Tag Archives: unemployment

A change other than the seasons…

I showed up here after I lost my job the first time around.

But that turned out to be only temporary, and I got it back first by half time, and then full – happily telecommuting all the while – and things started moving forward and building up steam and for the last few months I was preparing to uproot my (our) life all over again to return to the city we call home though neither of us was born there, and we’d literally just gotten around to unpacking here…

dead robin*

But then I didn’t get the job, “my” job that I’ve been wedded to for nearly 15 years.

Complaining about the reason why would make me an asshole, and I am not one.

(At least in this circumstance.)

So now I’ve got to start all over again, without tearing at my breast screaming injustice, and wallowing too much in what I’ve loved and lost – it was a divorce, not a death, so I can’t grieve and move on – I have to deal with teary phone calls, people choosing sides regardless of my desire for them not to, colleagues and constituents asking me about things the new “wife” doesn’t know (and won’t for some time), and trying to explain to future employers in guarded language and lies that technically aren’t, why I “left” my last job.

dead grape hyacinths

But there is also a bit of relief – things have been maddeningly up in the air since last November, and many more things were delayed (like the garden) since we thought we were going to have to hurry up and sell the house. But now much of that has turned into anxiety as I scramble to get things back in order for life here while cutting the strings with finality from our old home city and fully completing our move here with all of the administrative annoyances – closing and opening bank accounts, no longer paying taxes in places I no longer live but still worked, changing health plans again (nooooo!!!!), and closing vastly underfunded retirement plans, etc., etc., etc.

It’s almost as if we have moved again, only without the back pain.

garden 16 start

(But our backs are screaming in pain due to rushed garden improvements – some new raised beds, blueberry bushes! a gooseberry bush! rhubarb!, and some decorative landscaping.)

And though I’d been searching for stable work and attempted and failed to go back to school while I was underemployed a few years ago, I thought that things would eventually turn around and I’d have the option of going back at some point in the next few years, but that point came much sooner than expected and with very unexpected results. Now, the job search and/or figuring out the next thing has a greater sense of urgency (though thanks to N we’re not going to starve or loose the house in the meantime) and I have even less desire to pound the pavement and jump back into the morass of shitty politics of my specialty in my field, yet I’m too many years away from other areas in the field so I’m no longer competitive in other specialties I’ve had in the past…

(And it was a happy fluke that I was able to telecommute for nearly four years too – that usually isn’t an option at all in my work – I’ve grown to really enjoy working from home and the thought of a several hours a day commute makes me nearly physically ill.)

dead squirrel*

The taste in my mouth right now is awfully bitter – the widest stretches of the world of art only ever serve the rich and their whims and needless needs, and it is a class in which I will never be comfortable, welcomed, or wish to bow to – so I don’t see much point in continuing a career in temples of poor dead people’s stuff.

I’d like to work in something far more fundamental or necessarily – life and death, food and shelter…

But I don’t particularly enjoy children on a regular basis, I haven’t the stomach for other’s bodily fluids, and waiting tables and construction require stamina and strength that I don’t have much of these days.

So I have no fucking clue which color of parachute I’d prefer now…

dead robin burial

(But I know I’m still coming at this from a place of relative privilege, so all in all, as usual, things could be so much worse.)

*And I’ve no idea how or why this robin ended up tits up in our garden, or this squirrel began melting into the yard (though the troublesome feral cats are likely to blame for him) but N gave them both proper burials underneath a bird-favorite bush that has become the boneyard for small wild things.

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Filed under gardening, home, unemployment

I am [no longer] a statistic…

work-discouraged worker-small

I’ve just been rejected for yet another job opening – at least I’ve been making it to the final round of interviews lately though…

At first I thought I may have been discriminated against for being in my perceived peak baby-making years, but now I’ve made it to the legal category for age discrimination…

Now I hear of vocal fry as a potential reason for not being hired.

My voice doesn’t have that horrid affected one, but due to drippy sinuses and out of control GERD, I definitely sound a bit like I gargle with gravel.

(No one is pointing out that it is also possibly overcompensating for the horrid habit of up-talking in women – I’d rather hear the fry than the question that isn’t.)

I have to blame my failure to be hired on something because being a run of the mill loser is just too depressing.

I’m now in the uncounted/uncountable “discouraged worker” category of job seekers.  Though I’m (at the moment) working  nearly the limit of part-time hours, my telecommuting job is tenuous, ill-defined, and I receive absolutely no benefits.  I have been looking for a better job (in terms of stability and full-time hours for a few years now, but I love what I do now probably more than anything out there).  Now I’m only applying to those things directly in my field rather than the tangential reaches (and wastes of everyone’s time) I formerly applied to to satisfy my quota for partial unemployment (that ran out nearly two years ago anyway).

A weird thing happened during the length of my career wherein it became hip to be a geek, and thus my field was, and is, flooded with brainiacs real and imagined.

Overly large eyeglasses do not make you smart.  The only thing smart about them is that your eyes are protected from the spray of the organic handpicked heirloom ancient sprouted lemon wedge you just squirted into your craft organic heirloom ancient sprouted cocktail.

A career is not hip in itself.

A career is not trendy.

Please step aside if you just really wanted to be an investment banker but were too ashamed to admit it.  It’s okay, you can cover up your tats with your power suit and your asymmetrical hairdo will grow in.

(And I must finally and shamefully fess up that I did not get into a MFA program after working my ass off on a portfolio in the year before we moved.  Looking back, I understand – several of the pieces were weak, and should have been weeded out had I been working on the subject longer and thought things out more, but going back to school is about thinking things out more, isn’t it?)

