I went to college over a decade ago, where I took entirely too many classes in Political Science and English. I studied entirely too hard and graduated from the Honors Program with Honors. Those classes and honors never directly secured me any sort of employment. They did get me two of the most miserable years of my life in law school. Luckily, I escaped in time to have to endure year three. At least that is the way I choose to look at it.
If you ever wonder what happens to people who go to law school but don’t get a J.D., some of them become paralegals at ridiculously low pay in absolute desperation. That was a friend of mine. Some of them go home and become waitstaff. That happened to another friend of mine. Some of them re-apply to a different law school, end up in a real estate law office, and hate every day of their life. Yet another friend. In my case, I went on the administrative assistant track, quite by chance. I needed a job, and by chance, I got hired on the first try. I was so sick of law school at that point that I didn’t want to step foot in anything that remotely resembled a law office.
Fast-forward a few jobs and companies. I established myself as a pretty capable assistant. On the side, I went and got a paralegal certificate just in case. That was many years ago. I haven’t been completely idle. I volunteered at a hospice. I volunteered on a suicide intervention hotline. I’m apparently excellent in a crisis. I’m finding that this quality doesn’t matter so much on a resume. Job continuity is the only thing that matters on a resume, and by golly, it is the one thing that I just don’t have.
Over and over I hear the tale, oh but you haven’t worked in so long. Yes, technically no one has handed over a paycheck to me in several years. I haven’t been cramped up in a cubicle while trying to meet deadlines, but I have been working. My brain didn’t just up and leave my body because I decided to stay home for a while to raise my daughter. I have not lost my ability to speak on a phone, work on a computer, or interact with other human entities. On most days, if I have at least two cups of coffee in the morning, I can even do math still. I remember the quadratic equation by heart as well as how to calculate a derivative.
I have been doing this job search on and off for a few years now. I’ve yet to get anywhere with it. I’ve applied for and been rejected by all kinds of employers because of the end date of my last job. My resume just goes into the big black hole of a server somewhere, or else in the garbage. I’m so invisible that according to the government’s economic spin doctors, I’m not actually one of the unemployed.
My other dilemma is that should I actually get a job, I probably won’t earn enough money to cover the childcare costs to make the job worth it. I don’t want to work just to pay a sitter. It is absolutely insane that I have to be afraid of being unemployed and be afraid of being employed at the same time. How am I going to pay for all the antacid I go through worrying about this ridiculous situation? Have you noticed the effect of inflation on a giant bottle of TUMS?