Feeling Worthless

I’m feeling pretty worthless and full of regret. Regret does no one any good but still it seems instilled in me – when you feel like crap make sure to make it worse because it can always be worse. That sounds like a rambling bit of bullshit, doesn’t it?

The job search thing is going poorly. I am trying to apply to places but I don’t have what it takes to get a job, it seems. No callbacks, nothing. How can I be so smart and yet so useless? I emailed a friend of mine last week for help but she has been busy and hasn’t been able to get back to me. I talked to her tonight but she is swamped trying to get a proposal uploaded before the deadline. She didn’t hear me but I was near to tears when we got off the phone. Oh, it’s nothing she did, it’s just knowing that these are the things that she and I used to do together when I worked there. Things that I should be doing, had I not gotten kicked out of academia for being female.

I feel like crying and yet not crying. I want my old teaching job back. I even want the hell of a job I had here back. I wouldn’t let them make me crazy this time. It would be different, I swear. That’s probably just a lie I am telling myself. I’m still crazy, it’s just a matter of which level.

I’m having a hard time being a scientist, or thinking of myself as a scientist. I need a better research proposal for my job applications so DH suggested I research carbon nanotubes. There are thousands of papers on carbon nanotubes. Probably hundreds published every month. How am I supposed to come up with a novel idea centered around carbon nanotubes when there is so much out there and no foreseeable path? If this were a dream, I would be trapped, wading through a forest of carbon nanotubes finding no end and no beginning. No water, no light, naught but an endless forest. That’s how it feels right now. I feel hopeless.

They say there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I don’t see any light. It’s dark as pitch and I can’t feel my way. My mind is blank – devoid of anything useful. All my senses are gone – defunct in this quest for survival. All I want is to teach, to be a university professor, but apparently so does everyone else. The competition is fierce and overwhelming. My four years of experience teaching seem to be a waste of time as I don’t even get callbacks for phone interviews. Why has my life gone awry?

I no longer recommend going to college. I especially don’t recommend going into science. And whatever you do, don’t waste your time on a PhD. It’s fun while it lasts, but eventually it will mean nothing more than you aren’t employable.

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Every Student Deserves a Chance

I was substitute teaching today and something happened in my last hour class that upset me. I had just enough papers for all the students but no extras. There was a teacher’s assistant in the room and she wanted to know what they were working on. I offered her the teacher’s copy but she declined. Instead she walked over and took a student’s paper. I thought she would give it right back but she didn’t. After about 10 minutes the student looked at me imploringly. So I took the teacher’s copy over to her and asked if we could trade. She looked at me and said, “[student] never does his work. He just sits there. That’s why I took his paper.” I gave the paper back to the student. Wouldn’t you know, he did the work! I was angry afterwards but it’s not my place to say anything. She had access to the teacher’s copy so why take a student’s? Every student deserves a chance to learn.

Me? A Good Sub?

OK, this has come up twice now, so I thought I should blog about it. Last week a student at the end of class said, “You’re a good sub.” He was a very nice kid as he helped with attendance and then put up most of the chairs in the room (last class of the day for that teacher). I said thank you and told him he was a good student. As for internalizing the compliment… well, it was all disbelief. Why would he say that I was a good sub? The class was average, my attitude was average (for me) and by average, I mean I had to raise my voice but I didn’t send anyone to the principal’s office. So why me? I discussed this in therapy today. My therapist asked why would he tell you that if he didn’t mean it? I’m sort of stumped on that one.

Then there was today. For my last class, a girl came up to me at the beginning and said, “Ms. Monday, you are my favorite sub. Can I have a hug?” I was shocked (again) and I gave her a hug. It wasn’t until later, when I was telling my husband about it, that he pointed out that maybe I wasn’t supposed to hug her. Maybe it is against school rules. Now I am going to worry about that all weekend. So I was having a great day until that little worry came up. Now I don’t know what to think. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, otherwise I’m out of another job.

Oh well. I’ve still been complimented on being a good sub twice now in the past few weeks. A few more times, and I might believe it. Maybe I was meant to teach secondary school after all.

MP3 Players are Lollipops

I learned something while subbing today. For a teenager, the right to listen to your mp3 player, or more likely, your phone, is like giving a little kid a lollipop for being good. That’s right, teenagers respond to bribery just like anyone else, and that bribery is music. You might desperately want to tell them to sit down and shut up, but you can’t, so you say the next best thing, which is please sit down and be quiet but that really doesn’t get you anywhere. However, threaten to take away their music, and they will quiet down.

