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The Peace Corps is out of the running for now. They pushed the departure date back till January 2014 at the soonest. If I were already employed, the delay wouldn’t much matter, but as a strategy for ending my chronic unemployment, the Peace Corps is not panning out.

It’s been eighteen months, for those of you playing along at home: one and a half years of odd jobs, contract writing, one multi-month temp job at a factory, and no health insurance. That I have managed to stay afloat ought to tell prospective employers about my resourcefulness, but they tend to miss lots of important clues, like my work history and my education and the part where I wrote a book. Prospective employers can be a bit dim, honestly.

I am still applying to all manner of jobs, professional and semi-professional and drooling, in libraries and out. Here’s one thing I’ll say for the employers, regarding me: they’re consistent.

The Foreign Service is not out of the running quite yet. In about a month I’ll find out if I’ve advanced to the next stage. I doubt it, though. Last year 22,000 people took the Foreign Service exam. Four hundred and twenty-five were hired.

A likelier prospect would be taking a position with AmeriCorps, which is like the Peace Corps, but only for a year and you don’t get to go anywhere. That’s part of the point, actually. I would get to stay in Asheville. Intentional locations appeal to me, but Asheville is a top contender stateside, My living stipend would amount to a whopping $12k, but as that’s in the ballpark of what I earned last year, it doesn’t sound so bad. And I would have health insurance!

I’ve applied for seven of these AmeriCorps positions, all with local organizations dedicated to environmental conservation. I am not entirely sure what career I want, but my best guess involves something ecological. This might prove to be a stepping stone.

In late May I’ll know if anyone from AmeriCorps wants to interview me, and if so, I’ll know by late June if I have a job offer.

And then I have the wildcard option: moving to Wisconsin. I would be a live-in companion and mild caregiver for my grandmother.

In the pro column, I would earn a gazillion karma points, and I wouldn’t have to worry about rent or expenses. I like Wisconsin. I would be further from my parents and western North Carolina, but I would be nearer to both sides of my extended family.

In the con column, I would further jeopardize a career that is already looking sickly. And — possibly even worse — I would have to give up my cats. (That would have been true if I’d joined the Peace Corps, and will be true if I join the Foreign Service.)

Companion animals are the number one argument for getting out of bed in the morning. Even with companion animals as demonstrably wicked as Goblin and Gremlin, my life is so much richer for having them.

Also in the con column, I can’t shake the suspicion that living with my grandmother might damage my social life, which has never been what you’d call robust.

I’m going to visit her for a week next month as a very miniature trial run. I’ll compare that experience to any AmeriCorps (or other) positions I might be offered, and make a decision from there.

Meanwhile, if I continue to be as distracted as I have been lately, I hope to recompense you from my neglect of this blog with recent photos of downtown Asheville. If you climb the mountain behind my apartment and cajole my roommate to dig out his camera, the following four pictures result.












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