Working?

This week I got my work permit in the post.  A month early – arrggh.  Now I have to look for paid work.  Yesterday I applied for a job running an after school programme in North City – quite the poorest part of the county and probably not even a real vacancy anymore (seems the non-profit website I used is a little unreliable)…but it made me dust off the CV and get my head around some letter writing skills again.  I am off to try my hand at applying online for some Med School research assistant jobs now.

I am looking for part-of-the-time-paid-work as we have a part time place for Kazuo at a daycare centre nearby that will be quite suitable.  I am not planning to go back to teaching here as I only want to engage in paid work for the social contact and to gather together a little fund for relocation expenses.

I think that the rest-of-the-time-unpaid-work takes up enough of my energy and enthusiasm.  Working outside the house again will be a challenge.  Frankly I am not sure how the super-moms do it…and I guess I have discovered that I need our family life to be my main priority for a few years yet, so paid employment that involves passion and take-home enthusiasm/activity might just be beyond my own personal remit.

At the same time, Akira has embarked on job-seeking and is getting some good responses…so we shall see how that impacts our future plans soon I guess.  All change again!

I am feeling a little wistful already about my days with my little man…and nervous about how his sensitive little soul will cope with daycare as he has lately become (predictably for his age) very wary of others, very clingy to Mama and Dada and very shy of other children.  Sigh…if only it was possible to stay home all the time, but alas, our lifestyle does not really allow for such luxuries these days.  Not working, with all the social strangeness that comes with it, is still quite an attractive option right now.

But on with the serious job of finding some other work…and on with the happy job of looking out for this one:

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Not everything that isn’t working is broken…

For the first time in my life, I have just spent 6 months not working. A curious experience… and one that is not coming to an end in the forseeable future. It has recently gotten me thinking about all the people/things in the world that don’t ‘work’ and what that might mean…

When things don’t work, they are usually a source of frustration – and are often discarded, or put in a pile to be mended or altered. But what about people? And what are the reasons why they sometimes don’t work?

I’m not broken. I’m just in limbo… we are living in the USA for a while since my husband is working here, and I am waiting for a Work Permit to allow me to work… but I am filling in the time incubating a baby, which will probably mitigate most of my attempts to find paid employment once the permit arrives. I’m not alone, the city I live in, for example, is populated with a silent minority of aliens like me who are accompanying scholarly partners and are thus temporarily unable to contribute to society in the conventional manner.

And there are many women (and a small – but happily growing – minority of men) who elect to leave work to raise their families – and their contribution to society is huge, if economically unquantified.

There are some who do not work because work seems to have excluded them… the unemployed, who may have been employed once, but our tough economic times has shut them out of the workforce, or who may never have acquired the skills to enter the workforce in the first place.

There are people who are not working because health limits their capacity for employment, and people who do not work because they are able to subsist on meagre savings and find other ways to contribute to the world around them. And of course there are those who are so wealthy that they do not need to work…

But working defines us in many ways… and not being able to identify myself with a fixed role in society has sometimes made me feel like something important about my place in the world might get broken if this not working thing goes on for too long… So over the next wee while I am going to spend some time here considering what I AM contributing to society and looking at those other hidden people who do not work, but are not really broken either.