And did I use up all of my luck when I got in (and received healthy scholarships) to all of my previous applied-to programs?

What about when I turned down that awesome and utterly stable job at that internationally recognized place eight or so years ago – did that damn me forever to failure?  (Especially since the only reason I didn’t take it was because what would have been my office didn’t have a window…)

But I think it may have been the bigger-than-life-sized stuffed koala bear I won in a drawing when I was nine – that sucked up 74% of my lifetime’s good fortune right there…

So I hang my fried greying loser head in shame, and plod on wondering if I need to go through that whole reinventing myself bullshit…

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Filed under art school, unemployment

Unwelcome anniversaries and considering the future…

It’s been about a year since we sold our house, leaving my old studio and city behind, and we still haven’t found a new place to live.

And it’s been over a year since being becoming vastly underemployed, partially unemployed, and a beaten-down depressed chronic job seeker with no prospect in site and more rejections (or just silence) than a sane person can handle.

unemployment

For the first six months I was generally stunned, then I started this blog to force myself to organize my projects and to start writing again – an act that grad school pretty much killed well over a dozen years ago.  My graduate degree is a practical/professional one and though it has led to wonderfully interesting jobs dealing with other people’s art and historic things, I’ve long been thinking of going for a MFA.  I have a BFA in studio arts, and I’m a little hesitant to tell you that it’s in photography, specifically darkroom photography.  And I’m reluctant to say so because I still can’t get the hang of or love for this digital thing and I’m struggling with an aging cheap-ass point and shoot that goes to absolute shite in less than bright light, and chooses its own color schemes for life… I think that is the whole white balance thing… so don’t judge me based on my blog pics (and I’m talking to you DSLR fairy).  But back to the school question – last fall I visited some grad school open houses and felt a bit stunned again.  I thought I wanted to keep pursuing photography (and that’s where my portfolio is strongest) but the “studios” were windowless offices with computers.  Sure, they had a few darkrooms but they didn’t seem to be used, and the professors’ work didn’t appear to be wet… I felt very old and sad.  On a whim, I checked out the fiber arts studios and whoopie!  I felt so much better but I don’t have much of a portfolio of fiber “art.”  And herein lies the rub and the shreds and threads of my thoughts:

I like photography partly because of the extra semi-nonthinking processes involved – you could always print when you hit a slump just like with fiber you can always spin/cut up something/trim/baste/back/dye/card, etc.

My original beloved medium of wet/darkroom photography has nearly gone the way of the Dodo, and yet I’m still attracted to aging/ancient practices that have no footing in “technology.”  (Maybe I need to start a group for Paleo artists!)

A MFA won’t necessarily aid in securing employment but would compliment my other degree and open up teaching opportunities (yeah, like those aren’t scarce too… yeah, yeah).

And oh, by the way the only way I could afford it is if I got some sort of fellowship/scholarship/TA position, so I should just stop thinking about this now.

And art schools specifically don’t want unemployed people in them who are choosing this time to go back since they can’t get hired.

But the only themes I keep circling around for developing a portfolio deal with unemployment, so I need to either portray myself as making a statement about others, or embrace it and own it and make it big and mine.

But fiber art is still not considered an art (but a craft) by some (which is also a bit of a problem with photography as well).

Fiber art is still largely considered a feminine practice and that carries various implications, many financial.

Art school has a huge population of those stinking to high hell of bullsh*t.

I would have to be earnest and appear to struggle with some existential/feminist/socialist/inter-planetary/scientific/somethingistic ennui that is reflected in my work lest I be considered just a bored housewife dabbling with a hobby.

And if I don’t get the legitimacy of a terminal degree behind me and just stick with my own thing, won’t I always be stuck in the darkening hole of selling more affordable, practical, crafty things at shows and online?

Craft is now all over the place and exciting and annoying and everything in between, but turning more and more annoying, really annoying – commercial and saccharine and too much group think and fan clubby.

So many “crafters” are making amazing art and some “artists” are making crappy craft, where is the line?

And fiber crafters have a large conservative population who can get their panties in a bunch over a quilt that says “fuck.”  Really?  Good god, there are some many horrid things in this world that your politicians and corporations are doing and you deem a quilt offensive?

And Etsy etc. has really f*cked up the independent crafter/artist.

Technology has been a mixed f*ckery as well – I hate social media yet it is required these days and can really get you out there, yet an “artist” can’t look too approachable lest she seem more of a “crafter?”

And don’t get me started about the f*ckery of images being stolen from artists on the web – I’ve been following this blog about an artist who got massively f*cked by online image theft, or of clothing companies blatantly stealing indie designer’s work.

So these days artists have even more opportunity to get f*cked (unless they can already afford to be one through independent means and then are you an artist or just a rich kid with a paintbrush?).

And then art museums are full of fat-cat f*ckers and funded and run by people I generally despise.

And ultimately I just got majorly f*cked by the museum world so why would I want to skate so close to it again?

Yeah, everything is just a little bit f*cked up right now.

fiddlyfuck*

(But it could be worse, much, much worse so I can’t complain toooo much….)

*Title courtesy of N’s late salty old grandfather who used the term in noun form when the grandchildren weren’t doing anything productive as in, “Quit playing fiddlyf*ck.” 

And I keep using the * in “bad” words in an effort to deflect censorship/filters, etc. – does that even work and/or is it even necessary…?

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Filed under art school, sewing, unemployment