03 March, 2010

The Total Perspective Vortex

When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here."

Oh Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... how I love thee.

And so, with that total perspective vortex in mind, I am pressing onward. My problems are likely minuscule in the grand scheme of things. Riding high on the euphoria of Olympic dreams and sporting achievements, I kind-of forgot about my second job. Ha. Scratch that, my first job, but the non-paying one. And it's not that I forgot, it's that I pushed it aside in a surge of unprofessional vindictiveness and anger. I'd had enough. I was tired of being treated like I was invisible. Who waits four weeks for edits on a 30 page report to be happy with "remove your opinions and use simple sentences" as their only tangible editorial advice?

SO, now I have the unfortunate job of rapidly finishing up the paper(s) while also working my second paying job. ... the job I took because this first one - the one that could feasibly help me move forward in my career (had anyone actually cared enough to work with me on it after they hired me, ugh) - failed to meet its own deadlines and pay me. I know the landscape of the working world has changed dramatically over the past twenty years, but one would hope that everyone would be aware of that... to the point that they'd understand that contractors need to be treated with timely respect if their cooperation is desired.

Forget the whole business of money and paycheques, I don't like being treated like a scrap of paper meant for the recycle bin. This contract has taught me that absentee employers are bad news, that I should not enter into agreements unless there is more framework and cooperation presented at the outset, and that I should be wary of inflexible parties when making agreements, despite voicing my own legitimate concerns. So, here I sit, in debt, with a computer I bought for the purpose of fulfilling this contract and building on my professional writing abilities, a stack of non-edits to complete (ugh), a looming deadline, stress out the ears, a 30-hour a week job to pay rent (paycheques are starting to come soon!) and a very compelling desire to scream at the top of my lungs.

This is not sustainable. I have to revert to undergraduate work levels, burning the midnight oil, rushing to "class" in the morning, running off of caffeine and sugar (which is going to wreak havoc on my poor brain, ugh) and hoping I can actually pull this off, flying by the seat of my pants. ... all for an end-of-month deadline so that I can get paid the money they owed me at the end of January.

... and then what? I sure as hell won't be pursuing any further work with those particular people. Fiscal year end is going to make both my jobs moot, and I have NOTHING coming up on the horizon. I'm applying to jobs like crazy, but that doesn't mean I'll get anything, and I'm starting to panic. Do I have to re-apply for a loan from the Bank of Mom and Dad? I HATE doing that. I love buying my food for a week and spending less than $30, but I hate that I am running out of the money to do even that. How is this a life? How is this what I ended up with after graduate school? It's not like I'm failing to market myself, I'm applying for jobs all over the place, but they seem to want engineers, not biologists, or they want biologists with 10 years of experience, not 5.

I had a dream a while ago that's stuck with me because it seemed so absurd but still poignant. In the dream, I was discussing my "situation" whatever it was (dream rememberances, if they happen at all for me, are always really vague, so I don't remember the circumstances that led to this discussion), and the person I was talking to told me that instead of digging a trench that was a mile long and a foot deep, I'd done the exact opposite, creating a mile-deep foot-wide hole. It was suggested that I stop digging, because even trying to dig up wasn't going to lead me anywhere useful. That was my dream! My own subconscious is recognising that my current approach to life is not working. It's not providing me with any solutions, but at least it's telling me to stop digging my very deep, narrow hole!

Anyway, here I stand, a tiny little dot, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot in my personal, mile-deep hole wondering what on earth I should do to get myself out of this mess. I feel like I have no time, no money, no future and no direction. I'm not sure if I'm hoping someone will throw me a rope, or if I'll eventually figure out how to make footholds and climb out of the hole myself. I just need to get moving, and stop digging. I don't think it's worth attempting to tunnel to the other side. Whatever's there is WAY too far away right now, and I'm digging blindly. If I had the benefit of the mole-machine technology, and a GPS, maybe it'd be worth an adventure down the hole, but I'd still like a map or some sort of idea what I'm tunneling in to.

Yes, I realise, all this whinging is the product of someone who's had way too much opportunity thrown her way, and being puzzled by it all. I don't feel like I've squandered what I had, instead, I feel like what I had was part of an ephemeral spring, and only recently have I realised that it was going to (and is) dry(ing) up. As a result, I am trying to figure out how best to adapt to the drought and move onward, or where the next watering hole is, and how to get there. They are, most certainly the problems of a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, and every time I remind myself of that fact, I think of how I should be volunteering more and spending more of my time making my community better... and then the practical me-centered voice jumps up from the hole I've dug and says "wait until you have time and money to do something first!" This situation is not tenable.

No comments: