Life Updates // Making Hard Choices: Moving, Employment, Education, and Expenses

Since I graduated last May (as in, 2015… not recently), my life has felt like it’s been on hold. My depression hit pretty hard in my junior year of college, and I missed several opportunities to progress academically and in a career. By the time I got myself out of my episode, it was too late to apply for internships, which left me feeling pretty bad about my future. It felt like I just kept barely missing opportunities while trying to keep myself well.

When I quit my job in February of this year, the plan was to spend a month rejuvenating myself and then apply for a position at the local children’s (psychiatric) hospital. My goal has never truly changed: I love neurology, especially as it relates with mental illness, and want to study that, so having experience in a mental health care field is preferable. But as I started looking at openings, I found it hard to apply. Many positions were evening shifts and weekends- and odd hours were one of the many things I was looking to avoid.

Now, there is one open for 3 days a week, from 6AM to 7PM. This translates to full-time, working 3 shifts at 12hrs each. It seems a little daunting to be up and active for 12 hours, but at 3 days a week, it offers me more down time in general, which I like. But, I also feel this road block.

My boyfriend recently applied for a couple jobs, and if he gets one of them, the job will be elsewhere- and in each potential location, there are better opportunities for me. Some even have graduate schools with programs I’m looking into. If he gets an offer and accepts, I have every intent to move with him.

This makes me not want to apply. The likelihood of him getting the job isn’t super high; as qualified as he is, and as amazing as he is at what he does, there will be other applicants with more experience, better grades in college, and maybe even better references. I feel foolish to make a decision based on my assumption he might be a contender for these jobs. That said, I also don’t want to accept a job that I will only work for a month or two. The job I’m looking into required a valid state license; my residency is in another state. While I don’t think it’d be too big of a deal, I also don’t want to change residency very often. Instability also looks bad on applications.

And then there is the roadblock of references. I am so very incredibly shy, and asking people for references scares me. I have come so close to applying for previous positions, and I have gotten as far as the references… and then stop. I have some idea on who to ask, but the process of asking is still scary.

Despite all the reasons I don’t want a job, I feel as if it is necessary right now. First of all, my expenses for the four months I’ve been unemployed have put a dent into my savings, and with all my continued expenses with my new hobbies, it’s creating a further dent. I want to sustain my lifestyle without burning up my funds- I worked hard and was incredibly blessed and have been given quite a bit for my education, and that is what I want with that money. I want to have that money for grad school, or if I get lucky and get into a subsized PhD program, a down-payment on a home. With my boyfriend paying off his student loans (entirely!!) I feel more pressure to do what I can to sustain our family. I don’t want to be a drain. I have already decided I need to cut back on my frivolous spending (do I need another $60 Ulta haul? absolutely not), but I also want to bring money in so I stop draining my savings entirely. If I don’t get a job, I will try to cut my expenses even more.

Moreso, though, is just the guilt and boredom I feel on a daily basis. I do want to contribute to society, I want to contribute to my household, and I know that most places I apply to, whether a job or a graduate program, is going to wonder about my four months off. Not being married and not having kids makes it look especially bad; I don’t have a good reason to be unemployed. I also get so bored doing nothing around the house all day… and find myself doing things I don’t need to do, like buying more makeup (without even trying all of my other items first) or eating 6 packets of Finding Dory fruit snacks… I really, really do need a job.

So, I have some hard decisions to make. Do I apply, problems and all? Or do I continue to enjoy a relatively easy life but perhaps make several more sacrifices?

In my heart, I think applying is worth while. Even if I have to move in a couple months. I’m just so scared.

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