I have a busy weekend coming up so I wanted to post a snippet from the book early. By the time you read this, I hope you are kicking off a wonderful weekend.
I've certainly felt the brunt of this full moon within the last few days. Have you? Things have been intense. Strange dreams, a terrible heat wave, and a really enlightening conversation with a longtime friend have colored the last few days.
I skipped ahead to part 3 of the book, called "Time for an Upgrade." In this section, things start to (finally!) get back on track for your favorite fictional character, me.
Have a great weekend. I'll post again next week!
I kept a running list of all the positions I applied for during my job search, and as the list expanded, I grew accustomed to being ignored by potential employers.* On occasion, I’d visit the local job search service and meet with a counselor.
“Well, Jane,” my favorite counselor, Mr. Pritchard, said to me when the job market was at its worst, “the fact is that we don’t have very many high-paying jobs in our database now. You have more education than most of the people around here, which is a good thing and a bad thing.”
“Sorry, Mr. Pritchard, but I’m from the old school,” I said. “I don’t understand why having a bachelor’s degree is a bad thing.”
“Well, the fact is... most local employers don’t want to pay what you were earning before, so they choose people with less education to work for them. In a way, people with a high school degree are best suited for some of these posted jobs, but only in the short run, because they don’t pay well enough for them to have any kind of future or retirement. I’m sorry, Jane. I wish this were easier.”
“How are things going for the other displaced employees from TB&J?” I asked.
“A few lucky ones have been able to relocate and find work,” he said.
“No one’s found work in the area?” I asked.
“None that I’m aware of. I’m sorry, Jane,” he said.
“You don’t have to apologize. It’s not your fault,” I told him.
“No, but I’m sure you were hoping for more,” he answered. “I looked up some jobs posted by the county; they tend to pay pretty well. But you’d have to have a very specific education, for example, to be a librarian, and you just don’t have it. Plus, there’s the bias toward locals.”
“Yeah, I’d noticed that,” I said.
“Some employers, especially those with smaller businesses, want to hire people they can talk high school football with. They look for last names they recognize, from doing business around here or maybe who they know socially or through their kids’ schools. You don’t strike me as the kind of girl who talks a lot of football,” he added.
“You’ve got that right!” I told him. “I don’t go to church, either.”
“Oh, my,” he said. “Well, what about relocating? Have you looked into work in one of the major Florida cities?” he asked.
“I have, but haven’t heard back from anyone.”
“It may take a while,” he said. “Our counterparts in the bigger job markets report different problems with matching people to jobs. They kind of have the opposite problem; everyone has a degree and that is actually in demand, but there aren’t that many jobs to go around. It still helps to know people and have connections, but the volume of jobs is so much less than the number of people looking for jobs. Another option you have is to look for work in New Town.”
New Town! Although it was over 40 miles away, New Town was a total change of pace from Winterville. New Town had a major university and some cultural centers; it was an oasis in a yokel desert. Jobs in New Town also paid better than similar positions in Winterville.“Oh, that would be great,” I told him.
*The nice woman who's busy writing Jane's story just realized with wry amusement that the very same thing is happening to her in her job search now! She wonders if this recession will ever end!