Not the brightest idea I’ve ever had

Writing a blog about my search for a career/job has proven to be problematic in many ways.

It’s made me worry that I didn’t get a job because the prospective employers found this blog and read what I wrote about them. So I stopped mentioning the job interviews and positions I’d applied for.

Then, complaining about aspects of my current part-time position as a reporter for a local news site and free print weekly has alerted superiors to warn me not air my opinions so freely, lest I compromise my mission to report on events and situations fairly.

Also, it’s never a good idea to complain about one’s employer on a public site.

Maybe my problem is that the blog is public. I should probably be journaling about all this stuff and then writing a book about it later, after I am no longer employed at a place I’m complaining about. Or I should make this thing private and unsearchable and only give out the web address to close friends and family via email, not broadcasting it over facebook, which is full of “friends” who are not really my friends anyway. (Hi, those of you reading this and wondering if I meant you!)

Whatever the case, I am finding it hard to write about anything related to my job search, or rather, lack of a job search, or my current position.

I suppose I can say that I may have wriggled my way out of covering the village government, simply by not covering it adequately, though that was not intentional. My heart’s not in it, of course, so there’s that, but I also don’t have the stomach for the quarreling.

My husband came down with the flu on Monday, so he’s been home since Tuesday on. He finally went to the doctor today — one day shy of health insurance coverage, mind you, because our doctor doesn’t work Fridays, and he’s been feeling miserable enough to self pay. I have been trying my best to take care of him.

Now writing that sentence: “I have been trying my best to take care of him,” makes me realize that I have been trying to do that since he started his full-time job at the end of November.

That has been a difficulty for a while between us. I have high expectations of myself, and I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to be a good stay-at-home spouse, just like Shane was to me for the four years that I worked full-time as a teacher. I want to make delicious dinners with leftovers so he can bring a lunch to work, keep the house clean, do the dishes and the laundry regularly, but then again, I don’t really want to do any of that at all. At the end of the day, when none of that has been done, I feel like I’ve failed him and myself.

I’m also rather a workaholic, so even though I’m technically part-time at the paper, I have made it so that I work on stuff for the paper pretty much a lot of the time. That way I don’t have to do housewife-y stuff, either.

On top of that, I have taken on lots of responsibility at this church. This church! I am in charge of hall rentals, and now I am trying to organize a pancake supper that is happening NEXT WEEK!

One has to understand something about my past to comprehend the anxiety with which I face this freaking pancake supper. I can remember, in my entire 36 years of life, only one or two gatherings that I organized that were successful. I think they were while I was in grad school, so it wasn’t difficult to impress the other grad students I’d invited, who were equally as or perhaps a little nerdier than I was.

OK, so this is at CHURCH for God’s sake, so what am I worrying about? Well, I still want it to be FUN.

In my search for the right formula to create said FUN, I may have tried a little too hard. I bought a bunch of Mardi Gras masks and beads — I mean, come on, Pancake Day is fine and all, but let’s spice things up a little — and I’m thinking about holding a pancake race (which I’ve learned actually happens at pancake suppers in the UK). Shane and a few friends at church are asking me, “Who’s going to run in a pancake relay race?! It’s a bunch of old people who can’t run!” And I’m saying, “The kids?” while I’m thinking, “I want to run in a pancake relay race! And I want to watch a bunch of people making fools of themselves running in a pancake relay race!”

Did I mention there will be mimosas? Everyone is excited about the mimosas. Maybe with mimosas people will wear Mardi Gras masks and beads and run around flipping pancakes. Maybe it will be fun.

Copy editor and reporter and … photographer?

I could say I have been busy with work, getting more responsibilities at the paper, which is sort of true, but since it is only part-time, there’s no real excuse for my long hiatus from writing.

There was that whole job interview thing — I finally heard back that I didn’t get the job, weeks after the second interview I mentioned previously. It was fine not getting the position, especially after worrying that I’d have to interact with that horrible professor, but I did feel like maybe they had somehow seen my blog post about them (and that I didn’t really want the job). I don’t know how they would have, but I stressed out about it anyway. That paranoia led me not to want to write about much else on this blog. And so a couple of other job interviews have come and gone without so much as a … tweet.

I still do enjoy working for the paper, and staying there is now made easier by the fact that my husband has secured a full-time job (with benefits!) in the city. The whole idea of giving the Ailes operation a hard time is extremely satisfying, which unfortunately allows me and my colleagues to put up with a lot of other stuff, like not being able to go full-time or get insurance benefits.

I remain eternally grateful for the opportunity to develop my skills there, though. I have, since my last posting, written a few more articles, one or two of which have had an impact (however small) on parts of the community.

One of my stories on the Garrison School Board meetings, for example, reportedly angered the teachers there, which was the desired effect. They were not present to hear the condescending tone of some the parents or to defend themselves, and so I felt it my duty to inform those not present of the general themes of the discussion. Unfortunately, I heard that the teachers felt the article was immensely critical of them, when in fact I had tried my best to report as “objectively” as possible.

I haven’t been writing as much for the paper as one might expect, given my “added,” somewhat editorial responsibilities at the paper. With the awesome digital SLR camera that I bought myself for my birthday in October, I have been taking much better pictures than I ever could with my old point-and-shoot, and my photos have been appearing a lot more in the paper than my writing has. My shots of the late-night flooding at high tide in lower Cold Spring (in my last post), for example, were some of the only ones that I have seen. When we need front-page photos now, the editor often asks me to get the shots.

gingerbread ornamentLiving nativity Saunders Farm

The wonders of digital photography! Now any numbnut can take a hundred photos and find a good one somewhere in the mix. I DO want to learn more about photography, though, so that I don’t have to sort through a hundred photos to find one that is merely decent. I know there are several ways to do so that are free, through the Internet, perhaps through all of my artsy photographer friends, but it just means getting up and doing it….

Which brings me to the confessional part of my blog: Am I in a rut? Am I, as I type this entry while noon approaches, in bed, in my bathrobe, shirking my duties as the spouse who works part-time, avoiding the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the cooking, and contemplating what I’ll watch next on Netflix instant? Am I avoiding a job search that will land us in the city so that my husband doesn’t have to commute an hour and a half each way and so that I can continue working at this paper and take on village reporting duties? Am I also making no progress whatsoever on journaling or writing fiction/creative nonfiction/my first novel? Am I, perhaps, rather depressed? I’m afraid the answer is yes. But therapy will resume as soon as my health insurance kicks in next month.