Saturday, October 22, 2005


Another insomniac night. Too awake to go to sleep, but too tired and frustrated to work on my site any more; it’s only making me painfullly aware of my deficiencies in PHP. So here I am at 1:00 in the morning freewriting to the darkness.

I hate feeling directionless. The six months since graduation have not been kind to me, and I’m really starting to wonder where I’m going with my life. I was on the verge of deciding to go back to grad school for that degree in linguistics, and then the rug was pulled out from under me. How can I worry about grad school when I don’t even have a job? But then, how can I worry about a job when I’ve got grad school looming over me?

Job hunting has never been something that I’ve been very good at. Ironically enough, it seems that the only time I had true success in finding jobs was during college. When I was about to be let go from my second-to-last student job (because there wasn’t as much work during the summer), I had something else lined up within twenty-four hours. It was the most amazing feeling. I’ve seldom felt so empowered.

Flash forward to April. I had two job offers before I even graduated, and they were both for fairly decent money. I turned down the slightly higher-paying one for the one that sounded more promising in the long term, and it just about killed me. The project was horrible—not at all what they had made it out to be—and I got reassigned from editing to desktop publishing (in Word!) after the first week.

I hated it. I wasn’t sleeping well, so I was drinking quite a bit of caffeine just to stay awake at work. I was spending anywhere from two and a half to three hours commuting every day, and it started to wear on me very heavily. By the third week, I was getting sick, and I had to let my boss know that I could not keep working full-time. So I got taken off that project and informed that there weren’t any other projects at the moment. I was employed but out of work.

The next few weeks were pretty hard. My nearly four-year winning streak had come to an end after precisely eleven days in the real world. I found something soon enough, but I shouldn’t have taken it in the first place. They were originally offering between $22,000 and $26,000 (my hourly wage the last few semesters was about equivalent), but I managed to talk them up to something that I felt I could settle for. Meanwhile, my wife got a pretty hefty raise.

And four months later, here I am, wondering where exactly I want this career of mine to go. I feel proud of my web site, but I’m no web developer; I’m a decent layout artist, but I’m no graphic designer; and I’m a darn good editor, but I’m feeling less and less sure that that’s what I want to spend the next forty years doing.

But somehow, despite all of that, I have a feeling that things will clear up soon.

Blog 4 Replies to “Fog”
Jonathon Owen


4 thoughts on “Fog

    Author’s gravatar

    I should be in bed, but I’m not. I’m too tired to move from the couch to my bed. I’m really afraid of graduating and job hunting. I’m thinking that Utah really isn’t the place for editing jobs, but my family’s here. I’ve got lots of tough decisions that I have to make here soon.

    Author’s gravatar

    At first I thought your comments that they might be reading your website were paranoid, until I read that they were editing the job posting. That is a bit strange, and if true…. well. Certainly something they are entitled to do legally, but not pleasant to countenance.

    Author’s gravatar

    I enjoy your forum, and I hope it is back soon. I was reflecting further on your predicament. Probably the closest I’ve felt to that was in August of 1999. I was 2 months pregnant and my husband had developed a medical problem that made it difficult to work. We had a 3 year old and it was going to be her birthday soon, and I was really depressed about not being able to get her anything.

    I had started a job in June. It was customer service, but I felt there was a lot of room for growth in that company. While I was working there, I got a call to interview for something clerical in the juvenile court system, which I think would have been incredibly interesting. But due to the attendance policy with my status as a temp, I couldn’t take time off to do the interview. A few weeks later, things started getting hideous at that job. For one thing, they brought the NorthEast region online with our call center so we were dealing with New Yorkers who were not happy about dealing with Utahns. And there was a particular conflict inherent to our operations that got my goat, so I wound up quitting. Because I had always had an easy time finding work before, the following weeks were really depressing.

    I’m not a very ambitious person. After graduating in linguistics (’95), I took a job as a secretary for a biomedical company. Maybe it has something to do with me being a female in Mormon culture, but my self-esteem isn’t very tied up in making a certain amount of money or in my profession being my identity. Maybe this isn’t universal, but the apparent need of some men to identify with their profession has caused me a lot of frustration in life.

    So now I’m a bookkeeper, and I’m pretty happy with that. Though if I worked night shifts as a custodian, I’d net about the same money (after paying a babysitter and being taxed for a higher wage). I don’t know if I would be just as happy being a custodian though. And, I guess it’s always possible to claim that the babysitter’s pay comes out of my husband’s income and not mine.

    Well, I guess my point is that even though it’s hard to keep trying when you’re down, it’s important. I guess I had another question, which is whether BYU pays unemployment insurance on its employees. I don’t think it does. This has been a matter of much discussion by one of my co-workers who I guess is worried about being laid off, is that in Utah non-profits aren’t required by law, and it has to do with the LDS Church not wanting to.

    Author’s gravatar

    pooka: They don’t pay unemployment insurance. The guy I talked to from the DWS told me that this is typical of universities. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Church.

    Cicada: The more time passes, the more I realize that Utah is a desolate wasteland of editing jobs. But I’ve got the same problem—all my family and friends are here, and even though I’ve talked for years about wanting to move back to Arizona, the thought is really scary. It was hard enough to leave my family and friends around Provo and move back to Salt Lake.

Comments are closed.