I also got some supportive chats from the nearby teachers. One of them said the most important button on your phone is this one, and he pointed to the office. He said, it’s like John Wayne toilet paper. It’s rough, it’s tough, and it doesn’t take crap. He told me to use that button whenever they give me trouble and send them down to talk to the principal. Right now I feel fired up enough to send the whole class down there, but everyone assures me that it doesn’t take the whole class, just a few students. Man, I have to get up the courage to do that.

I have another day of subbing tomorrow. Wish me luck!


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Unhelpful Employment Office

I shouldn’t be too hard on the lady, she really is trying to help.  Maybe there is a grain of truth to things, which is making me feel uncomfortable.  Let me start over.

I’ve been working with this nice lady from the employment office, who I will call Carol.  She is very perceptive and a bit of a counselor.  Her job is to help people find jobs.  She teaches a class on job hunting (it was a requirement for me to take it) and one of the things they talk about is going door to door with a resume in hand meeting receptionists and finding out about the company, then leaving your resume with them.  There’s a story about an IT guy who lost his job and found a new one within three weeks by going door to door. (So to speak.)  She’s telling me to do this too.  Right.  When I have a very specialized background?  She also said that I need to focus my job search in order to focus my resume.  She’s not going to help me with my resume until I can determine what fields I want to focus on.  I feel helpless.  If I knew what the hell I wanted to do, wouldn’t I be doing it?

Research: yes, I enjoy it, but do I love it?  No, love is too strong a word.  Am I any good at it? Yes and no.  I’ve always been good at some aspects of it but poor at other aspects of it.  I’m not a good organizer and sometimes I have trouble thinking outside the box.  Yes, seriously, a bipolar who can’t think outside the box.  I get curious about things, but then my curiosity fades and I’m bored.  (I am so easily bored.)  I don’t know if I am really any good at research or not.  I love analyzing data and looking for trends, which then lead to answers.  Is that research?  Yes, but you need to have an idea to explore in the first place.

College Teaching: yes, I enjoy it, but I don’t always have the answers.  Students expect that you always have the answer for things.  It took me years to make my intro courses into something I could be proud of, but my upper division courses were always a mess.  I couldn’t even follow things in the textbook – it was worse than being a student the first time through.  How did I get my PhD in the first place?  It must have been a miracle.  I’m doubting my teaching skill as well.  I went to Rate My Professor .com and looked up my scores.  Pretty sad. 😦  Well, sad for someone who really cares about what they are doing.  I got an overage average score of 2.5/5.

I’m not going to find a job teaching now, we’re well into the fall, so that’s irrelevant.  I thought about high school and Carol asked me why I hadn’t applied for my teaching certification.  She pointed out that there must be a reason.  I didn’t tell her this, but yes, there is a reason.  I’m terrified.  I’m afraid I will do it and get the job and discover that I hate working with children/young adults.  She suggested that I try substitute teaching.  It’s $60 for the background check and fingerprinting.  It pays $50/day.  So two days worth of work and I have paid for the background check.  I guess it’s worth applying.  It would at least tell me if it’s a job I would enjoy, tolerate, or utterly loathe.

I mentioned putting on weight.  She said “you know the solution to that, don’t you?”  Get up early, go for a walk, etc.  It will help with the depression, give you more energy, blah, blah, blah.  Like my problems with depression are going to be solved with a walk every morning?  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be on Paxil, Lamictal and Geodon.  And even then I’m still struggling.  No, she doesn’t know the details.  And bipolar is one big detail.

I know she’s trying to be helpful, but telling me about her life and how she tries not to let her impending divorce get her down doesn’t make me feel any better.  I feel worse.  She has a full-time job, kids to raise, etc.  I have none of that and I still can’t get it together.  Tomorrow is another day was her message.  What I hear (emotionally) is that she can do so much more in her day than I can do in mine.  Just writing this post has taken me nearly an hour and I haven’t even started editing yet!  I’m so slow at everything, which is why I don’t work well in a fast-paced environment.  (Although, believe it or not, I do type relatively fast and with two hands!)

So why am I writing all this tonight?  It’s not to bash the nice lady at the employment office.  She means well.  And I think door to door resume submissions might work for some people, but won’t work for me.  I don’t want any of the jobs I’ve already had.  I don’t know what I want.  Maybe it’s time to start my own business, except I don’t think I could handle that either.  What I do know is that my last job was a mistake (except financially) and I should listen to my instincts in the future.  Unfortunately, my instincts aren’t talking right now.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Applications

I hate filling out applications. It becomes so disheartening. They always ask: What was your reason for leaving?  I got fired, OK?  It’s more than that, my therapist even said so, but that’s the short answer.  I was let go.  That sounds so much better than I was fired.  At least when you are let go you get unemployment.  And believe me, unemployment helps.

