Good for nothing nothing forgood

She looked at me and said: “You were already second! That is sooo good!”

I have the feeling I am letting myself, but especially others down. I came close for a job opportunity that I really wanted. I got through to the final rounds, and although my daughter sees it as a success, I have the feeling I am letting her down.

I asked her whether she thought I would find something else; she replied “off course, but being a scientist really rocks”.

And again, my head is all over the place; I didn’t get it because of a limited publication list. Is this really the environment in which I want to work? Am I willing to give up on quality just to get some quantity? Do I want to work in an environment where there are so few financial resources and so high competition which sickens every chance?

My husband says there are many opportunities in the practical field, I would even be able to obtain a job near home and help one or more companies towards socially responsible management… But I want to be in front of students and work with companies at the same time on a free basis, while being paid.

I remember an older big guy when I provided him outplacement consultancy. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said: “I want to lay train rails, during tbe day”. He described his previous job with the only difference that he was no longer willing to work during the night. I asked him whether trainrails are build during the day. “Nope”. He made it impossible for me to help him find a different job. It was my first job and first client on my own. I also had group sessions with over ten manual workers in which I always had to prove myself and show them that their preconceptions about a young girl fresh from school weren’t always (almost never actually) right. During the one-on-one I asked him to narrow it down for me; tell me exactly what he liked about that job. He was a tough cookie and kept refering to the trainrails and daywork. He went home and I felt completely useless. The next week, I saw him again and I used the guideline again to get to his dreams, purpose, goals, … And again. Trainrails during the day. I became annoyed and explained to him that I really was not born yesterday. I know quite a lot about welding and all the different types there exist. I told him I had to work my butt off to get where I was and I did not always like it, but it did give me purpose. So I asked him to think about what he enjoys. He explained me how he liked to make small fixes but with a great outcome. A couple of weeks later, he called me and told me he found a job as a janitor and he was sooo happy with it.

And now I am trying to figure it out myself; what if I cannot build trainrails during the day, what if I am not made to write 20 papers a year and that is the only way to stay in academia?

My husband “gave” me an “academic ultimatum.” If I cannot obtain a job in academia by september 2021, I should go for something completely else. I like the closure aspect, but I know how much I enjoy teaching and doing research… He really does not understand why I am not looking into other markets.

When my husband changes something about his professional profile; he literally gets 80 phone calls a day. He is an engineer in biochemistry. But he wants to do very few jobs. He left several companies for various reasons and still hasn’t found the ideal employer for him. How is this sustainable employment so hard to find in all kinds of different sectors?

While I am writing this, I am lying on my bed and my cat ‘Hobby’ curls up against my feet. He only does that when I am a little bit stressed out or feeling down. He probably smells it when I can’t weep. I know this sounds heavy, but I need this moment to be able to recover from it. My husband asks me “which phase is this actually, did you have denial and anger yet?”. I study this type of phenomena as part of my research, so he knows he is standing on my ‘practice what you preach’ shoes.

Hobby left my feet already. Just as I cannot order him to stay, apparantly I cannot order myself to feel bad just a little longer so that I can enjoy his presence just a little longer.

Sure, I will find a job and nope, lowering my compensation of the government won’t increase my slow speed in finding the right job for me. ‘Activation’, they call it, lowering the compensation till you cannot live from it any longer. Activation toward mobilization while all it seems to do is freezing and immobilizing people. But that story is for next time. Hobby wants to go outside, the rain stopped. See you.

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