cultivated optimism

My follow-up interview today went really well. It was a one-on-one meeting with the head of HR, and it felt more like a conversation than an interview. I should know either way probably next week. It’s miraculous to think that one can apply and find out within the same year…

This weekend we have a number of social engagements, which is absolutely what I need. We are really meeting some cool people here. I don’t want to speak prematurely, but it seems like moving to Albuquerque was the best decision we made. Time will tell if I still feel this way in the future.

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nails for breakfast, tacks for snacks

If ever you are looking to leave academe and find work in the “real world” (I hate that mentality, but…), let me give you one piece of advice. Interviewing for non-A work is really, REALLY weird after having spent four job cycles on the academic market. It almost feels like a let-down. But let me go back to the beginning.

I woke up this morning in a panic because I’d forgotten to go print up my transcript as they’d requested. I dashed over to Kinko’s before 8 to print, and ended up getting to come home for another 20 minutes before heading out for the interview. I still managed to get there way early, but it did allow me time to decompress and zone in.

The written portion was simple enough: Write an essay on the 3 strongest job-related assets I would bring. Then I had to “present” my essay to the interview panel at the end of the interview. Kind of weird, but obviously I had no problem with that. I am good at writing and speaking on the fly after 4 years in the collegiate classroom!

It was kind of weird sitting across the table from a fire deputy chief and a police deputy chief in uniform during my interview. Fortunately, they were nice, professional people who put me right at ease. There was also an HR person there, too. The whole interview (written and spoken) lasted all of 50 minutes. It felt so easy compared to the some of the firing squad-style interviews I have faced. They asked decent questions, and I felt like I gave good answers and established a positive rapport. They must have agreed, because I got a call 2 hours later asking me to come interview tomorrow afternoon with the head of HR.

Is it possible that I could get the first job I interview for? That almost never happens in academia, but I welcome the possibility. There are other good jobs I have applied for, but if this works out first, so be it. I’d make over twice what I could on unemployment, I would have benefits, and I could move on with my new career. Good, positive thoughts, por favor?

take these sunken eyes and learn to see

In addition to my upcoming interview (keep those good thoughts coming, people), I forgot to mention that the Spouse has a phone interview for a pretty good job tomorrow. There also may be another potential opportunity for him doing something that he really wants to do, although it is not yet clear where things stand on that.

I have made valiant efforts to get out and meet people, and it’s going well. I had lunch today with a person who works at a local college and has very similar interests to mine. She knows a few people that I know from the local university, and is a cool person in her own right. We already have tentative plans to meet up again with spouses/kids in tow for a weekend coffee break. Some friends of ours from back in Alabama are in town for a visit and introduced us to some amazingly cool people that they know here. We’re both hoping to get to know them better and have even more cool friends in our new home.

In other interesting news, I may be participating in a clinical drug trial for people with my particular type of IBS. I’m not sure if it will have any positive benefit for me, but I’m certainly game for helping researchers figure out why the hell people like me suffer as we do. It’s been somewhat hard following my diet here, although I do have much better access to ingredients that fit with my restrictions. Avoiding onion and garlic is a toughie, since most of the chile sauces here are made with at least garlic, if not onion, too. Most all salsas have onion in them. Some places don’t have wheat-free bread. However, the grocery stores here have been a godsend. Trader Joe’s happens to carry awesomely cheap (and awesome) corn pastas, so that allows us to eat pasta frequently without going broke. Our local natural grocery store sells loaves of spelt flour bread for the same price as regular bread. I finally tracked down asafetida powder, and boy does that stuff stink! I currently have our bottle sealed in two Ziploc bags, and yet I manage to catch a whiff of it here and again. I am almost scared to put in my food for fear of what it might taste like (and what I’ll smell like later).

Once we are both gainfully employed, I am thinking of taking some sort of class. My first thought is to do flamenco class, although I am not sure what I do with that outside of class. Maybe belly dance? I took classes a while back and enjoyed them, but again, I am not sure what I do outside of class. I’m pretty sure that whatever I do will be some sort of physical activity, so that I can find other ways of staying fit. Biking is loads of fun, but I feel like I need to diversify a bit.

sooooooo…

I have an interview next Thursday morning for a really cool job that takes advantage of my skill set in a very interesting way. I got the call early this afternoon, and was of course terribly excited. The pay is decent, the benefits are good, and yay, possibilities!

