Blue mood

Ever have “one of those days?” How about “one of those weeks?”

That’s what I’m having. One of those weeks.

Nothing in particular is wrong – at least, nothing that wasn’t wrong last week or last month. But for some reason, I’m having a tough time dealing with life right now.

Here it is: I need a job. I can’t find a job. That’s nothing new; I’ve been searching for positions and sending off resumes and cover letters for a long, long time now.

Perhaps the difference is that now, having finally exhausted my unemployment insurance (and Congress being currently unwilling to approve another extension for mainly political reasons), and my savings, I have no income at all. Zilch. Nada.

No, we’re not starving. We haven’t lost our house and somehow, we’ll keep the bills paid, living very carefully on Mr Wren’s retirement income. But it’s tough, gang. I’ve never before been in a position where I couldn’t take on part of our monthly living expenses. I’ve worked since I was 15 years old. While there have been a couple of times over the years when I’ve had a short hiatus between jobs, I’ve always been able to find a new one within a reasonable amount of time. Until now, I’ve never had a completely empty wallet. Unless I ask Mr Wren for it, I haven’t even any pin money.

Crud. And there are no jobs. Not even jobs I once considered just for teen-agers and retired ladies looking to fill a little free time and make some pin money are available. You know the ones. Fast food. Gift shops. Gas stations. All of them paying minimum wages with no benefits, mostly part-time.

Around here, for every one of those type of jobs that come available, there are 200 applicants. And most of them are not 54-year-old ex-newspaper editors who are considered way overqualified and yes, too old.

So, around here we’re tightening our belts another several notches ( a couple of them new, punched into the leather with an ice-pick). Belt-tightening I can do. We’ve never been rich; we’ve always had to be mindful with our money. But even in those tough old days, I always knew I had another paycheck coming before too long. This time I don’t.

After close to three years of looking, it’s become very clear that there isn’t a new job out there for me, this time.

I’ve done some free-lancing here and there, when I can find it. It pays almost nothing. I’ll keep looking for more of that sort of work – at least it keeps my brain sharp and my writing skills honed – but it’s barely worth the effort.

I’m deeply grateful that I’m able to get my medical care through the VA. I shudder to think what position we’d be in right now without it.

I’m about to drive down the mountain and pop in at the temporary agency I’m registered with. I’ll remind them, once again, that “here I am! I’m available at a moment’s notice!” They’re always very friendly and assure me that as soon as something comes along, they’ll call. But they haven’t yet (it’s been almost a year). And I know they’ve got a huge list of hopeful, unemployed office workers already, all of us clamoring, even begging, for work. I’m not at the top of that list.

Don’t worry. I’ll snap out of my funk. I have before. The difference is this time, I’m feeling less hopeful. But outside the sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and everything is blooming. There’s a bird trilling in one of the trees nearby. My family is well and my wee beasties make me smile. I just need an attitude adjustment.

And a job.

12 thoughts on “Blue mood

  1. Gee Wren, I’m sorry you’re down. It is a very scary time. I am grateful everyday that I have a job. I cross my fingers and hope that I make it to retirement (15 years) and that there is money in my retirement account when that day comes. Good luck and I hope something breaks for you soon. Enjoy your beasties, your lovely garden and your new exercise regime.


  2. Wren, I know how you feel! We are in the same boat, except in reverse – I’m on the disability pension and he has been looking for work for a few years now. Trouble is his health is almost as bad as mine. A few more months and we will lose the house. How’s that for cheering you up! Faith is what we have to have. Something will come along for you (and my husband) hopefully sooner, rather than later! Take care!


  3. I am so sorry to hear that, Wren. I wish I could do something to help. The industry up here has been shrinking, too, like crazy and I know so many people – insanely talented people – who are looking for work. I hope something comes your way soon. You deserve it so much. My fingers are crossed for you!!! 🙂 L

    P.S. That picture is absolutely gorgeous!


