Setbacks and alternatives

Almost four months since my last post… And it’s been a whirlwind. I’ve had several professional setbacks, making me question whether I’m likely to really have a viable future in the career path I chose. And I’ve come to question some of the fundamental things about my life here, considering some rather drastic changes.

So yeah, it’s been a busy few months.

I’ve been actively pursuing a full-time job in academia ever since I left my job at the bank. The job that I had high hopes for at the end of last year disappeared. And one by one, other seeming sure-things fell apart as well. Jobs that I was clearly well suited for: teaching focused, no emphasis on research, looking for people with relevant industry experience… Nada.

In most cases, I don’t even get offered an interview. In one, I had two interviews that I thought went really well, but ultimately wasn’t offered a spot. (The interviewers had mentioned at my final-round interview that though they had two openings, they anticipated they’d only fill one of them… I naively assumed that they were telling me this because I was the one.)

I’m still in the running for a job in Boca Raton. In the mean time, I’m teaching as an online adjunct there (and, well, four other universities). And I’m still doing my part-time diversity consulting work, and loving it — when there’s work. The summer was dry, but hopefully things will be picking back up now that businesses are shaking off their summer vacations.

Certainly I’m keeping busy, between all of the adjunct teaching and the occasional consulting. I haven’t really been making time for research and writing, which is a problem… My academic options are severely limited with no peer-reviewed research publications under my belt, but I haven’t been making the time to work on that. (I’ve just this month starting another part-time job writing diversity-related content for an association that’s precisely in my niche area of expertise, so hopefully that will help me get back in the habit of researching and writing more frequently.)

Yes, that’s five universities, one consulting company, and one writing job. I have seven employers at the moment.

The bitch of this is, with seven employers, I’m still not making as much money as I was when I had one full-time job… At least, not consistently. And one of my rental properties officially shit the bed, so I’ve had to sink thousands and thousands of dollars (that we didn’t have to spare) getting it fixed back up and ready to rent again.

I recently stopped and marveled at the predicament that I’m in: I’m working a series of several jobs, all at prices that don’t have any correlation to where I live… and yet I choose to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, at wages that I could be earning for the same work just about anywhere. As much as I love NYC, it does make me stop and wonder: is it worth paying such a premium to live here, when I’m not being paid NYC wages?

Of course there are plenty of cheaper places to live. But the expense and trouble of moving somewhere is certainly not insignificant. And though my work is done at home and is possible anywhere, Sal works at a job that’s only available in certain cities, and is pursuing a career in theatre that is really only available in limited places. There would have to be a damned good place to run towards, to make us seriously consider leaving the city.

One observation worth noting: the cost of living in the Italian countryside is remarkably low. I’m talking six-bedrooms-eight-baths-and-furnished for less than half of our rent here. I had a great time on a visit there in February grading papers and whatnot from the courtyard in Cortona… I sure could imagine making that my regular office space.

Just sayin’.


I could get used to this.

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