Never Heard Back

I know some of you were waiting to hear how that job interview turned out. Well, guess what? They never told me. Anything. Since classes started yesterday and I am still 1400 miles away, I am guessing that I didn’t get the job. A friend of mine said it was ‘tacky’ of them not to get back to me. Whatever. I don’t think I’d want to work at a place that disorganized and inconsiderate.

And so here I sit, wondering where to go next.

I wonder what jobs are available for an intelligent, over-educated, opinionated, middle-aged woman. Yes, I have to confess that I am middle-aged now, and wondering if things will ever get crossed off my bucket list. (I still want to go to Scotland and New Zealand, and dozens of other places.) If only I hadn’t screwed up this last job with my 4 weeks of vacation and $120k paycheck. But my mental health is much better by not working there. So the real question is: what is the price of mental health?

Oh, now that’s a topic that should be a blog post all by itself.

Bucket-list is another blog topic too.

Guess I’m just brainstorming now. Wait, that’s out of fashion. Oh well.

My left arm is bothering me today. I’ve got a dull ache in my shoulder and down the arm, with tingling in the hand. No, it’s not a heart attack. At least, not very likely. I’ve been to the ER on several occasions under similar circumstances and my heart is fine. Stress test is fine. What’s not fine is the damn neuropathy and ‘probable’ MS. It could also be that my shoulder is so cramped up from stress and what have you that it’s putting pressure on a nerve. That’s what it feels the most like. I wish I could afford to go back to my massage therapist!

Blah. My life is still boring, that’s why I haven’t written anything. I did make a couple of cute cards so I’ll post those with a 30 days of creativity post. Soon. No, really, soon.

So what should I talk about? I’m really doing a poor job of creating a post today. I’m all rambley and stuff. Brainstorming. That’s it. It may not be cool anymore but I still like it.

Any ideas out there as to what I should write about? My life is pretty dull. 😦

And my arm hurts. Bummer.


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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.

 

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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.

The Conference

Three busy days. There were supposed to be four, but I had to leave early in order to go to a job interview across the country. I got the student housing rate for the conference and I had a roommate for two of the nights. It was weird, but OK. She said something wrong in her talk, but I didn’t correct her. Not my place, actually. That and she came back after I had already gone to bed.

I did run into Dr. Bastard. All he did was nod and say hello. No scene, no conversation, nothing. Oh well, what was I expecting? I had no idea. He got what he wanted (me out of his lab) and I had my own business to attend to. At least he wasn’t nosy or nasty. Just cheerful as if he had met any other colleague, except he didn’t stop to talk my ear off like he would have with someone else.

But you know, when I saw him, I kept trying to think of what my therapist said, “He’s a pathetic man.” And I just kept thinking about that. There was one point, during one of the receptions, I could see him across the room and I’m pretty sure he could see me, that I developed some of that old fear. But then I was talking and laughing with a group of our peers. He might have just been jealous. I did avoid going back for some of the good food just so I wouldn’t have to go to near him. Cowardly of me, I know. But I think when we are faced with our abusers we tend to retreat into the shadows, hoping not to be seen, rather than to confront them. I had no intention of confronting Dr. B, but I do wish I hadn’t been so fearful as to avoid looking at some of the posters just because they were near by. Time will heal this wound too.

I did run into and talk to one of the other people from my former workplace. He’s someone who wants to be a nice guy but has some complicated mental issues. I don’t know exactly what his problems are, but I was told that he has periods when he is “off his meds” and can be extremely difficult -more than usual- to deal with. He has issues with touching (so he and I did not get along at first) and he has some attitude issues sometimes. He doesn’t respect female bosses, he told me that himself. He’s really smart and despite all his eccentricities, I really respect him as a scientist. I had sent him an email to that effect before he retired and I “left” but I didn’t know if he got it. So when I saw him, I told him again. I wanted him to know that I respected him. I don’t know why I felt that was so important, but it was to me. He thanked me, and then tried to change the subject, because I think he is uncomfortable with compliments.

I gave out five copies of my resume and several copies of my card. (Make your own business cards.) I did two interviews (with the same company) and talked to a couple of others. (It is a VERY small conference.) I didn’t get the chance to enjoy the conference part of it as much as I would like to have, but I went there for job searching and networking so I accomplished my goal.

