OK, so with the last post, I got a second (third? thirtieth?) wind (and a nice swift kick in the pants) to DO something about this not working thing again. No more waiting around. Be proactive dammit! So I finally sent an email to my former colleague's contact in industry, and wrote to volunteer my services to a cool company I found locally that runs camps and parties for kids to discover science. It's something small, but at least it's SOMETHING. There's also the nature reserve we visited a few weeks ago that apparently looks for biologist volunteers from time to time... I think I'll look up their website and see if I can find an address to write to. I guess sciencey-type Volunteer activities are better than a gaping hole in a CV right?
...yup, finally heard back from the mentoring program to help immigrants integrate into the work force in NewCountry. And I'm not the right kind of immigrant, so they can't help me. What's one more?
I haven't posted in a while cause I've been under the weather. Have this strange headache and dizzy all the time thing going on. Guess this is my initiation point into NewCountry's medical system? Some days I really just want to go home...
Actually, until a few hours ago it was a pretty great day. Husband, LittleOne and I went for a long walk to a nearby nature reserve that I hadn't yet found the time to visit. It will be so pretty in the spring/summer/fall... right now, it was mostly wet, muddy and bare, but was still a nice change from the same 3 streets of our small town that I see on a daily basis.
Right now I'm super tired and should be in bed (though it's not even 10pm yet, nice huh?), but somehow I can't get myself to turn off the computer and go. I hate that feeling when you're exhausted but you know it's useless to go to bed cause you won't sleep anyway. At least that's what I've been doing for the past few nights. Husband was feeling crappy and went to bed a while ago so I also don't want to disturb him tossing and turning.
A friend from the lab in PhDLand just defended her PhD and is starting to apply for postdocs. She asked me if I still had copies of the emails I sent to apply to labs so I just fired up the old computer, dug them up and read the whole series... damn it, I was good once. People wanted to pay for me to come visit. They used words like "impressed" and "excited" when talking about when we had met at conferences and about me coming to visit their labs. Did I make a huge mistake canceling my visits to all of them? They were all a very long way away... and my doctor asked me not to go because they were planned for the same time frame when I miscarried before. Her logic was that if something happened again while I was away, I would blame myself and that trip forever. I think she was right. Fortunately, nothing did go wrong and LittleOne was born about 6 months after my scheduled postdoc interviews. I could have rescheduled once it became clear that the pregnancy was progressing, but I had a hard time imagining interviewing with a belly, and trying to come up with starting dates and the thought of making a huge international move while apartment hunting, insurance obtaining, daycare searching, and writing funding applications with a newborn made my head spin. I chose to withdraw my applications until further notice and take advantage of the maternity leave I had available to me in PhDLand, while waiting for Husband's job search to come up with something in the mean time... and ended up here in NewCountry (incidentally, NOT home to a single one of the labs I had applied to). Unemployed with with a career break of 16 months and counting on my CV, and no prospects of a job (or a daycare spot) anytime remotely soon.
I don't regret having LittleOne for an instant, and I'm so fortunate that I was able to spend the time in his early life focused solely on him, but I'm pretty pissed about my life some days. I feel like such a loser. I'm almost 31 and have zero years of professional work experience. 31. And nobody wants to hire me now, not even the academic lab job I applied for. Even the grocery stores in town wouldn't hire me because I don't speak NewLanguage well enough to interact with customers. How the hell did my life end up like this? What did I do wrong? Was wanting to be a mom so bad it hurt really such an awful thing? I used to be "impressive". Now, I'm just feeling pathetic.
OK, this was definitely not the most positive, uplifting post ever, but it does feel better to write it out somehow. I feel like I can't talk to Husband about these feelings very easily, because, let's face it, he's 36 and in the same position (except that he found academic postdoc #2 after 16 or so months of unemployment) so whenever I complain about me, he takes it as I'm bashing him. And the stupid thing is, I'm not, in any way. I think he's amazing. I love that he likes the work he's doing now. Sure, we both realize that our finances haven't been in this much peril since our double grad student days nearly a decade ago (and even then it wasn't so bad...) and the future alternates between being a big black hole sucking us closer and closer in and that heady feeling of approaching the end of a long long climb up a mountain where you don't know what's on the other side, but you know for sure there will be some kind of an awesome view that was worth the effort to get there. But in those moments when I can get past that and just enjoy the day, today, for what it is, give LittleOne an extra big squeeze or a energetic tickle and drink up that laugh for all it's worth, stop to listen to the wind in the tree tops or see the birds bobbing in the water at the lake shore, then Life as I know it doesn't look so bad after all...
