The Frustrations and Failures of an Unemployed Woman

One of the best yet most frustrating things in my life right now? Being jobless.

See, I have all this free time and energy to run errands, clean the house, unpack boxes (yep, still doing that), do laundry, organize closets, cook our meals, bake homemade bread, tend to the plants, read books, sort through wedding photos, write...but I also have these things called bills that keep showing up each month. Like car payments and junk.

I was pretty smart with my money when I worked as a school nurse, so I still have enough tucked away in savings to pay my bills for a couple more months. But I keep checking the job boards and sending in applications and resumes every time I see something I'm qualified for. I (nervously yet very excitedly) applied for a writing position at a local university that actually required a B.A. in English (which I just earned!). I also applied for a secretarial position in their admissions department that required some office experience, which I have. But sadly, no callbacks.

Then there are the jobs I'm over-qualified for. If I don't meet the minimum qualifications, I exceed them- in a "bad" way. But I apply regardless, because, well, what else are you supposed to do when you can't find work? I applied for a sales associate position at a bookstore. A cashier at the Home Depot. Two different associate positions in two different supermarkets. I actually scored an interview at one of the supermarkets, but apparently, my two degrees made hiring me a risky move on their end. No one else contacted me.

So, after having no luck whatsoever, I'm beginning to get desperate. As much as I detest this option, I submitted my application (and fee, of course) to the Missouri State Board of Nursing and have just been issued a temporary nursing license. To make it permanent, I simply need to get fingerprinted (another $45.00 fee). Then I will be, once again, a licensed practical nurse, with plentiful job opportunities flying at me from all directions.

I really, really, really don't want to go back to nursing. I would prefer retail or restaurant work. The thoughts of practicing skilled nursing at this point, after going to Ashford and reviving my love for writing and literature, makes me shudder and want to cry. It terrifies me. It forces me to revisit those horrible days in clinical rotations I sometimes have nightmares about. And it makes me feel like a hypocrite. Dispensing unnecessary meds I don't feel right about, encouraging association-approved diets that are a joke, and playing a front-and-center role in a corrupt big business that advertises itself as a national savior bothers me deeply. And it all makes me feel like a quitter, someone who gave up on her dreams too soon because writing or editing professionally was too difficult; it's just "easier" to play the victim and fall back on nursing to pay the bills.

But as I examine the job boards and see the kinds of available positions out there, I realize, with a sickening, sinking feeling in my gut, that this really is probably my only option. I need money. That's all it comes down to. And to earn that money, I will most likely have to suck it up and don the scrubs again, like a costume, and cry myself to work every day while praying I don't hurt anyone- either accidentally or intentionally. Undoubtedly, millions of other people start their days the exact same way. Why should I strive to be any different?

I am trying to accept this. I am praying, desperately, for God to change my heart about nursing if it's what I have to do. I try so hard to view it as a ministry, but right now, I cannot get my past my bitterness, resentment, and general negative feelings about both the medical business and my own personal accomplishments and goals.

I mean, I finally went back to school and finished my English degree. Why must I forget that?

Well, last week, trying to smother these feelings and grow up, I loaded up my laptop and headed to McDonald's to use the free Wi-Fi (didn't have Internet yet; JUST got it and I am just now finally updating from home!!!)  With my new temporary license, I searched the Missouri state job board for LPN positions, and I found one opening for which I was qualified. And let me tell you, I took my time, carefully reading over all of the content about requirements and responsibilities, making sure I was indeed qualified. After deciding I was, I began the online application process, which, in its entirety, took about an hour. I grew weary, anxious, and discouraged as I clicked through the questions, some multiple choice, some short answer. When I finally reached the end and clicked "submit" (after a very long period of hovering over the button in breathless hesitation), a summary page filled my screen. That's when I noticed one little detail I'd somehow missed.

The job I'd just applied for was in PENNSYLVANIA. A town in Pennsylvania that shares the same name as the town I now call home. In Missouri.

I don't really want to describe how flustered, embarrassed, and enraged I became in that moment, but I will say that I closed my laptop right then and stormed out of the fast food joint in a huff. Filling out job applications is not easy. They're long and time-consuming, and I'd just wasted a whole hour working on an especially frustrating one for a job in PENNSYLVANIA. I felt like an idiot, but I didn't think to check about it's in-state status considering it was posted on the Missouri state job board. Ugh.

The best/worst/most amusing part of the whole thing?

They've already contacted me to set up an interview.

Yep. So very typical.

My husband thought it was hilarious, and he pretty much forced me to laugh along with him. And I did, especially when I read this part of the email I received from the recruiter:

What a fail. 

Soooo. I'm still checking the job boards (more carefully now...), but there have been no new postings since that last one. I check Indeed, Monster, the town newspaper, and Craiglist as well on a regular basis, but so far, it's just the same openings. 

It's a bummer. I want to enjoy the time I have to do things I need and want to do right now while my savings take care of my bills, but I feel an incredible amount of pressure to get back to work. I'm really struggling with it. Obviously, I would like to work and have money again, but after going back to college and finishing my degree, I just really believed I was on the path to a drastic career change for the better. And here I am getting ready to settle again. 

But isn't that what we have to do? Isn't that why work is called work? 

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