Overall, it wasn’t a negative experience. And I am thankful for that. Maybe next time I won’t be too afraid to go over and view the posters that he is hovering around. Or better yet, maybe he won’t be there next time I get to go to it. I’m sure there will be a next time, just who knows when. 🙂

As an aside… no amount of ADD medicine can help you pay attention through a boring or incomprehensible talk!

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I Didn’t Screw Up!

If you’ve been following my unemployment saga, then you know that I was concerned about how poorly my last phone interview went. I just got a call that they want me to come in for a face-to-face interview! I am blown away!

Now, of course this amps up the pressure on me for the next week.  I have to pack for an extra day of interview wear (what to wear now!) and prepare a class.  I don’t have a class prepared.  Well, I do, but all my notes are in books in garage.  How to find them quickly?!?  (I know, stop typing and go look!  But I had to share this with you.)  I may not be stuck in industry after all!

Sadly, it means I will be stuck with an awkward move situation.  We have to move part of our household now, and the rest during Christmas break.  I have to find a place quickly and be able to move into it soon after I arrive.  DH will have to fly home for his own classes.  We will be separate for a semester.  Also, I have to leave all my friends. 😦  But I know that they will be happy for me.  I have to leave my house, which I love, for the unknown.

There’s lots of unknowns. It’s a yearly contract, 12-mo pay, but no tenure commitment, which is both good and bad.  No security, but no hassle. So there are pros and cons to this type of position.  I would get to teach again.  I would be involved.  I can create a legacy for myself.  And maybe that’s what I want most of all.  To know that when I pass, I have left something good behind.  Something worth remembering.  Even if it’s only for a generation.  Teachers can make such an impact, both good and bad, I want to be one of the good ones.  I know I did it before, so I can do it again.  This time, I’m a little wiser and I know how the game works.  Hopefully there’s no sexism, which is why I lost my last academic job.

I want a forever home and I want a forever job.  Maybe this is it. We will see soon enough.

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Frustrated Today

I’m frustrated.  I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s not like something big happened.  It’s the stress of a lot of little things.  And it probably doesn’t help that I haven’t been writing this blog.  This is my stress reliever.  But since I don’t want to burden anyone with my ‘poor, poor, pitiful me’ bit, I just don’t write.  It seems like I have to have something worth writing about.  And right now, all I’ve got is stress.  Why can’t they make a pill for stress?  They’ve got one for everything else.

So what am I so stressed about?  Well, DH is not here this week.  His mom paid for his ticket to come home for a week.  I leave on Saturday for a conference.  We overlapped our trips intentionally so that we wouldn’t have to kennel the dog as long.  Maybe that was a mistake.  It’s one thing to have DH spend a week away from me, it’s another when that week is right before I leave for my own trip.  I always get stressed out before I go on a trip.  I always have – at least I have for a long time.  It’s gotten worse over the years.  But travel anxiety spiked since 2009 when I we went on weekend trip and came home to find my cat had died.  That horrible memory is burned in my brain.  She was under the guest bed and DH saw her first.  When I looked under the bed I started screaming.  I don’t handle things like that very well.

So I think part of my problem when I travel is that episode is running through my subconscious, even though I have no reason to expect it to happen again.  But my travel stress dates back long before then – it just got worse after Luna’s passing.  Identifying that experience as part of my problem has helped a little, but I’m worked up already.  Worrying about packing, about how to apply for jobs when I’m not even home, making sure my resume is available, I have to make out business contact cards, taking the dog to the vet for his shots before he goes to the kennel.  Oh, and my debit card was declined today.  Probably because I didn’t have any money in my account.

Tomorrow I see my pdoc in the morning and I get my hair cut in the afternoon.  I’ve got to get it colored so I don’t look so old, because ageism is upon me.  I fly back Thursday night, unless the place I phone interviewed for wants me to come out for a face-to-face interview.  Then I will have to go directly from the conference to there for Friday, then back home.  Thinking about the “just in case” is freaking me out. I have to pack for an extra day “just in case”.

