If you readers have followed this blog with any sort of regularity, you know that I haven't posted as much as I wanted in the past because every time I did, I felt as though I should be looking for work instead. Blogging seemed like way too much of a selfish luxury, and I didn't want to do it once T got home because then I wanted to focus on family time, or we were watching our shows together...I didn't want to shut myself off and blog because that seemed too...self-involved? (I'm working on the martyr bit.) And, honestly, I've felt as though I didn't have much to say. I could regale you with tales of J's cuteness and my improvements at housekeeping, but I wanted to have something more to share. So I stayed quiet. Maybe that was a mistake; maybe I should've made this more of a sounding board for myself, but for whatever reason, I chose not to.
However, that may well change. After sixteen months of unemployment, sixteen months of revised cover letters and resumes, of penny pinching and worrying, of figuring out just what the hell I could do for work and could accept as potential salary, of applying and not hearing or receiving generic e-mail brush-offs, of networking and reconfiguring my expectations...after all that time, I...got...a...job.
I HAVE A JOB. My official title is proofreader and copy editor.
I cannot begin to express the sweet flood of relief upon writing those words. In typical fashion, I had the interview, had a second interview, and then waited for about a week (which felt like ten years) for The Call with my phone attached to my person at all times. Tom Petty put it well: The waiting was the hardest part. I figured no news was good news, but that old chestnut had burned me before, so I tried very hard not to think about it. As a matter of fact, I ended up quite productive that week, so I got something positive out of it. Honestly, when I hung up the phone after receiving The Call, I screamed (J was playing in the other room, thankfully--how ironic to have a moment of happiness marred by scaring my child) and then burst into tears for a good ten minutes. As I said to T, I'd had this feeling of...worry? doubt? fear? a combination of all three (probably)? in my stomach for so long, I'd forgotten it was even there. It just sat there for months, sometimes driving me to do more, sometimes leading me to brief bouts of frustration with various sides of more worry, doubt, and fear. But we made it, we made it through and I plan to work my ever-lovin' butt off to prove my employer made the right decision.
I don't have illusions that this will solve all of my worries, but it sure as hell will help allay them. We still plan to live simply because that suits who we are, but at least we can start saving and look at various house improvements without the additional sigh and thoughts of "someday...". Interestingly, the fact that I've moved away from teaching doesn't make me sad. I'll miss the kids and the classroom. I always loved that, for the most part, reaching whoever I could and imparting some wisdom, humor, and kicks in the tush along the way. I'll miss the energy the students can bring and the questions they ask, whether serious or silly. But I can always tutor if I feel a need tug hard enough, and I have my own little man to teach every day. This place I'm going to work at seems to have that sort of intense energy as well; I have a feeling the pace will match some of what I'm used to. I work better under extremely defined deadlines, and having a colleague say, "I need this proofed for a meeting in two hours" fits well with the way I work. So I've managed to find a field where I can still use my skills but in a different venue. The agency, according to who I spoke with and what I gathered, seems dedicated, slightly frenetic, and passionate about what they do--a good fit for me.
More importantly, this year away has shown me that I truly value my time with my family. Time to cook and talk and spend a Sunday playing with my son or doing yoga with a friend. I have always struggled with time management, and having endless piles of grading did not play to my strengths at all. I've realized where my priorities lie; I never wanted to have to look at J and say, "Sorry, sweetie, Mama has to grade quizzes, but I'll play with you as soon as I'm done." I'll miss the vacations and the summers (and the snow days), but my day-to-day is more important to me. I'll have days where I have to stay late and only see J for an hour, and that will make me sad, but once I'm home, that time is mine. I value that tremendously, and I have nothing but respect for the teachers I know who manage to have families and get everything else done, what with lesson planning and correcting and having a life outside of that.
Part of me wanted to give my former employer a bit of a kiss-off now that I have employment again, but had I not had this time, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to come to that conclusion. I also wouldn't have had the time with J, which I consider one of the greatest gifts possible. He would have gone into day care at eight weeks (and don't get me started on the backwards joke that constitutes the American maternity leave plan). Instead, I got to stay with him, watch him grow, and take time getting to know him and myself as a parent. I'll never regret that. So maybe I should thank my old establishment instead, at least in my head. I'm a good person, but I'm not a saint.
What I know is that we made it, T and J and I. We had so much love and support and help from our family and friends, and it brings tears to my eyes to think of the many kindnesses, large and small, that others have bestowed upon us during this time. And we found strength within ourselves that we didn't know we possessed. We got angry and frustrated with each other, yet we came to understandings and talked and grew closer. This hasn't been easy, but our little family weathered the storm and persevered. I think I'm prouder of that than of my even getting the job.
p.s. I'm keeping this off Facebook until I get permission to bugle it to all and sundry, or at least those in my network. I read about people making that mistake, and I want to make the smarter play. I haven't even started it yet; no sense making silly mistakes before I walk in the door.