Kathy Elrick

Kathy Elrick
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
December 31
Ex-grad student, desperately seeking way back. Wannabe politico, die-hard protester in the couch district. Single malt whisky appreciator, Scotland lover.


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OCTOBER 19, 2011 5:23PM

Caught in the Crosshairs or at a Crossroad?

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Sitting in front of a computer at Arcadia University’s library, I have three things on my mind:  When will I hear back about the interview from last week from the job I really want for right now?  What job descriptions should I plug into Career Builder, etc sites today that keep me from hitting my head with the keyboard?  And, should I shoot for the GRE for this fall when I spend my time constructively worrying about finding a place to live that isn’t a friend’s?

            I stopped looking for work because of three things:  I found a part-time job, I hooked up with two (now three) different temp agencies, and I got an interview with the company I used to intern for.  I felt I could take a break while I moved twice in a week’s time.  But then my part-time employer went on vacation without leaving me any idea of what I should do when I make it to his office, or if I could even get in.  His being away also means I don’t get paid my tidy pittance this week, and doesn’t contribute to me wanting to stick around for next week’s.

            My part-time job is becoming less of a job and more of a chore.  First, for my average 10 hours, I don’t have a concrete schedule, since my employer not only takes vacations, he is often away from the office.  So I can’t work those days.  When at work, I have to ask more questions just to figure out what he wants done.  Then when he checks, I find out I didn’t do what he wanted.  And since I’ve told him I am definitely looking for other work (which he had originally said was ok with, even encouraged) the promises of legal secretary or legal secretary type duties seems like a pipe dream, while I stay because he’s the only person who answered my 20+ applications on Craigslist.

            Then going back to the job sites, I find that I still feel stymied by the search boxes.  What do you put in there when you don’t have experience?  Or, if the experience you do have only equates to low level office work?  I mean to these search engines, having Masters in things like Political Science or English means I should be teaching or going for a PhD, not working.  Which I’d love, but the Catch 22 is that I need to work so I can apply for a PhD, and I need a PhD to teach in the majority of the positions they have for colleges.  The amount of random nursing or health care jobs listed in the general postings mock my knowledge set.

            However, the temp agencies have been responsive when I give them a tweak.  So I don’t necessarily have to be the only one looking for me, I’m just in a pocket of time where I want to hold off from accepting a position with the temp agencies if I can hear from the company.  But I get sucked back into the anxiety that keeps my mind spinning and my focus shattered, making me want to find a job so I don’t have to go back to walls of crumpled boxes that my employer hasn’t told me what he wants done with.   

Waiting in general makes me feel like it’s me who’s driving me batty.  I wait to ask questions about the PhD application process, I wait to study for the GRE, I wait to look into certain jobs because I need to find out about now.  And I don’t have control of my own now.  I have to wait for other people to make a decision that affects my life, I can’t even have the option to put in for what I know I want to be doing.  I have to wait.  I don’t know how much longer I can wait.

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I washed trucks for years to support my hobby of being an adjunct professor. Good luck to you.
I washed trucks for years to support my hobby of being an adjunct professor. Good luck to you.
Yeah, the one thing that really stinks about colleges and universities is the timing of their classes. It's almost like they don't expect people to have jobs other than the classes - including their teachers. Especially at this point in time, it makes no sense.