I have to start doing laundry for this trip too.  All my work clothes that have been mothballed for a year have to come out of their corner of the closet and be re-washed. I have dishes that will need to be done (can’t leave them for the few days before DH gets home) and calculating lunch and dinner is complicated for me.  I don’t want left-overs sitting in the fridge.  I’ve got to pack breakfast food (in the form of protein bars) because the hotel is one that doesn’t offer a free breakfast.  (Fortunately, I got the student hotel rate, but there’s no student rate on food.)  I have to pack all 11 (or is it 12?) medications for this trip.  I wanted a smaller pillbox, but I haven’t got time to go to Walmart to look for one.  Or maybe I do.  I don’t know.

Aren’t I supposed to be looking for a job???

And that’s a fruitless endeavor too.  Yesterday, today… nothing there.  Nothing.  If I was an IT person, I would have it made.  (At least locally.)  If I had managerial experience, that would open some doors.  If I had specialized in anything other than what I did, I would be in a better position.  This conference is about the only place to find a job in my specialty.  And we still have to exclude anything that requires a security clearance.

So…. yeah, I am so frustrated right now that I want to cry.  (I also had therapy today, which is emotional for me these days.)  So many things to do, but my list only has 4 on it because I can’t even articulate them in my head.  (Although this post is turning into a pretty good to-do list.)  Anyway, I guess the first thing on my list is to go make dinner.

Wish me luck! (and sanity!) 😉


© 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.

Another Phone Interview in Review

Wow.  All I have to say is wow – and not a good wow either.  I told DH, “I was about as eloquent as a bull in a china closet.”  I specifically did not take my Klonopin because I wanted my head to be clear, but I guess I should have taken it.  Maybe things would have gone better.  I took my Straterra – I was focused. My mood has been better since the weekend, so I’m pretty stable.  I just stumbled everywhere.  I couldn’t get the words out.  I couldn’t express my passion for teaching.  I forgot all my analogies, all my anecdotes, all my stories that make me special and a great candidate.

Bomb.  It was like I was a third person watching myself fail.  I didn’t feel like I was failing, I was just watching it.  My words, where were my words?  I can tell you now how I keep in touch with some of my former students and I see the impact I had on their life and it makes me proud.  Why didn’t I tell them that?  My brain simply closed the doors to that knowledge.  I felt so empty-headed. Like staring around you at an empty ballroom. I would start answering a question and then the words stopped flowing.  Ending up with ‘uhm’ and ‘that sort of thing’ trailing off to silence.  I have so many good things to say, why didn’t I say ANY of them?

I probably sound like I am beating up on myself but I’m not.  I’m just frustrated.  I’m wondering to what corner of the universe the language centers in my brain escaped.  Sometimes I stopped myself from saying something that could have been negative, but applying the brakes to any thought process seemed to cause a shutdown of all communication skill.  I could hear the seconds tick by as I raced through my mind, looking for something relevant to the add, something to finish the sentence with.  Gone. Empty. Not even crickets chirping.

I don’t know if I will get called in for a face-to-face interview or not.  I should know by the end of the week.  But this time, I’m not counting any chickens.  Hell, there’s no chickens to count – they flew the coop.

 

Missed the Mark

It’s been a few days since I last wrote, well, nearly a week.  As you might recall from previous posts on the job interview and the waiting, I was very excited and nervous all last week.  Until Friday when I got the email saying nicely that they offered the job to someone else and it was accepted.  So, I was heartbroken on Friday.  I thought I had done everything right.  I thought it was the right school.  But apparently not.  It’s taken me a few days to lick my wounds.

I’ve got one more shot at teaching for the fall semester- I got a phone call from one of the schools where I applied for a lectureship. I have a phone interview on Monday. I don’t have high hopes, I didn’t have high hopes for it when I sent the applications in, but it’s a shot at least.  Take what you can get, right?  I have to go back and find out what research they do at the school because apparently that’s a high component these days.  Really?  I wanted to give up on research (for the most part) for teaching.  Maybe I need to be looking at high school.  I don’t know anymore.  Still in career crisis here.