Let me recap my experiences for you:

I lost one because of my bipolar.  I was dumb enough to tell them about my Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar diagnoses.  The company was in the process of downsizing anyway and they couldn’t count on me to be in the office with my medical issues. I sued them unsuccessfully.  This is why I will never tell another employer about my bipolar.

I lost my academic position because of sexual discrimination.  I had always suspected it was an administrative decision, but one of my former students came across a memo from the dean to the chair stating that they were impressed with my progress as a teacher.  This was less than six months (including summer) before I was berated by my department chair for poor student evaluations.  I also learned from another student that my evaluations were not as bad as stated because he had seen them.  He also found out that the chair had the good ones removed and shredded.  Can you believe this?  I considered suing the university for sexual discrimination but decided against it.  After all I was going on to a $100+k job – it wasn’t worth my time and effort.  Everyone knew that I deserved to have my contract renewed – except the people who had the power to make such decisions.  Part of me berates myself for losing that job even though I didn’t do anything wrong.  I stood up for myself, my students, and what I thought was right.  I rubbed the wrong feathers the wrong way.  I don’t regret what I did there.  But as a friend of mine put it, if you rise above the rest, someone is likely to chop your head off.

I really blame myself for this last job.  I couldn’t handle the people, the pressure, the work.  I was out of my element and I hated what I was doing.  All my mental illnesses began to implode as I worked with the narcissist and his henchman.  I lost grip on reality and I lost my grip on myself.  The harder I tried to hold on, the more my illnesses bled through, mixing into the pot of bad blood between my coworkers and myself.  My PTSD skyrocketed.  I started having nightmares several times a week.  I was afraid to go to work.  When I was there, I couldn’t concentrate.  Something would happen and I would be out working off my temper or crying in a friend’s office.  I wasn’t effective.  I couldn’t be effective.  Add to all that my injuries and several work-related relapses, they determined I was no longer fit for duty.  I hadn’t been fit for duty for a while.  I should have been out on mental health leave a year earlier.  Maybe none of this would have happened then.  My wrist wouldn’t have been injured and maybe my right arm would have been fixed sooner.  I don’t know if either will ever be 100%.  I gave too much of my soul to this job for the sake of a lucrative paycheck and a little prestige.

Now I’m filling out applications again.  And faced with the question: What was your reason for leaving?  You can’t write: sexual discrimination. You can’t write: forced out for medical reasons. So sugar-coat it and call it contract not renewed, received other offer, company downsizing. What else can I write? I wasn’t needed, I wasn’t wanted anymore. End of story. But that’s difficult to handle, even when your therapist says, “it wasn’t your fault.” Because yes, some of it is my fault. It’s my fault for not trying harder. It’s my fault for letting people get under my skin. It’s my fault for being dumb enough to share personal information. Information is a weapon. This is why I write anonymously.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Word Yet

Well, I’m getting pretty anxious here. I still haven’t heard from the college and I’m starting to get depressed. (It doesn’t help that I woke up with a stomachache and haven’t felt well all day.) I know, I know, administration can take their time, but really, I should have heard by now. Most of the day is over on the East coast.

What I don’t understand is why. Why am I not getting jobs? I’m getting interviews, but not jobs. Where am I going wrong? I used to never have this problem. If I interviewed, I got the job. But I was usually hypomanic. I’m not hypomanic. I am boring old stable me. Should I go off my meds? Would that help?

I just don’t get it. I know, I know, they still might call. But my hopes are dwindling by the minute. And here I got my car repaired ‘just in case’. I’ve been pre-planning ‘just in case’. I know I said I wasn’t going to count my chickens before they are hatched, but I was counting eggs and trying to find room in the coop for the chickens ‘just in case’. I feel like smashing all the eggs right now.

Sorry, I’m just not in a good mood today. My BFF is on her way over soon so hopefully that will cheer me up. I don’t know what to do. Will I ever teach again? Or are people meeting me and wondering about my age? I always thought that was more of a problem in industry than academia, but maybe I’m wrong. Or is it something else? I sometimes feel like they can look at me and see that I am crazy. Is there a big sticker on my forehead?

I am so sick and tired of being unemployed. I hate this. I hate waiting. I hate today. 😦

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.