And now for something completely different

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While it is true that I can be high-strung, I am not manic, nor manic-depressive, nor even moody. I am pretty even-keeled. The keel is not very mellow — I am too intense for that — but it is at least consistent. I am determined and focused, if we are being polite, or I am obsessive and fixated, if we are being mean.

Thus my recent career and education craziness has been completely out of character. I am ready to return to my familiar, trustworthy craziness. This desperate grasping-at-straws frenzy needs to stop.

Unemployment. It makes you do funny things.

I shall start this discussion with a reminder to the HR people at the local libraries and bookstores: I have a perfectly functional MLS and I’d gratefully take a job with you. You all have my resume. Drop me a line.

Meanwhile, I need a job, or I need to go back to school, or both. For several years I’ve been toying with the idea of getting some sort of green job — managing forests or farming vegetables or rehabilitating wild animals or doing something, anything, to do nice things for the planet. And that is still what I want to do when I grow up. That, and I want to write novels for a living. It could happen. It could.

But right now, in this horrid economy, I do not have the education and experience to slide into a green career, not in any obvious way. I could take out a ton of loans and get another degree, but I am terrified that I still wouldn’t be able to find a job. I’d be in exactly the same place I am now, only with a lot more debt. I’m going to start volunteering with a green organization soon, though. Don’t know which one, but it’s going to happen.

I also recently toyed with the idea of becoming a yoga instructor. My yoga instructor from Williamsburg (hi, Jennifer!) suggested it to me, and I think she might be on to something. I’d love to do the teacher training. I might even be able to earn money afterward. I am going to revisit the idea someday when I have a steady income. Right now, unfortunately, I can’t justify spending the money.

To recap: I’d love a book-related job, but I can’t find one right now; I’d love to get a green job, but I can’t figure out how to do that right now; and I’d love to become a yoga instructor, but I can’t afford it right now.

So what can I do right now? I can fret over a variety of different financial doomsday scenarios. I am getting really good at that. As a gift to friends and family, I will fretfully concoct a financial doomsday scenario, tailored specifically to you and your circumstances, for a modest consulting fee.

Also, I can get myself certified as a substitute teacher. That’s what I’ll be doing next week. $150 for the training, the text, and the price of gas, and by 3:30 next Friday afternoon, I’ll be qualified to sub here and in the next county. It may take a while for the calls to start coming in, but once they do, I’ll be able to survive indefinitely on the income, especially when I combine it with my library writing gigs.

Oh, and this evening I started applying to grad school.

Eep! I feel like I’m 18 again. Between school applications and boys, it’s just like being a teen.

(Quick aside: per longstanding policy here at The Lesbrarian, I do not write about my personal relationships, not unless the parties involved wind up in the crime section of the local paper. Suffice it to say that I have met a gentleman. I have met him a grand total of once, but it went well. He does not live in the same town, so it is not a formal relationship, and it might never be; but if it ends in fire, explosions, assault, grand theft, or terrorism, I shall dutifully report it here — and if it doesn’t end like that, it was never a proper relationship to begin with, if you ask me.)

When I was 18, I believed that my intelligence, determination, attitude, and flexibility would be enough to lead me toward fulfilling employment, no matter what I studied in college. I fantasize nowadays about finding my eighteen-year-old self and boxing her in the ear. She was insufferable.

Now I am a jaded 30, and I pretty much insist that any degree I pursue will result in a job. Furthermore, I strongly prefer that any degree I pursue be a distance ed degree. I don’t want to have to drop my classes, even if a fulltime job comes along, even if a fulltime job in another location comes along.

At any rate, this evening I started applying for a distance ed graduate program at one of the state schools. It’s for a master’s degree/teacher licensure in special ed. Two or three semesters, relatively affordable, and I’d be all kinds of employable afterwards. (I would also be more employable as a librarian, especially in the public and school media sectors.) Just as importantly, it’s the kind of job that I think I’d enjoy. We can all agree that someone needs to travel back in time to shake some sense into the 18-year-old Jessica, but even the world-weary 30-year-old version insists on not hating her job.

I wouldn’t be starting until the fall semester. I’ve got some time to submit my application, and some time to change my mind. I will say, however, that it’s been a long while since I’ve been this pleased with a possible career/education combo. It seems to strike the right balance of personal happiness, viability, and affordability. For those of you wondering where in the hell this degree idea came from (“Special ed? SPECIAL ED? Is she out of her bleeding mind?”) I will expand on my thoughts later. For now I’m just pleased that the frenetic scarperings of the past few weeks have quieted down.



7 responses »

  1. Heather J. Smith

    If I remember correctly, the 18-year-old you talked into her banana like a cell phone during music theory class and held an umbrella over her during ear training. Meanwhile, 19-year-old me was trying to escape the attentions of the creepy old doctor in our class. *shivers*I've said it before, but at risk of nagging, I'd say look at newspaper jobs too. This morning, I made a dreadfully dirty pun and watched the sports editor throw a magazine at our news editor, hitting him in the head. Not only am I allowed to be eccentric at this job, it's encouraged. If this job paid actual money, it would be the best employment in the world. And I think you'd be a good reporter.

  2. Heather: It's not that I'm not looking for newspaper jobs. I'm just not finding any.I still use bananas as phones, though, now that you mention it.

  3. eleemosynary archivist

    Greetings Jess, At 30 you've got a great career ahead of that you may rest assured. You're now achieving a balance of some sort & your natural ebullience will add pizzaz to any resume.Keep on learnin', and by all means,keep on WRITING.There are Journalist genes and a gentle eye for human foibles in your makeup. (Watch the eyeshadow)How 'bout "The Jaded Thirty" as a title for your next novel? An advanced Degree-seeking Yoga-teaching Librarian meets a mysterious stranger at a bar in Asheville.He claims to be a deposed Prince from the Royal family of Mustang who barely escaped with the tattered tweeds on his back but got to the coast of China and stowed away on an LPG transport ship that brought him to the Cayman Islands. He's looking for the Road to Unlimited Devotion, but needs a hand programming his newly acquired GPS…He orders you a Grey Goose on the Rocks & waits; Music Maestro,"As Time Goes By" Scratch yr cats behind their silky ears and have a swell day, Kid:)TGB-EA



  6. e. archvivist: Journalism isn't hiring much these days. You may have noticed. Oh well. I'll figure something out. I hope.By the way, the "gentleman" I alluded to has already called it quits. I think I'm getting more efficient at processing these things as I age.

  7. HAZARD ZET FORWARD..Your Knight may still be Errant, but they have outlawed The Corrida in Catalonia, Whoda thunk it. Keep your eye on the Skies..


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