I’m really running out of options.  I don’t even know how to find appropriate jobs at this point.  It’s too late for the school year, and the thought of working for another company turns my stomach, even if the pay would be good.  I don’t want to leave my friends here but I know that as a professional scientist, I will probably have to move again.  It’s the bane of the highly educated.  You can’t find a job in your field just anywhere.  If I lived in a larger city, then there might be more opportunities for me, but I’ve found in the past that isn’t necessarily true.  You just have to go where you have to go.

That’s where things stand at the moment.  I’m still indecisive about my occupation, and I’m still indecisive about future, and I’m still unemployed.  One more shot left on the horizon before the sunset of university options.  (Not entirely, there’s a couple possibilities for spring semester.) At least I’ve got something to look forward to next week.

PS: I will reply to your comments soon.  Thanks for reading. 🙂

© 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.

The Waiting Game

We’ve all been there. There is something that you are expecting news on and you just have to wait and chew on your fingernails until you hear it: good or bad. I am currently playing the waiting game with two colleges.  One I am losing hope on, the other had told me 48 hours from the Skype interview.  Well, the 48 hours came up and they sent me an email saying that I had nice letters of recommendation and they were in the process of making their decision.  You just want to scream: Pick me! Pick me!  Or a Jedi-mind trick: this is the person for the job.  You don’t need any other applicants.  Everyone I met on that interview was so nice, I want to go there really badly now.  I hope they pick me, but if they don’t, I hope it doesn’t devastate me.

In the meantime, I still have to search for jobs in order to qualify for unemployment.  It’s so difficult.  There’s just nothing I qualify for.  And what I do qualify for, I don’t want.  (Picky, aren’t I?)  Beggars can’t be choosy. I’m not quite to the begging stage yet.  I just feel tired and stressed out over this job situation.  I don’t like being unemployed.  I didn’t like being out on disability either. I want to work.  I want to teach.  I want that job I Skyped for.  My skills fit so well with their research and but the job would be primarily teaching.  (Teaching labs mostly, but you can’t have everything.) The real downside is that it is a yearly contractual thing and not tenure track.  Well, maybe I would do better if I don’t have to worry about tenure.  It’s still a year to year thing, so it does lack a little sense of permanence.  Can’t I just have a forever home and a forever job?  Is that asking so much?  In this economy, probably yes.

I think a lot of colleges are going away from the tenure track positions and more towards the lecturer (yearly) positions.  It’s probably a cost-saving measure as I’m sure they don’t pay lecturers quite as much as they do tenure track.  And of course, there’s no tenure to contend with, so if management changes and they don’t want you anymore, out you go.  It sucks, but it’s true.  And since it’s contract, they don’t pay for unemployment.  You simply are not renewed.  Buh-bye.

I am still crossing my fingers, and hoping and wishing for this job.  I think it’s a great fit.  I hope they do too.

 

Skype Interview in Review

I had my first Skype interview yesterday.  It was kind of odd – very strange medium for an interview.  But I dressed the part even though my office is one of the hottest rooms in the house, despite air conditioning. (By the end of it, my cami was soaked!) We cleaned up and decorated the office so it would look nice for the interview.  I didn’t want them to see how messy I am!  I had to take my glasses off too because otherwise there would be too much glare for them to see my face.

I think the interview went well.  I hope so.  I am really interested in this position, maybe even more so than the phone interview I did for another college.  This place has more interesting research programs.  I still don’t know what the pay is but it’s poor practice to ask in an interview.  The position is on a yearly contract basis, so there is a bit of uncertainty there, but at least I don’t have to contend with the stress of tenure.  I also don’t get the security of tenure. 😦

Overall, I think it went well.  You can get a better sense of people in a Skype interview than via a phone interview.  They said I would know something within 48 hours.  I am so nervous!  I have a good feeling about this school, but I can’t rely on any Jedi-like senses for determining success or failure.  I think this school was more interested in me than the other one, so I hope that they invite me for a in-person interview or even just hire me outright!  (Wouldn’t that be cool?)  I think I am going to need some Klonopin to get me through the next day and a half.  Especially if it takes longer than 48 hours.  Universities move slow.

If anyone can spare some luck, I could use it!  🙂


© 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.