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Hope in an Envelope

Three furlough days per month with the possibility of four or a 5% pay cut, and the possibility of layoffs to boot – it’s enough to make you say “enough.”

And so I have.

I didn’t think I’d be in the job market this soon, especially in a recession. But I have to assess my options. I have to see if what I’m working with in terms of experience and qualifications will command a better wage and a better position.

It was different when I was single and young and apartment-dwelling with time on my hands for my 401(k) to rebound. But now I’m married and middle-aged with a mortgage and a 401(k) that’s down 29%, up from being down 65% earlier this year, mind you. I have responsibilities not only to my husband, but to creditors and to my older self when I’m no longer able or willing to work.

I have to assess my options.

BMNB thinks I’m crazy to continue to subsidize the State of California through my lower state worker wages. He thinks I need to chuck it and work, as he does, for “a government that prints its own money.”

My sister thinks I need to ride it out. “If you just wait, this will eventually get better.”

I don’t think I have the luxury of time. Plus, at the risk of sounding elitist, I’ve invested far more time and money into my so-called “human capital” than most. Fours years of college, three of law school, and year and a half of graduate school.

And I’m still paying for that investment. I need to make it pay off in a way that is not only remunerative, but fulfilling for the rest of the time I’m healthy and working. I don’t want to look for another job after this. I thought I was done with job hunting. I wanted this to be my last job before retirement.

I have to assess my options.

So I ran across a job announcement for a really cool position in a really cool place far from home.

“But it’s so far away,” I whined to BMNB. “I did that commute before. I don’t know if I can do it again.”

“If you like the job, just apply for it and let’s see what happens.” BMNB always sees the positive side of things whenever I’m involved. He’s envisioning telecommuting, flexible hours, meetings by webcam, etc. I’m envisioning listening to people snore on the train and the smell of coffee-laced executive drool emanating from my seatmate at 4:45 am.

“I don’t know what it pays,” I thought to myself. However, the description sounded exciting, even fun. Like a big, fat perfect career pitch you’ve been waiting for at the home plate of your life. And everything I’ve done so far appears to have prepared me for the position.

So I did it. I sent a resume (with a summary section – it’s been more than a minute since I’ve revised my resume), cover letter, articles I’ve written, and one article written about me.

Call it hope in an envelope.

Just the act of putting myself out there – even if it’s for a position I’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of getting in this economy – gave me hope. Because I know in my heart what BMNB says to me all the time: If you take one step, God will take two.


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