  4. Sorry to hear that you’re feeling down, Wren 😦
    Last year when I had my hours cut by 20%, I went looking for freelance gigs. Freelancewritinggigs (dot) com always has lots of leads – but only a couple panned out for me (might still be worth a try). And, I don’t know if you’ve considered it – but some of the “content mills” out there pay decent-enough wages to have at least a little pocket money ($10-15/article for places like Demand Studios, Livestrong, Wisegeek, Suite101, etc.).
    Hope things start looking up for you soon! Best of luck.


  5. Hey Wren –

    You know if anyone understands the fears and frustrations, it is me. I finished grad school last year in August. I remember here I was with my MA, full blown RA, and no jobs. When one would come up, I would literally take like 4 or 5 prednisone to make it to/through the interview and an ativan thrown on top to take the edge off the anxiety. I felt like Humpty Dumpty. My hubby and I were just pastin’ me together to get through the door, and then I would collapse coming home. We even looked as far away as Alaska (we live on the East coast). I FINALLY got two offers in Alaska, but they had NADA for my hubby. Since his position is higher than mine, and he makes more money and is NOT sick, it doesn’t make sense for us to move for MY job. Does that make sense?

    So I remember getting a call for an interivew around Christmas…it was a position at the local comm. college, but it was full-tie. My hubby was so excited, but I was noticing at home how I was struggling to even do small things anymore. I HAD to go to him and admit that it was time to apply for disability. That was around the time I wrote that post. I was so heartbroken. I’m so young, and I love working. I just hated it. But then I realized that it didn’t mean I had to stay on it forever, only until we got the RA under control. All the drs. are still hopeful we can. I’m just taking longer than most. EVERY lawyer we contacted wanted my case. They said it was a slam-dunk. When we did pick a lawyer, I found out that we had applied just in time. Since I had stopped working four years ago, I was about to become ineligigle.

    Fast forward to now…getting ready to try ANOTHER new biologic, but I am seeing a pain speicalist, so I can be productive for a FEW hours a day. And what do you know…that SAME comm. college called and asked me to teach a class. It is only A Class, 2 hours a week in person and 2 hours online, but it is still something. Its enough to give me that “pin money” you talked about. Meanwhile, the lawyer says I should definitely take the job as four hours/week will NOT affect my case. I know it seems greedy, but my fantasy is that I will win my back pay (which is like 3 years by the time they approve you), and then suddenly feel good enough to work again. LOL. But even if I don’t, I feel lucky to have this one class coming up.

    Also, the hubby has an interview on Monday. Its a promotion, but its not the one he wants…Yet, he feels like he has to take it b/c we need the money. Talk about guilt!


  6. I’m so sorry Wren. Would substitute teaching work out for you? You just have to apply through the local district and usually you get to let them know what grades and subjects you would most like to teach.

    I hope you find something.


  7. Ugh and yuck. I really, really hope that some work comes your way. Though, I love how even in the tough times that your are facing you are still finding the positivity in life 🙂

    I love your new pic!


  8. Pingback: Blue mood « RheumaBlog « fast food combo

  9. Oh Wren, I just hate that for you. I’m not even going to pretend that I know enough to give advice so just know that I’m thinking about you and hoping that you are un-funking!


  10. Well Wren, you have good reason to feel blue and should just let yourself experience that feeling for a bit. Nothing wrong with feeling blue when life is rough. I am sending good thoughts and on the look out for ideas!


  11. You mentioned a temp agency… I’ve worked on a temp/contract basis since 1992 and register with many agencies. Most of them have exclusive contacts and clients, so it’s definitely worth it to use multiple agencies. Don’t let them con you with being “exclusive” with them. You’re under no obligation to them. I’m not sure how it is for writing gigs, but has a heavy concentration of contract work, at least in the technical fields. It sucks being out of work during a lousy economy like this (I am, too, BTW) especially with RA, which can limit the type of work you can do. Best of luck!


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