Sunday, December 23, 2007

So I'm having, I think, a quarter life crisis. I'm just about 30, I can run 5 miles a day easily, I am in exceptional health, so barring natural disaster, a serious accident or sudden cardiac death, it is conceivable that I will live to 120 thereby making this quarter life. Well really I will probably only live to 90 so this would be a thirder life crisis, which doesn't even make sense. Anyway I digress... I stopped teaching high school on December 12. Now what? I went into teaching in 2004 because it just made sense. I had been working in corporate media for a few years and the market was extremely volatile due to both 9/11 and the dot bomb disaster. Most jobs were temp to permanent, but by the time the 6 month temporary term rolled around the conditions of the agreement changed the position you were being permanently hired for, or there was some glitch in the system which kept you from having benefits. The choices were consistently the same -- leave or take this deal which is less than you signed on for. I opted to leave. By the end of 2003 I had worked for a magazine that lost its ad share and then folded and in three contract positions all lasting 6 months or less. The last contract position was in northern NJ and I was so convinced by the company and my own blind ignorance that this was the job that I would be able to find stability in that I relocated from Hoboken to Ridgewood and bought a car to get to and from work (previously I was able to use the Path). But like all the others, six months rolled around and the company was in the midst of a public spin off from its parent company and they laid off my entire department and outsourced our work to a private consulting firm. Frustrated, angry, among other expletives, I had no idea what to do next. Within that same week, after 14 months of interviewing, Joe was hired with his current company. We'd been together four years at that point. It felt like shit or get off the pot time I guess. Or maybe I just really needed a place to be. Who knows? I broke my new lease, put all of my stuff in a UHaul, drove to Albany where I stored everything away in his parent's basement and I took off in my car for two months on a road trip back to Florida to pick up my kid sister and drive her all around the country to visit colleges she had gotten into so she could decide where to go. I got back to Albany in October and helped Joe pack up his stuff. We were in Syracuse, where his new job relocated him/us by the end of January. He was in training class after training class and I spent the better part of the winter and spring unpacking us and settling into our new apartment. I quickly got a job bartending to start contributing to our household while I figured out what was next. I sent out 40 resumes easily, but over and over again I heard that my resume was too shoddy and showed instability. I wanted to pound my fists on these HR people. You think I don't know this? Do you HONESTLY think I CHOSE to job hop? My final interview was with a PVC pipe company working for their PR department. Now what type of PR a PVC pipe needs I don't know, but when they offered me the job, I turned it down and nearly fell apart. How, no seriously, how was this my life? I thought it was all laid out for you. You bust your ass in high school, go to a good college and bust your ass there and then you graduate, get a good job and move on. How was it really this hard? I had had enough. I wanted two things from a job: 1.) stability 2.) the ability to be flexible. By this I mean I had already jumped on the Joe train. His career was taking off while I was still pouring SoCo and Lime shots for people in the 30's looking to get laid. I needed to be flexible, find something that fit his career. Most of all I didn't want to face another interview at a plumbing company again...ever. I made a list of things I like to do. I came up with four things: travel, exercise, read, and write. Now truth be told, I went to Newhouse as an undergrad with the dream of becoming a travel writer. I graduated only to find out that in order to be a travel writer you had to pay for your own travel, write about it, then pitch it in a query, hope that it gets picked up so you can afford to travel again. And, well, I was 21 and broke. So that dream dissipated about as fast as beer on St. Patty's Day. Back to the dilemma at hand; since the only way to get paid for exercising is to be a trainer and that's kind of a joke of a job, I was left with reading and writing. Somehow teaching came out of that. I never really wanted to teach. None of my family were teachers. I didn't think it was a cool job. It didn't really excite me. But it would allow me to read and write. It would allow me to move all over God's creation with Joe and still have a job. It would allow me to pursue actual writing over the summers. And above all things -- it was stable. (Anyone who knows what I am going through right now can chuckle at that last statement with me). So within three weeks I had applied, been accepted and started taking classes toward matriculating into an education program at SU. And just like that, I became a teacher. To say this profession never fit me would be a gross understatement. But I've been working in it for quite some time and now I am faced with a new dilemma, same as the first one, but now 5 years and one advanced degree later. What am I doing with my life? I am without a job, temporarily, and at a crossroads where I can either go back to what I was doing before, even if it's not what I want to do, or I can jump ship. To create a higher sense of problematicity I am now 28 and married and my husband and I want to eventually start a family. We've both agreed that when the time for kids comes that I will stay home to raise them. This I am glad to do. I can't stomach the idea of handing someone else my baby so that I can go out and pound the pavement in the name of XYZ. So here I am at 28 and I feel pretty worthless. I have never really pursued any of my own goals. Just my husband's goals and I feel like a coattail rider. I've never worked in something that I love. And I don't know what that would be. I am going to leave the workforce entirely in less than 5 years and I've never even had a career. And I am stumped and I feel futile. And I am so over this feeling that somehow I've drawn the short straw.

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