Six Weeks

I’ve been on unemployment for six weeks now with no hope of finding a job.  Well, not exactly true… with little hope of finding a job.  I am very discouraged today.

I am tired and worn out, and I feel weak.  Physically weak.  This is probably because I couldn’t sleep last night.  We went out to dinner and the movies with a good friend (a splurge) last night and I ate too much at dinner but forgot to take my meds.  Ate too much popcorn (still no meds) so when I came home, I had to eat something in order to take my meds.  By this time, I was sick with eating.  The popcorn really did me in, and I had a stomachache all night.  I tried to sleep, but kept having thoughts about jobs (past and present) and after a restless couple of hours, I decided to get up and read.  My stomach didn’t settle down until after 5am, and I didn’t go bed until 6am.  Consequently, I didn’t get up until 1pm today.  By then, the whole day is wasted.

Worst of all, I missed a job fair in the city today.  But there was no way I could safely drive down there on a couple of hours worth of sleep.

I went to “job school” on Tuesday where they talked about job hunting, resumes and interviews.  It was a requirement for unemployment.  But all I feel now is guilty.  I’m not doing enough, but what can I do?  I’m just not qualified for things. Jobs that have no requirements, people wouldn’t hire me for, nor could I stand working at (such as a job at Walmart or some other retail position).  I’d become suicidal, which was what happened last time I was unemployed professionally and working as an administrative assistant.    (I’m not knocking admin assistants – they are great people and do wonderful jobs, but I’m not the kind of person who can handle it.)  One of the things job school talked about was good old fashioned legwork.  Going to businesses and knocking on doors and leaving resumes to see if they have any positions available.  Yeah right.  Can you see me at the local Dodge dealership asking if they need a PhD scientist?  Or at a State Farm agent’s office?  Should I go work for Starbucks?  I hear they have great benefits.  I would be mortified anytime I saw someone from work.  I can’t even bring myself to tell people that I’ve been laid off because I find it too embarrassing.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Today is just not a good day.  No creativity today.  (I’ll get back to that soon.)  No energy today.  I just want to crawl into a hole.  I don’t know what I am looking for anyway.  I don’t know what I will do if I can’t find anything.  All I know is that when I was standing up there in the classroom teaching a couple of weeks ago – it was the most natural thing in the world to me.  Now if someone would just hire me.  Permanently.

6 thoughts on “Six Weeks

  1. I’m so ignorant on this topic, so forgive me. But, how do PhD scientists find positions? Seriously, is there a job bank for your specialty or do you have to physically go to universities, labs and the like to drop off a resumes?

    • Mostly it’s through trade magazines or company websites. Networking will get you further in industry; academics relies more on advertisements. Sometimes you just “hear” about things. If you have a university nearby, sometimes you can go and drop off your resume or meet with the department chair. It’s actually very difficult to find positions, especially since my background is very focused on one thing. I am thinking about changing careers (even harder) or teaching high school. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. 😦

  2. Oh, how frustrating! My fingers are still crossed for a reprieve. Maybe there’s volunteer work you could do in the meantime to help give the daily grind a bit more meaning?

    I don’t even want to think about the job market, though I’m in a pretty good position for it (or will be when I finish my postdoc.) It’s damn grueling for PhDs. Too many of us, even though there are so few of us, you know?

  3. You’ve got me thinking about volunteer work, Dee Dee. It’s not the first time I’ve thought of it, but it might be helpful especially in my current situation. I don’t know if there are rules against volunteerism while on unemployment or not. You never know what is allowed. I know when I was out on medical leave I couldn’t do any of that stuff or make any money. (I can make money while on unemployment, just not much.) I’ve been thinking about a part-time job. Where will I find a part-time job that I’m not too embarrassed to take?

    It is tough to find a job as a PhD. I would be so much more employable with a bachelors or a masters degree. Especially because today’s employers don’t want to pay what they have to pay for a PhD. So other than academia… what else is there? Even in academia, there is a trend away from tenure-track and towards contract lecturer positions. They still expect a PhD but some of these positions are described as the equivalent of teaching assistantships. I’ve been out of school for too long to be a TA. The last time I was unemployed, I started taking my PhD off my resume. That’s how bad it can get – or how desperate I can get. Let’s hope this time things go better.

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