18 August, 2011

A bit more flux

Excuse the mess as I rejigger things on the blog. I'll get everything sorted soon-ish.

I made the decision on my very own this evening to leave the state for the small city job. When I lined up everything in the here and there - the place, the job, the community, the possibilities... - the decision was vastly easier. It'll be a slim year, but a good start.

So, I'll likely leave the middle of next week. I'll share more details as I get them. I feel good about the decision, but it'll take a little time to sink in.

I wear a jetpack now. Jetpacks are cool.

This turned up on the Interwebs somewhere and I adore it. Science fiction. historical fiction. Dragons and aliens and faraway, never before places! Oh my! If it's good, it's just good fiction. Read (or watch or listen to) something you wouldn't normally reach for on the shelf and you may discover something wonderful.

Further dispatches from the job front

Another update from yet another fellow grad:

"Submitted a bunch of job applications to the cruel gaping maw of the employment market. Hopefully they won't get lost in the ether like the last two dozen."

Meanwhile, I remain in limbo for another day. The out of state job awaits and they need an answer, but I am still trying to get a decision out of the job here in my home state. I refuse to get backed into a situation where I end up with no job at all, but feel like I'm walking the edge on this. Making calls and everything will be sorted one way or another in the morning. I've just been in an utter fog this week. Even reading, which usually is a huge help to me in rough times, has been a challenge.

Fish or cut bait, world!

16 August, 2011

Bit of nonsense

So, I had to give in and buy a car after six years of traipsing about. Sadly, they're still quite a necessity in the hard-headed, auto-centric U.S. Settled on a Honda Fit: reliable, affordable, decent footprint. It'll be here by next week.

Just had to add this, as a nearly life-long Whovian: Somebody at Honda is a Doctor Who fan. Seriously. The color of my car is called Vortex Blue and is basically pearly TARDIS blue. And it's bigger on the inside.
Didn't put it together until now, but...
I am amused.

15 August, 2011

A Conundrum (Well, not quite yet.)

I may have two options for employment. Finally. However, between the two rises a dilemma.

The first position would be with a small, but successful community organization primarily serving immigrants and refugees. It would be back in a nice small city I worked in before moving to Syria in 2006. Actually, the job they think I'm a perfect fit for won't be available until next summer. In the mean time, I'll run the front desk and take on a bunch of other things that need doing. The job next year would involve working with refugee families and the community at-large. It would be a creative, interesting, satisfying job in a really lovely community.

The second remains only a possibility at the moment. I received a call from our local school district this morning inviting me to interview for a position on the crisis intervention team, part of their Safe Schools department. I would be part of a group that works to create safe, healthy schools. In my preliminary interview, with four members of the team, they described their job as one where you work with everyone from students and their families to the district superintendent. It's a multifaceted approach drawing on community work, data analysis, policy work. They may work with one school for just a month, but another for the whole year. You may be assigned to a school, but you'll also be working at other schools throughout the district. Though not an subject I've worked on, it does sound interesting. At the last second, after accepting the non-profit job, I was called back in for a second interview for this position.

The hitch is really one for any of us wanting to work in non-profits: How to survive and plan for a future on a typical non-profit salary?

The community job, at least for the next year, would pay little more than minimum wage. They're throwing in medical coverage and an on-site studio apartment, which is huge and the only way to survive, really. Next year I might earn something in the low 20s, but would be lucky to earn something in the 30s in my lifetime.

The schools job would pay more, offer more benefits and offer hope of a pension (though a dim one given the politics in Florida these days) in 20 years.

The community the non-profit job is in would offer chances to network with other agencies and organizations. I could probably pick up work writing reports for folks or doing small project work.

Low paying, well-meaning jobs with no retirement sounds far more terrifying at this point of life. On one hand, I am desperate to get involved, to rumble, get my hands dirty making change. On the other, I'd rather not be eating cat food from the tin when I'm old. But how to stave off guilty feelings about working for The Man?

It's just another thing that doesn't get discussed in certain circles. Talk of pension is too 'corporate' for some or just not a serious option for some organizations. Thus, my generation will end up in the same place as those trying to find a dignified way to retire today. Yet with tuition, student loan debt and financial insecurity rising for both individuals and non-profits, financial issues around staff retention need to be taken up in a more substantive way by the sector.

I'll keep you posted.
A decision - mine or not - will be made on Wednesday.