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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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.


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