I am a part of a very tight group of friends, 90% of whom are either unemployed or underemployed. For the past several months to a year, as our youngest children have moved out of diapers, we have been applying to every job imaginable, sprucing up our resumes, networking-networking-networking. We are all in our mid thirties to early forties. Our youngest kids are in preschool or early elementary. We come from college educated backgrounds, with many of us possessing graduate degrees or other specializations.
And yet, except for a few of us, we can not get work.
We meet for lunch every couple of weeks, rarely talking about our children. Instead, we brainstorm about every possibility that could lead to employment. “Did you send your resume to Y?” “Are you going to sign up for X class?” “Would you be willing to work the 2nd shift?” “How far is too far a commute?”
We are thankful, grateful, appreciative of the fact that we were able to be stay at home parents for the early years of our kids’ lives. We are even more grateful that our spouses earn incomes which pay for our households. And yet, we are desperate to go back to work.
I include myself in this group, though I haven’t exactly been looking for a job. But for the past two months, I have been looking for an agent for my novel. It’s been a year since the agent for my anthology (which never sold) told me that an editor was interested at Z publishing house, after which that editor never responded. It’s been a year and a half since I wrote two picture books that went nowhere.
I’ve spent the past few weeks applying to three summer writers residencies. I’ve been reading and re-reading websites for low residency MFA programs. I’m having a really tough time writing my next novel, not because I don’t know what to write, but because I’m overcome with anxiety about finding an agent for my first novel. I’m terrified that this book will lead to another dead end.
For the first time in the past seven-and-a-half years, I’m regretting leaving law to pursue writing. I’m wishing I worked just a little longer, so I wouldn’t have such a huge gap on my resume. I’m wishing I didn’t decide to be a writer at the exact same time the entire industry collapsed.
I’m wondering how the hell to get back on track.
So I’m thankful, so very thankful, for this wonderful group of friends, all struggling with the same thing, all supporting each other.