And so it has come to this: if I can't get a job (or at least a promising interview) before the end of the month, I have to leave California.
It's not the ideal plan, I'll admit. Many people tell me that it often takes months to find work, especially out here in budget-wrecked California, but any fool could see that staying out here much longer is financially unwise. I've never been without work for so long at one stretch, at least not while trying to find work. It seems that things here in the Golden State are tougher than I imagined and while, as they say, "hindsight's 20/20," I am beginning to think that my desire for new lifebirds and greener pastures blinded me to just how easy I had it in PA and how long my savings (and loans) would last.
Yes, I was tired of the Pennsylvania snow.
And yes, I wanted to go someplace I'd always dreamed of living.
And oh sure, I felt like I didn't really "belong" in a state like Pennsylvania, where I was perhaps one of maybe ten hispanics in Centre County (I'm being generous; I only knew of me and my friend Ignacio) and where I'd only gone because of a now-defunct relationship.
AB keeps telling me that I can't look back now and judge my decisionmaking after it's turned out to be a total dud; if that were possible (or wise), no one would ever take a chance on anything. Or even get out of bed. But it's hard not to think about the fact that if I'd stayed, I'd still have a good job and I'd be with my girlfriend.
Must. Not. Think. About. That.
So where will I go, you ask? One of two places: Texas or Pennsylvania. BUT... the only way I can go back to PA is if I already have a job waiting for me.
...What, you think I didn't learn a lesson from this whole "Hey, I'm sure I'll find a job in a state where everyone's being laid off! Great idea!" fiasco?
I am furiously looking for work now through the same crap job-seeker engines (Monster, CareerBuilder, SnagAJob, etc.) that have failed to net me more than one interview out here in sunny NoCal. Don't think I've missed the irony of such a situation. At least The University has its own job Web site, though there's no telling the snail's pace at which The University might travel.
(Okay, okay, Mr. Unnecessary-capital-letter-policeman, I'm only capping "the university" out of respect! ...well, and a little karmic finger-crossing. Shhh.)
I know two weeks isn't a lot of time to find work anywhere, but this is the plan I worked out with my sainted father and brother, who are loaning me yet more money to pay the really late bills and buy food and stuff.
Yes, I'm 45 and still getting bailed out by my father. Perhaps I should run for president. I hear this kind of thing worked out great for the last guy.
I'm still trying to follow up on my California applications and apply for other positions, but at this point it's almost stupid to keep trying. I lost count after 60 of how many jobs I'd applied for, but I did get one interview (on my birthday, no less) that was going really well until they told me that although they loved my skills and experience, they didn't know when they'd be able to make an offer, much less hire me. Budget problems. Low sales. Downward trends. You get the picture. (I should've remembered that the last time I had a good birthday, I was in 9th grade and my dad was picking up all my little geeky friends and taking us to SkateLand for a big night of rollerskating to "Dancing Queen." It's like a curse, my birthday. Every stinkin' year.)
At any rate, AB is being really supportive, and we're both hoping that I can at least go back to PA and be with her. But again, I can't go there without a job, so I'll continue to hit the Interwebs super hard over the next week or so. This whole job-search is like a job in itself, a really boring one where I'm forced to write cover letter after cover letter, tailored to the specific job duties and my overwhelming ambition to work at Company X!, and fill out endless job-search-engine registration forms. I've gotten it down to a science, copying and pasting stuff into the blanks, but it's still mind-numbingly boring and soul-crushing.
The other night I couldn't sleep and decided to read a book I hadn't read before (those who know me know that I LOVE to re-read my favorite books, especially when I can't sleep). I noticed a book I'd gotten at a recent book sale, Barbara Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch, in which she "goes undercover" again, this time not as a minimum-wage worker (Nickel and Dimed) but as a middle-management-type white-collar jobseeker, applying for hundreds of jobs over the course of six months, paying for an image consultant, enduring life-coaching from several rather life-challenged individuals, attending endless "networking events," and ending up with nothing -- not even one interview.
Given my circumstances and my now quite fragile job-seeker self-esteem, reading this particular book might, just might!, have been a bad idea.
Table for Sisyphus, party of one! Table for Sisyphus!
I've really enjoyed California. It's beautiful, for one thing--you should check out the pics on my birdy blog--and I've gotten lots of new birds for my lifelist. (If you know what that is, you might be a geek.) The weather is lovely. But it's hard to enjoy the beauty when you know you have no job, no income, and not much hope.
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On a lighter note, I'm excited to report that I'll be driving into Oakland on Sunday to visit Matty Boy. We're planning to bird at Lake Merritt and then go watch the Cowboys game. I'm totally pumped!
Eat your hearts out, bloggy gals!
Oh, I just thought of something: I haven't told him this bit of news yet, so if you're reading this post, Matty Boy, I'll give you more details on Sunday.
Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a job in the Rohnert Park area... anyone? anyone?