Saturday, January 15, 2005

On my Mind

I suppose it's natural, when the snow falls, and people stay indoors more, and the sun goes down at 5pm, for my head to rattle more loudly than usual with random thoughts of various subjects which normally I would avoid. There's simply less to distract me, in the Wintertime.

School is going very well. I have my second round of exams, starting last night, and I'm pretty sure I aced my Anatomy Test. Tonight is Kinesiology, and I know the material reasonably well. At the end of next week - Christmas Eve morning and the night before - I have to work in the student clinic, which is the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time.

School couldn't be much better, and thank God, since I'm so great about stressing the rest of my life. My classes have become my happy place.

My temp agency informed me yesterday, gently, that because of my inability to work in Westchester county past 4:30, they have been unable to place me in any jobs. My agent is a great gal, and has done all she can for me, but this is just how things are in Corporate Westchester County. Nobody cares that I'm willing to come in at 7AM if need be, and never take a lunch hour. Personally, I think it's because everyone in Westchester wants to show up as late as they can - they'd rather stay late in the evenings than get up earlier. I can relate to that... but I'm in night school. I worked maybe a total of two weeks over the last two months. I can't survive on this. I have to find work in Rockland County, or in North Jersey.

Tomorrow I'm going to approach a Staffing Agency in Rockland County. Wish me luck. Work is very hard to find here, and salaries are as tiny as the deep south. People live here, they don't work here.

That said, I am waiting to hear from a large company in New Jersey. If I were to get that job, I would be able to work very normal, even generous hours. My school is a mere few minutes from the company. The job they are looking to fill seems tailor-made for me, and my old boss from three years ago, who I got along famously with, is now a Vice President there. I should be a shoe-in... But they are balking at setting up an interview. I am trying to hold the "story of my life" feelings at bay, but it's hard.

I am out of money. I have no more savings left. I am still pretty deep in debt, and my unemployment checks are too small for me to meet my bare minimum of monthly expenses. I am completely living off of G right now, and I feel ashamed. I shouldn't feel ashamed, I should feel fortunate and grateful. And I do feel those things as well... but mostly, I'm ashamed. It's humilating, being a 34-year old adult with good education and solid work experience... and being out of work for over a year.

G, on the other hand, has just landed a new job in Manhattan, for a nice raise and some very sweet benefits. His career path is solid and straight.

I admit rather ruefully that I spent a certain amount of time poring over what he has that I don't. Well, for starters, a Master's Degree in Accounting, and a Magna Cum Laude Bachelor's degree. And he's bilingual. He said he hated accounting, and the only reason he got that Master's is that he knew what kind of job he'd like, and that employers were looking for people with Masters in Accounting. So he forked over two years of his life and a pile of cash, and bought himself the career ticket he needed. It worked. Couldn't I have done that as well?

Not really. I despise, loathe, and abhor everything to do with finance, bean-counting, and number-crunching, to the point where I exhibit physical symptoms of stress when I try to bite the bullet and do it anyway. I managed the financial operations of my first professional job in Manhattan, back in 1998. I didn't sleep well for a year. My then-fiancee was worried that I would be in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. I would stay until eight or nine at night re-doing calculations, getting different answers six or seven times, until I finally got the same answer twice. Math anxiety. And the knowledge that the Vice Presidents would blame me for any discrepancies. I quit that job after a year, to get married.

So. No Master's in Accounting for me. But... what am I good at?

I won't go into details here, but the sad truth is that my skills are not highly valued in today's marketplace. I don't bring in money, I help retain the customers you already have. That's not what companies are investing in. And Admin Assistant work? Admins are expected to do three times the work for half the pay than they were a few years ago. The post-post-911 economy at work again. And I'm willing to do that! But nobody is biting. I've lost track of how many resumes, how many interviews...

As far as my artistic talents go, I went to the auditions when I was young, and took the classes, and yadayadayada. There was always someone better than me, I suppose. I was never snapped up. Oh, my voice gets attention... but nobody wants to work with me, and for the life of me, nobody can tell me why. I always say that I haven't fallen in with the right bunch of fellas. Secretly I think that nowadays, nobody wants to share profits. Bands don't need vocalists to get gigs. I still think that if I played an instrument, I'd have been able to get work. Still could, even today. But right now, between school and job-hunting, I don't have time to learn an instrument. And I couldn't afford to buy one anyway. And now we're getting silly. Am I really talking about this!?

Every since Big Joe's funeral, I've been keenly aware that my parents and I just don't matter to most people in my Mom's side of the family. We just aren't important to them, now that Grandma is gone. People used to invite us places because they wanted to see Grandma and knew that we were a package deal. It's so clear. It kind of hurts... but frankly, I think this reveals more about them than it does about my Mom and I. Mom and I are not awful people. We're not irritating. We're just different, and in my family, they can't handle that. We're not Catholic. We're liberal. We're polite in spite of that, which puzzles them. We're pretty without wearing expensive clothes and big hairdos and fake nails. We don't wear much makeup, and we read. We read books, thick ones, and we don't watch much TV. When we go to the movies, it's never for the comedies. My family is nothing like us. And frankly... I'd rather be me. I didn't used to feel that way, but I do now.

I miss the family I used to have. I miss some friends that I lost touch with.

No real conclusions here, and that's life.

I have to go cram for my Kinesiology test now. Wish me luck.

No comments: