Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, December 17, 2004

Today was better

My toes are taped, I was four minutes early for work, and I managed to get quite a lot done. I also found a card on my desk where some kind soul not only wished me a happy holiday but put in a $20 bill. That was totally unexpected and very much appreciated. I don't know who it was, but if you happen to read this blog, thank you.

After work I paid my electric bill (a novelty...before even getting a disconnect notice!), checked into going on the budget plan (wouldn't really help me, apparently; there's not a huge variation, and I'm not liable to have large bills. I was a little concerned when my normal $15-$20 bill went up to $40 as it grew colder, but apparently it averages about $50 for a couple of months in the winter, so that's not so bad.

Then it was over to the station to do some work there on the webpages, once I dealt with some tech issues. I really want to get a better grasp of networks, since I seem to spend a lot of time dealing with problems related to them. I'm pretty good with software, have programmed computers to do my bidding (okay, Ataris rather than giant supercomputers, but still) and can replace most hardware, but networks are a bit of a mystery, and definitely something you come across in libraries. Which bring me to my current quandry.

Ideally, I should find a full-time job in the area that would provide the stability I need for my stress levels to go down. The only real stresses I have at the moment are lack of money for basic things (I don't know what the grand total will be with the unemployment earlier last year and the extra gig at the station, but I'm looking at about $15K gross, or about $11K net, for the year at my main job. That's above poverty so I can't get any help but makes it hard to live in the Lexington metro area. It is somewhat heartening in that if it were fulltime, I could be doing pretty well in terms of my expenses, savings (which are nil at the moment), etc.) Granted, I've cut back a lot, but I just want to know I'll continue to have a roof over my head, electricity, can pay my health bills and that of my pets, maybe have a phone and get back online, and save up enough money for emergencies and start paying off some old debts. Plus, I'm feeling professionally unsatisfied, because I'm rather limited in projects, etc. by working 4 hours a day.

The obvious answer would be...get another job. I've been trying for over a year. Library positions are legendarily difficult to get here, since we have an LIS school, and yes, I might do better by moving away, but I have ties I'd rather not sever and a lot of those 'better' jobs are in places with a much higher cost of living, so I'm not sure how worth it that would be.

I could increase my marketability. I have essentially four routes I'm looking at for now that I could pursue:

  1. Finish my history PhD and gain status but not be appreciably more hireable or make more money, plus I'd have to deal with the same problems that have kept me from finishing it in the past, mostly to do with the oral defence and my anxiety issues, plus several professors who have known me in my crazier moments.
  2. Start the sociology programme, which has greater application, is more tangible, and would be easier to finish, and possibly more money involved in terms of research, but the medical sociology aspect of UK's programme may no longer be attainable due to retirements, although I may be able to still focus on health and society.
  3. Pursue studies in computer science, say at Sullivan University (a technical college), building on my own talents and library training, increase my marketablility even here in central Kentucky, and make a whole lot more money than I could as an academician, although having less status/sense of accomplishment.
  4. Pursue studies in massage therapy. The cheapest option (about $6000 total for a few months and you're finished), they're paid well and as a growing part of healthcare there's an obvious need, although much relies on entrepreneureal ability unless you're working as part of a health provider, spa, or someone else's practice. It is one type of work that actually relaxes me, and I'm particularly interested in the use of massage therapy to help those who have been sexually abused or suffered some sort of postraumatic stress or chronic invasive medical procedures. There comes a point where you literally cannot abide to be touched, and that's a very sad state to be in (I know this from experience), and yet I think in a clinical situation, I could detach my own feelings (and I'd have a lot more control, being the toucher in terms of my anxiety) yet I'd have the empathy for a person who has survived such problems and be able to patiently work through things according to their needs and goals. The main thing keeping me from doing that in the past has been my hands--you need a lot of sensitivity in your fingers and hands--and hopefully that will not be an issue. I'm apparently fairly good for someone untrained. Hmmm...

Option #3 is probably the most flexible/workable/practical one. I'm thinking of eventually doing #4, too, as a way to earn extra money...a massage therapist makes about $35-$50 an hour, and the amount of overhead varies a great deal.

Am I just dreaming? What do you all think?

Anyway, I'm glad the week is over, I'm looking forward to the weekend, and I hope you all are doing well and not succumbing to holiday stress. It occurred to me today that I was acting very much like the grouchy people we've been calling of late. I'm thinking that rest is overdue. :)

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