’t help it.”

It doesn’t seem to matter much, because when I do get a resumé out or an application turned in, employers ignore me. Am I overqualified? Underexperienced? Is my handwriting too messy? I have no idea. It could be our local economy. It could be the dreaded gap, the space in my resumé from childrearing over the past year. It could be my useless degree; who needs journalists anymore? (Not our fucking local newspapers, apparently, but that is a rant for another day.) I get pity offers from friends, and then even those disappear. “So! We want to pay you to come help clean the house and maybe watch our kid a couple of days a week,” they say, and I make all the right noises. “Great!” I say. “Awesome! Tell me when you want me to start!”

Then I never hear about it again. In the past two weeks I’ve considered advertising housework and childcare at ridiculously low rates. Menial, break-your-back kind of stuff for the equivalent of an upraised middle finger per hour. I’d actually go for it, too, but I can’t get Michael to take me to print the flyers or post them. I’ve managed to get some applications out, low-skill office stuff, nothing major but it is a paycheck… and the phone never rings. I thought I had a particular job in the bag, the bosses were riveted during the first interview I’ve had in two years, they told me I was a shoo-in, and then they never called.

Here’s your mental image: Me, breathing heavily, stomping about muttering under my breath. “What the fuck is your problem, people? Why can’t anyone just call me back? What’s wrong with me — what’s wrong with YOU? Don’t you WANT someone who can spell and type and be courteous to clients and keep books and edit things and keep your office running? And you! Don’t you WANT someone who can work silly hours at the cappuccino machine and never once get exasperated with the customers? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD?”

It’s not a pretty picture, so I’ve been avoiding everything. The Internet, because it’s too easy to start an entry and watch it dissolve into a mess of whining and raving. My friends, because I’m tired of the pointed comments about people who are too lazy to work. Michael, because I am so angry that he won’t support me in this. Connor, sort of, because I can’t ever buy him anything nice or take him anywhere cool, and it’s getting to me. And I’m avoiding myself, as much as can be done within the confines of one body, because I feel like such shit. I’m not contributing, I’m not helping, I’m not self-sufficient in any way right now, all I do is try to ask nicely when I need something from the store and stay out of my family’s way. Every argument these days becomes about how crappy and worthless I feel; every argument is about how uneven this household is, and how scared I am that next month will be the end of everything. There are a lot of arguments, these days.

What will we do, mid-June when the bills and rent are no longer paid up and we have less than a thousand dollars to cover $1200+ in expenses? I don’t want to be miserable and poor any more; I like having a little spending money, a little fun money. I’m more than willing to work for it. So why… why… won’t anyone hire me for anything?

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6 Responses to Nothing to see here.

  1. Alicia says:

    I know you’re almost certainly doing this already but I only mention it because it’s habit to me — every day ends with me going over what Mike (Jesse’s brother) should be doing in order to get a job. Are you calling people back? Or just calling them once you’ve e-mailed an app to check up and see if they’ve gotten to it yet?

    You’ve almost got my blood boiling. I’m pissed at Michael on your behalf and I wish I had the cash to swing a trip down to meet you and take you job-hunting/flyer distributing. In the meantime, is there anything fun and frivolous I could send you and/or Conor?

    <3

  2. sarawr says:

    Oh, I’m taking all the right steps — call-backs, thank-you notes after interviews, showing up in person to return applications, etc. I just… am not getting hired.

    I will get back to you on frivolity. Perhaps I will have a job by next week! Or, you know, not. :P

  3. Anne says:

    It could be the dreaded gap, the space in my resumé from childrearing over the past year.

    Seriously? I thought that was only sometimes an issue when women took like 5 years or more out to raise kids and then wanted to return to their career. A year is nothing – that’s standard maternity leave here.

    Does Michael actually want you to get a job? Because there are far better ways of showing it!

    I’m sorry, I hope things improve. Are you guys planning on living there long term – if it was a possibility, somewhere with more employment opportunities might be better for your sanity and solvency.

  4. Alicia says:

    I figured you were. It’s just second-nature with me at this point. Obviously I don’t have a kid but sometimes I feel like I’m raising one anyway. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you! And I do feel your pain, the job market sucks and I frequently feel like, if Jesse hadn’t brought my job to my attention and referred me, that I would still be searching. Dumb luck, I guess.

    But yes, seriously, get back to me on frivolity. I would really love to be able to send you fun stuff. I’m in that sort of mood.

  5. sarawr says:

    Anne: Yeah, it’s an issue here. The standard employers look for is “no gamps longer than three months,” and one month really is best (with the exception of paid maternity leave, which is different from simply being unemployed). Even then, standard maternity leave is six weeks, and many women take longer. It… well, sucks, basically. I had problems entering the workforce after I’d gone back to school, as well; the prevailing thought is that even when taking a full course load, a student can still work at least part-time. We really have no resources to move, either. So… yep.

    Alicia: I get lots of job referrals from friends that would be GREAT… if most places around here didn’t have strict policies against hiring family and friends. The job market here is so, so tight — I think employers don’t want to smell of nepotism, but seriously? How am I supposed to get a referral or give a reference without going to my social circle? Argh.

  6. […] I started actual work on Sunday. Wayyyy back when my jobhunt was still something kind of funny, I said that I needed to make about $300. Such a small amount, such an impossible dream! I’ve been […]

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