What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

You want a Lamborghini? Sip martinis?
Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch
You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion?
Party in France?
You better work bitch

I have to laugh at those lyrics. Lamborghini, mansion, and party in France? I just want to keep a roof over our heads, and even that is hard enough!

With my husband about to be out of a job at the end of April and with no glimmer of hope for anything else on the horizon for him, I am starting to panic. I am going to have to start looking for work again.

At age 42, I have shamefully still not found my place in the workforce. My training is in office admin, yet office admin jobs have proven to be too stressful for me. Still, that’s the kind of job I have the best chance of getting because it’s what I’m qualified to do, even though I know I can’t handle it long-term. At least, I never have been able to before.

I am willing to do some retraining in another field if I can secure some funding for it, but of course that wouldn’t solve the immediate problem, and I wouldn’t even know what to pick anyway. My sensory issues preclude me from doing the things I would otherwise be good at, like working with animals. Some people have told me I would make a good counselor, but I’m certain that my social issues would cause me to fuck that up somehow. Not to mention the stress and overload of feeling other people’s pain every day.

Whenever I do aptitude tests, I get the most impractical results like philosopher, religious clergy, and writer. The last one seems somewhat feasible on the surface, and I do enjoy writing, but the market is saturated with writers and you can’t make any money (certainly not enough to live on) unless you’re exceptionally good at it. Plus, from some online courses I’ve taken, I know that a big part of being a writer is promoting yourself, which is not something I can do. And then there are the inevitable critical reviews, which would probably cripple my ability to write at all. That’s what I’m like, sadly.

Still, there must be something I can do that I would be good at and that wouldn’t destroy me.

Another obstacle is that in order to do retraining, I’d need to know I can stay in one place until the program is finished. Since I got married, I have never had that security. My husband is an academic who works on short-term contracts and that means moving from place to place. Sometimes he finds himself unemployed (which is what I’m afraid is about to happen at the end of April), and when that happens he busts his butt trying to find work and we have to be ready to move to wherever he does. Right now there is a two-year program I’d be interested in at the community college that starts in September. But I don’t even know if we’ll be here in September, let alone when the program finishes two years later.

My husband has been trying all along to land something more permanent, but has been unsuccessful. He has even been willing to get out of academia entirely in order to have more secure employment, and has applied for many, many things, highlighting his many transferable skills, but so far no one has been willing to give him a chance because they see him as “too academic.” He is willing to do almost anything (legal and ethical, of course) to give us a better, more settled, less stressful life, but despite his efforts all other doors have remained closed to him.

Normally my lack of a career or even a job doesn’t bother me. I am very content being a stay-at-home wife. I don’t get bored or lonely during the day; I love having peaceful alone time and the ability to control my sensory environment. When I did work, I just wished I were at home all day. I desperately yearned for it, in fact. Home is where I truly want to be. And unlike most people, I don’t feel like I have to have some grand purpose in life. Just getting through each day without cracking up feels like work to me. But one of us needs to be making money, and if it’s not my husband, it has to be me. So I have to figure something out. Hopefully by the end of the month.

 

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