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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?



It's been a while, I know. I was doing well with the weekly blog, but then comes the end of the semester...and the end of year festivities. But, the exams have been corrected, the grades have been awarded (can you really award someone a failing grade?), and I'm in recovery.


Oh, don't worry, this is normal. I usually am cranking and churning out work at such a high rate of speed during finals week, and it takes about a week of moving slowly to 'recuperate'. Nothing gets done quickly, except for the cleaning of the apartment on Monday because of a last minute visit and stay over by my mother. Thankfully Monday was planned on as a cleaning day, but more was done than I thought. But at least it passed muster!


To be honest, I'm in a bit of a funk. Perhaps it is just recovery from the year, but I think there some other issue. You see, part of what has been keeping me away from this blog is the fact that I've been trying to find part-time employment for the summer and the rest of the year. I originally thought I had something at a bakery in North Beach (the Italian neighborhood of San Francisco), but I've realized that it's just not going to work out. Not only is the management a bit on the creative side (and not in the positive way), but parking is atrocious, and it's a hassle of a commute. So, that's gone. I've put in for various banking jobs, office jobs...come to think of it, I've put in for most any kind of job. I've had a few bites, but nothing else has really stuck.


So, just a bit ago, I re-applied for unemployment...or 'unenjoyment', as my friend Hank calls it. Sure, it'll cover the basics, but still, I wish I didn't have to. Even though I know that I'll be back teaching in August, and I have a bunch of projects lined up for the summer, there's something soul-deflating about signing up for 'gubmint cheese.' And how people like my youngest brother, who's been unemployed for over a year, or our own Caldrail make it through, I don't know. I apologize now for offending people...whining isn't becoming of me, I know. I guess it's just the blahs, or something else.


Hmmmm...what to call the blog entry today...something that reflects my mood? Meh...nah...need a pick-me-up. Ah, yes, The Clash. That'll pick me right up!


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How do I make it through? Honesty, persistence, and the occaisional argument with a bureaucrat that doesn't know which end of the human anatomy is which.


Never demand what you're not entitled to. Always insist on what is yours by law. Always do what they require you to do. Always apologise - never make excuses. They've heard them all before.


Other than that, treat job searching as your job, and do a little of what you enjoy whenever you can.


I'll be honest. Long term unemployment sometimes feels close to a jail sentence, but learn to live with it. Take pleasure in small things (not necessarily literally) and take a look outside. Sun shining? Take a breather. Enjoy the world for a short while.

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I knew you really were a plodder, so to speak...take one day at a time, poco a poco, and enjoy life as you have it.


I guess yesterday I was in a foul mood, but by the evening I got reminded of what it could be. A former students dropped me an email, someone who I met early in my teaching career. This student was quite memorable, one of those rancher kids who goes off to the big city for college, and despite the effort she just didn't quite fit in. But a wonderful young lady, with a spirit that I truly admired...she wanted to stick it out, because her dream was to get a finance degree from the University of Texas. But she had to drop out of college, due to a series of illnesses to her parents and then to herself; the money dried up, so she dropped out to work on the family ranch. I knew some of the details that had happened in the interim, none of them great: her mother ended up passing away from her illnesses, her boyfriend went off to the military and gave his life in Iraq, and she was not in a happy place. The last I had heard from her was 2003.


But there's a good ending, but it took a while. After a few years of barely breaking even, her father decided to take a gamble and renting a portion of the ranch...it turns out, it went to an organic farmer who specializes in farmers' market produce. It's become a strong business, but it took a few years of toil and labor. And as for the student, she went through some major emotional loop-de-loops, but met up with her high school sweetheart. They fell back in love, with the promise that they would get married after she finished her education. She just graduated from a local state university, and is getting married this weekend.


So it's really true...with patience and grace, and faith if you wish, good things do eventually happen. I have my health, I have a roof over my head, I've already accomplished one major life goal, and I'm working on another. Sure, I only work part time, but it's something.

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