Challenge

A while back, kerryalina at Bikram Butterflies finished a challenge she had set for herself and wrote this post about it.  In it, she says:

“But as this challenge has proved, I am capable of so much more than I believe – inside the hot room and outside of it.  Now I just have to acknowledge that proof and actually start believing it.”

I want to feel this way.  I want to feel powerful.  Not helpless.  Not like the whims of the world are slapping away what little control I’ve ever had.

I’m in the midst of a challenge, but unlike a yoga or blog-writing or [fill-in-the-blank] challenge that has a clear start and end date, what I’m in the middle of (and Hubby, right along with me) has no end in sight.

Hubby received yet another rejection letter shortly after I arrived home from my trip.  Just a little reminder that real life is back in full swing.

I’m hating my job these days.  Not the day-to-day doing of my job, but all the bureaucratic bullshit that goes with it.  And the complete lack of respect or appreciation for the fact that last month I billed 20 hours over the minimum, while most others didn’t even hit the minimum requirement.  I didn’t get the raise I asked for months ago, and I haven’t received a single kind word or one bit of thanks from the higher-ups for not only taking on extra responsibility but, in my opinion, excelling under very difficult circumstances.  I asked a simple question during a staff meeting the other day and was answered as if I were a five-year-old.  In front of a roomful of people.

Like I said, no respect.

But I can’t quit.  Not until Hubby has an offer firmly in hand.

Everything, including potential IVF, is on hold until Hubby gets some kind of job.  On Thursday, he has an appointment to meet with a career counselor at the university from which he received his PhD and, until this month, at which he was a part-time instructor.  As of the beginning of the month, he has officially gone from underemployed to unemployed.  And if he has to re-write his resume and begin searching in earnest for a job outside academia, giving up his dream, the only job he’s ever wanted to have, we’ll be facing double defeat.

I hate this.  And I know he does, too.  I begin to worry when he is the one who isn’t feeling optimistic.  That’s his role.  He’s the one who bolsters me when I’m feeling down and not very hopeful about the future.  When he starts showing signs of resignation to a reality neither of us wanted, I know the end is near.

When it does get here, I guess all I can do is hope that, looking back on how we got there, we’ll have been instilled with some small appreciation for what we’ve had to fight through to get to the next phase.

I feel like a broken record.  Haven’t I said all of this before?  But it’s where we are.  Stuck.  And it doesn’t feel like change is coming any time soon.

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20 thoughts on “Challenge

  1. Oh, this makes me so sad. That “stuck” feeling is the hardest — it’s nearly impossible to have hope when you feel like you’re going nowhere. Sometimes, things seem to get better when you least expect it and when you’ve given up, but sometimes they only get better after fighting like hell for it, but either way I do so hope they improve soon for you and that you and your hubby both can make it through, with sanity and hope still intact. Thinking of you!

    • Thank you. I keep hoping for that “when you least expect it” thing to be true, but after four years of disappointment, it’s starting to feel a little bit hard to believe that anything good is headed our way. It sucks to feel like that, but it’s true. Thanks for the well-wishes, though. I may have to rely on other people’s hope to keep me going.

  2. good luck to you guys… as a newly minted PhD (2 years) myself I know exactly how tough this is, and how all the IF stuff can get thrown into a real uncertain situation with jobs. I don’t know if it’s helpful, but I’ve been enjoying reading a number of different ‘post-academic’ blogs, about transitions to non-academic careers etc. I can send details if you like… I’m still in academia and having fertility treatment, but the future is always so uncertain.

    • Thank you. My husband has been looking for academic jobs for four years and can’t seem to figure out what he’s doing “wrong.” If you have some links, I would like to take a look at some of those blogs you mentioned. Best of luck with your fertility treatments!

  3. Stuck is just about the worst feeling ever. When I felt like that I tried to find other ways to stay entertained (aka distract myself). Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Unemployment sucks too. So does infertility. It all just sucks.
    I can’t remember if you’ve talked about this before, but is hubby just looking for jobs locally or in other places too? Would you be willing to move? (not that that’s an easy decision either – the job my hubby just found wants us to move and I am not sure how I feel about that)

    • I know you know about being stuck and how much it sucks. Hubby has been looking literally everywhere for a job, and we are more than willing to move–in fact, that’s one of the reasons we’re not going ahead with IVF right now, because we hope we’ll be moving soon!

  4. Just a little quote… just as much for me as for you:

    “In fact, everything we encounter in this world with our six senses is an inkblot test. You see what you are thinking and feeling, seldom what you are looking at.”
    ~Shiqin

    • Thank you for this. I definitely feel like I need to get out of my own head–heck, out of my own life–for a while. I’ve been so inward-focused that it’s all I see these days.

  5. The not having what you want is hard enough, but the not knowing of how or when (or on the worst days, if) you’re going to get there can be more than one can bear at times. I’m hoping that very soon this difficult chapter for you guys will close. Wishing you peace and strength in the meantime, however you can find it. {hug}

  6. I was in a similar place last year, and I know how hard the waiting can be. For me, it was not knowing when it would all end, not having a target to shoot for, that was the hardest. It will, though. Your husband will find a job, you will quit yours, IVF will be an option. I wish you didn’t have to wait for all these wonderful things to happen – but know from someone who walked this road before you – it does get better, and the joy you’ll feel when he has an offer in hand will be immense. Thinking of you.

    • Thanks, sass. We’ve been in this limbo place for almost four years, since he first started looking for a job, and I am so ready to get out! I have no doubt I’ll be positively giddy the day he gets a job–any job–and gets us out of here.

  7. Everyone has pretty much covered my thoughts here! But I just wanted to say that you are not alone, and that I totally get the stuck feeling. My husband’s situation is different but similar. And I’m stuck in a job that shows me no respect, and more recently some serious uncertainty. Keep on keeping on!

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