07 September 2012

On being underemployed

This week, I am taking a test run at being underemployed. I submitted my final draft of my thesis to my supervisors on Monday and will be waiting to get their comments back on 17 September. Until then, I don't really have a lot going on. I have to apply for a couple of jobs, finish an article I promised an online magazine in June, and mark an essay for Birmingham. So far, I have been marginally successful. On Tuesday, the first day I was home, I didn't really have a chance to feel it. I worked in the garden and spent more time than I needed to working on my bike. Wednesday was the girls' first day of school (including Mei). Mei goes for only three hours a day, so we have to pick her up (or take her) in the middle of the day. That ends up taking more time than you would think. Now it's Friday.

I've done the things I've been putting off: updating my passwords for different websites, doing some budgeting, thinking about what we should do. I was offered teaching hours at Middlesex, where I have taught for the last three years, which I hadn't expected and was happy to hear. It's 6 hours over 3 days though, which means I have to spend about £52 a week commuting. I might be able to cut that down to £31 if I can ride my bike. But still, it's not great. And they might be able to offer me more hours. Lots of mights and maybes at this point. The good news is that it doesn't look like we will be bleeding out money and we may get close to making up the base salary I'm made as a PhD student. Considering our savings, we could continue on easily until next May at this pace. It essentially buys us 8 months and if I've learned anything in my life, everything can change in 8 months.

It puts off some the nasty reality of making an International move with no job prospect, which is nice. The peace, however, I would feel with going on to Expedia and buying 5 tickets back to Japan... well, it won't be coming for a while. It becomes much, much less likely.

So being underemployed. From what I can tell, I need to do a couple of things to stay sane while I'm doing this. First, get dressed every morning and/or exercise. I'm not doing well today, but I did run so that's something. Second, shave. Third, do something towards the future, be it working on an article, working on part-time work, updating CV and cover letters, applying for a job... something. Luckily, come October, teaching will occupy at least three days of my week and will have some exercise built into it.

And hopefully, a job will come. I'm confident it will. Here, there, somewhere. It's just a matter of time. But I need to not be waiting for that to happen—I need to enjoy 7 September 2012, my feet on the ground in this place, at this time. The job will come soon enough, but I need to do my best to enjoy the here and now for all that it offers. The warm let down into Autumn. The sounds of the girls laughing. The ability to open the window another day. Worry never goes away, regardless of how much money is coming every month...

First Day of School, 2012
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