I have applied for a couple other interesting positions, and I have my unemployment benefits to get us through until something is finalized. I am feeling much, much better about things.

are we there yet?

Now I am so over and done with being unemployed. Just done. I can almost feel my brain cells dying off from lack of use. There is a lot I would like to do, but money always ends up being the thing that keeps it from happening. It’s hard not to feel like my house is a prison. I try to get out when I can, but the highlight of my day is often a trip to the grocery store. Most of my time I am cooking, cleaning, reading, watching TV, or surfing the internet. Hardly a scintillating existence.

Add to that the fact that I know almost no one here and my primary social interactions are with someone who is stressed about his own job search and ardently studying for a bar exam he most certainly does not want to take. I wish I had the money to go visit friends or family so that I could feel some semblance of normalcy and sanity.

How did I go from being a published, award-winning young scholar to a bored and frustrated housewife? I shouldn’t be surprised that I am unhappy, yet I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

puttin’ the fun in funemployment

The ennui of being jobless is starting to get to me. There are only so many things I can do in the house, and it’s driving me crazy. The battle against dust is never-ending here, and I’ve even been mopping multiple times a week. Some of it is legitimate, but some of it is just boredom. Kind of sad.

On the upside, I have the time and energy to go for awesome bike rides. I did almost 10 miles yesterday, and almost 14 miles today. My goal is to build up to 20 miles by my birthday, and I want to be able to do 50 miles before the end of the year. There is a fantastic trail very close to my house that runs up the entire North-South length of Albuquerque along the Rio Grande, and it makes for an idyllic ride. I usually leave as the Spouse heads off to his bar prep course, and ride for a little over an hour. I think if I ride like that most days I should stay pretty fit and healthy.

On Sunday, I applied for unemployment, and today I applied for my first job as an officially unemployed person. This is significant because I will have to show evidence of active job seeking the entire time I’m receiving benefits, and I file my first report next week. I should know if I’m getting any benefits (and if so, how much) within 2 weeks. I’m hoping for a positive response on this. It’ll make our financial situation much better, and it’ll make me feel less like a worthless piece of crap.

fate knows what’s best for you

So far, this feels like a pretty expensive vacation. I have been waking up as late as 8:30 (extremely late for me), making breakfast, lazing around, doing stuff around the house, and occasionally going out for a beer, a bike ride, or other excursion. Spouse started his bar review classes on Tuesday, so I am on my own from about 8:30 until 1 every day.

It isn’t so bad, but I do wish I knew more people. I met up with the lovely Shedding Khawatir for coffee earlier this week, which was nice. A friend of mine has offered to introduce me to some people for networking purposes. I am also seeking out volunteering/outreach activities that might help me meet people. I think it may be harder to meet people when you aren’t working, but on the other hand, I have limitless time and energy to spend getting out there to socialize. It’s not all bad.

My only complaint, really, is the nosebleeds. Not full-blown, pouring out the nose kind, but the “my nose is dried out from the desert air and I get little bloody chunks when I blow my nose” kind. Pretty gross, but mostly annoying. I hope I adjust soon! Until then, a few Neti rinses will get me through. They say we are in danger of having wildfires, and I am worried about that for a number of obvious reasons. I also can’t imagine that is good for my (or anyone else’s) sinuses.

oh, there you go bringing class into it again

Now that we have settled in (mostly), I can turn my attention to matters job-related. I will start applying for jobs again this week, in hopes of having something by September. Next week, I will apply for unemployment so that we have a bit of a cushion until one of us finds a job. It feels so strange to have to do that, but I am grateful that I can. So many times I have been out of work or underemployed and unable to apply for benefits. Three cheers for a safety net!

Speaking of being unemployed, my soon-to-be former employer sent me a letter hitting me up for monetary donations to their huge ($500 million, to be precise) fundraising campaign. This bothers me so much. They try to raise ever larger sums of money so that the t-t folks can lead cushy lives, take frequent sabbaticals and leaves, and have low teaching loads. All of these things are enabled by the constant stream of visitors (including yours truly) who take over the teaching duties so that some tenured prof can summer in the Galapagos or do research for a year in Thailand. Are they really so hard-up for cash that they need to shake down some nearly unemployed scholar? Insensitive and tone deaf…