...........REJECTED again. This is getting hard on the ego.
Update: Pulled up my socks and re-formatted my CV again, including references so it's now up to 3 pages (I liked it much better at 2 pages). Then I re-wrote (again) a cover letter for spontaneous applications and sent to a promising company I applied to back in December with no response. Maybe the revised version of me will be more interesting?
No response from the mentoring program yet.
I seriously considered applying for a lab technician position this morning with a recruiter for an unknown employer. But damn, if I'm going back to the bench, I could do it as a postdoc at least. *sigh* They'd never hire me anyway with a stupid PhD when they're looking for a technical school graduate. I've had 3 different people tell me in the last 48 hours that they think I should just give up on finding a "real job" do an academic postdoc. I'm starting to think they're right.
And on a totally unrelated note, I got a massive bill from the postal service in NewCountry for import fees on a package I received a few weeks ago. Value of the package: about 25 PiecesOfLocalCurrency Amount of taxes I need to pay for that (based on weight of the package! Not even on the value!): 0.45 PiecesOfLocalCurrency Total bill: 59.55 PiecesOfLocalCurrency
WTF?!?!?!?! I have to pay more than twice the value of the package just to get the package into the country?! Thank you Customs Clearance Service, Import Administration and Commission fees. Fuckwads. Remind me why I moved to this place again? Oh yeah... Husband dearest. He can pay the bill.
So, I looked into this mentoring program for immigrants in my part of NewCountry. Basically, it's a volunteer-based program where they match you with someone in your field who has experience and contacts in NewCountry with the goal being to have advice on how to fit into the job market here and expand your local professional contacts list. So with Husband's help I sent in my application for the program last night. Now I'll have to wait and see. The automated confirmation email said they hoped to get into contact with me within a few business days one way or another. Other progress on the job hunt: none!
Just saw this over at Girlpostdoc's blog. Woah. I think this is what I'm afraid of about taking an academic position. That when the doubt is already there NOW, I should just get out NOW. Kathy Weston's Story
I think it also fits nicely with this post from EcoGeoFemme.
Update on me: Husband read about a new mentoring program for professional immigrants (that is, immigrants who are highly-trained professionals, not those who make their living moving from country to country...) and sent me the link... sounds really interesting. I will sign up and see what happens. Would be a great help to have a mentor in the business to help coach me on the local lay of the land...
Otherwise, besides my usual (unsuccessful) read through of the job announcements, I've not done much the past few days. Except play on the swings and the slide in the sunshine with LittleOne at the playground. And a bazillion loads of laundry.
Well, I didn't get another job. Another file in the jobs I didn't get folder...
But I updated my CV again... I had taken off my publications list because I thought only academic jobs were interested in them, but then NewMentorScientistLady (who, keep in mind, is a TT academic) convinced me to put them back on. They're no longer in their own section, but just entered under the appropriate job, like this:
2004-2008 PhD Thesis in Molecular Biology, OldInstitute in PhDLand, Lab of OldSupervisor, from PhDLandU Publication: Jenn, PhD et al. (2009) SuperAwesomeJournal Reference.
Is that ok?
Here in NewCountry, it is also common to put info on a CV that I was taught to NEVER EVER NOT EVER put on a CV, things like marital status, date of birth, country of citizenship, a photo of me etc... But I used to have this:
Married with one child (born 2009)
10/2008 - 01/2010 Postdoctoral Research Position, OldInstitute (on maternity leave since 09/2009)
so I removed the references to when LittleOne was born, I guess maybe hoping that they would think he was born more recently and I haven't been on maternity leave so long? Gah, I hate hiding LittleOne, I'm so proud of him, and I want to find a job with an employer who doesn't demand that I hide him all the time, but I just have a feeling that potential employers aren't even making it past the first half of the first page!
I found an interesting job ad today too - but it's in NewCountry Language. It would be my first application not in English. I will try to start translating today and ask for Husband's input tonight. I'm scared...