The Ills One Knows…

Lord have mercy, another entry about work. I’m worried. For some reason, for no reason, I don’t know. I don’t think I’m about to be fired, or anything, thank heavens. It’s just that it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I’m probably…not going to really do anything, with this job. I go back and forth, first thinking that I don’t care if I do anything, that quality of life is most important and I leave my work right in my non-ergonomic desk chair and I can take time off if I want to and I like my co-workers and I even think that what I do has some importance in the world. Then I think that I didn’t get my worthless master’s degree to be so low-paid and low-prestige. Then I think if I wanted pay and prestige, perhaps I shouldn’t have got my master’s in, uh, social work, that extremely high paid and high prestige profession. Oh, wait, I have to link to an Onion article here: Troubled Teens Mock Social Worker’s Car. Preach it!

Of course, I’m not even working as a social worker, and therein lies the tale, I think. For those of you just tuning in at home, I work at a university hospital as a research assistant on several grants that look at various psychosocial aspects of disability. Got it? When I took this job almost a year ago, I had been unemployed long enough (for the second time, even) that I didn’t feel very picky. I was excited to get a paycheck and benefits and a short commute, and I felt…and still feel, honestly, very blessed to be doing something that was at all related to anything I’m interested in professionally. Part of the issue is that I don’t have a real clear grasp on what “I’m interested in professionally.” I thought grad school would help me suss that out, aaaaaaaaand…it didn’t. Or I didn’t. Or whatever. Social work is hard and I think we’ve already established I don’t like to do very many hard things. Which is fine, but it makes it hard to decide what my dream job is. See this entry, where I’m all describing what my perfect job would be? No. Not anymore. I don’t want to do therapy full time anymore. I don’t know if I want to do classic talk therapy ever again, as a matter of fact. I want to work with people, but I just can’t figure out how to do that somehow. I do know that private practice is right out, though.

But this is all abstract blathering, isn’t it. The real deal is this: one of the grants that funds half of my salary is ending in September. The Principle Investigators who wrote that grant thought they would extend it by writing a new grant which collaborates with another university. All fine and good, especially since I’d had some hints that I would be specifically written into this new grant, at a higher salary and with more clinical stuff to do. I thought I’d like that very much, since who doesn’t like getting paid more, and for a while now I’ve been thinking that some sort of mix of research stuff and clinical stuff (but NOT one-on-one therapy, thanks for asking) would be nice for me. It would be even nicer for me to do something for which one needs that ridiculous master’s, since I went ahead and got it and will probably be paying for the privilege for the rest of my natural life. Don’t you think?

Well, anyway, long story short, the grant has fallen through, but they think they’ll be able to get another grant, but it won’t mean anything different for me career-wise, but at least I’ll be fully funded, but that just begs the question of should I stay in this job, which is nice but pays really poorly, and just enjoy the fact that I’m a career slacker, with plenty of time to take knitting classes and so forth…or should I try to find something else. In a horrible economy. When I feel I don’t have any marketable skills whatsoever. What if all I can find is a job worse than this one? Should I just be grateful? Should I just keep my head down and see what happens? Should I move to Europe or something? Marry money?

It’s been really nice not to have to think very much about work the last eleven months or so. Frankly, I’d like to keep it that way. I’m just afraid that if I don’t start thinking about it more then I’m going to wake up one day and be fifty and still renting a little apartment and still wearing jeans to work, with pretty much no responsibility…and more importantly, no cash. I hate this, I hate thinking about all this. I just want to wake up tomorrow (or, you know, next week, whenever’s convenient) underneath a duvet cover stuffed with thousand dollar bills.

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