After this, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It makes my head hurt.

This week has been one of the roughest weeks in recent memory.  My inability to sleep has been compounded by constantly worrying about making some major life changes that will no less cause more stress and worry.  Major life changes that would require me to adopt a new zip code, a 12-month lease, and a new job with more responsibility – the kind of responsibility that I see my current executive director’s assistant tackle on a daily basis and to whom I scoff and say, “You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to do your job!” And this prospective job isn’t just taking on the assistant role for one executive, but for two!  And it doesn’t come close to paying a million dollars.

(By the way, worry is my middle name! No, not really – it’s Nicole.  Now that you know my full name, go ahead and steal my identity.  Believe me, you’ll be sorry.  I’m already in debt so you’d be better off going after someone who is worth something.  I’m not your gal.  Not this year.)

Anyway, this week I started off ready to take on the world.  The solution to my employment woes was to stop looking for a new job in Jacksonville and focus on finding a new job somewhere else.  Sounds reasonable, right?  So that’s what I did.  After three years of rejection and getting the cold shoulder from practically every local company I’ve interviewed with, I figured it would all just continue the same way.  Just as the sun rises and the sun sets, I submitted my resume to various positions (sunrise – it’s a new day! Oh boy!) and wait it out and wait it out and wait it out (I have a tendency to apply for jobs within the government so I can keep my time already served as relevant as possible) until I get a callback for an interview and I ace the phone interview and they can’t wait to meet me and then they meet me and we all sit around a conference table and laugh and have an honest-to-goodness enjoyable first meeting and then…

I get rejected.  You think I’d be used to this all by now.  And I am.  Sigh…the sun sets, my soul is crushed, and my self-esteem has been stomped and trudged upon until it has become a fine, powdery swell of dust.

Dramatic? Yes, but I’m a bit hormonal today so I’ve also made a mental note to avoid making any major decisions while I’m ovulating, if at all possible. It does seem to impact my emotional health and sense of all that is rational.

But then something happened earlier this week.  I got a callback (which, yes, did surprise me) and I immediately came up with every reason under the sun to go forward but most of those reasons were for Elle, not for me.  Reasons such as way better area schools, less crime, education-focused community support, blahblahblah – all the things a single mother with no money relies on to get her kid into college. But I aced the phone interview and now they can’t wait to meet me so we can all sit around a conference table and laugh and have an honest-to-goodness enjoyable first meeting and then…well, I don’t know.  I haven’t gotten past the phone interview.  And I can honestly say I don’t know if I will.  And by I don’t know I mean probably not.  By my own choosing, this time.

It hit me this morning just how difficult my prospective life with this new job would be.

  • The job is two hours away
  • I would either be separated from my daughter for 4 weeks or I’d have to pull her out of 3rd grade for a transfer 4 weeks before the school year ends.  Of course, we’d both get over it eventually. And it’s FCAT season. 
  • I know one, ONE, person in that town who would be willing to help Elle and me during the transition even though my friend lives a considerable distance from the new job and takes care of her own family.
  • HE lives there.  The thought of crossing paths with him literally makes me sick to my stomach.
  • I would be taking the job for the money, which means I’d finally have a livable wage, but at what cost?  I don’t think I would like the job and I’m already a mental spaz.  Is there really a good enough reason in this hypothetical situation to go for it, to take a stab at living by myself with one friend, a potentially overwhelming and miserable job, and no family nearby to help me in times of crisis?  By the way, my idea of crisis can range anywhere from hey, my computer is acting funny to ZOMG!!! ALIENS ARE ATTACKING AND I HAVE A FLAT TIRE WAAAAAAH!!!!!

Deciding to not pursue this job any longer doesn’t make me feel anything but sad.  And frustrated.  Truly, truly frustrated.  Sad because I have had to acknowledge that I am not the kind of person who can just pick up and move without having an already established support network waiting for me but frustrated, at the same time, because I wish that I was that kind of person.  The real me is not as adventurous as I’d like to think I am.

My friends might argue with me and tell me that I need to break away from my need to stay near my parents.  Maybe that is a part of it, but I don’t believe, deep down, that that is all of it.  This current living situation I am in, this situation that is my life and that is Elle’s life, is not necessarily a fun one or a fulfilling one or an easy one.  It’s quite the opposite, actually.  It is stressful, it is isolating, and it is downright demeaning at times.  I don’t get to live my own life.  In all fairness, neither does anyone else in this house.

There. I said it.

I remember how astonished I was when I met someone who had never left their hometown.  They seemed so contented to stay right where they were, with their family and with their friends and with the community they’d unintentionally become a part of. Growing up in a family that constantly moved around, I was never given the opportunity to put down roots.  Maybe these aren’t my roots, maybe they belong to Elle.  She has been here since she was 9 months old and while I may not have a social life, Elle does.  She loves her school, she loves her gymnastics club, she loves her beach and her hip downtown scene and all her friends.  Heck, I love those things, too! All the things I never had as a constant in my life are now hers and it’s what I want to provide for her. It’s pretty clear to me now that I’ll be better off, emotionally and psychologically, sticking close to home.  Plus, I’m just a big chicken and would love to give mad props to those of you who can just hop on a plane to South Korea or Egypt or Argentina and go teach English as a Second Language classes. 

So the job hunt continues…locally.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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3 Responses to After this, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It makes my head hurt.

  1. Sra says:

    I can’t blame you. For one thing, you don’t want to take a job you know you are going to hate. Even a more livable wage is not worth the trouble that comes with that. Secondly, moving away from your roots is a big deal. Bigger than I predicted it would be, and I’m a very independent person who does not really need or desire to be close to my family. Still, when I moved out of the state I grew up in a couple years ago, it was much harder emotionally than I thought it would be. Even though I fit much better where I am now, I am only starting to really rebuild my social network, and I still long for many of my old friendships. Anyway, happiness should be goal number 1.

  2. Chris says:

    I can see why this keeps you up at night, I remember those feelings when I was 32 and about to take a job 8 hours away in Tennee-freakingsee. I lived in Jax all my life, my parents, brother, and sister all lived there.

    It turned out okay but uprooting 3 kids and a spouse was a huge decision.

    • Dena says:

      Somehow, I think uprooting the kid would be easier if I also had a spouse to uproot. I’d be bringing the support with me. Alone, forget it. It’s just not in me!

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