Around this time of year, I, like everyone else, start to take stock of my life, and I realized this year--as I do every year--that I have a college degree and 12 years of work experience and exactly ZERO marketable skills. Maybe I'm exaggerating--I could get another job, a job exactly like this one, that is slowly eating away at my soul. I'm not really sure how to explain this, other than that if you really want to keep an employee around, make sure she doesn't develop any kind of aptitude to do anything other than what she has to do for that job. Of course I could have gone to graduate school, sometime before I had three kids, and a house, when I had the ability to move near a university with a graduate program. Or I could have gone into something more useful, like healthcare. Now that's something you can do anywhere on earth. The trouble is, that to be successful in healthcare, you have to like people, and their ailments and bodily fluids, and I just don't.
The other reason I can't leave this job that's killing me from the inside out is money. I'm a greedy, greedy person, and even though we all like to complain about how poorly paid we are around here, with my total lack of marketable skills and in the total economic dead zone where I live, there's no way I could even come close to matching my current salary, doing something else, which I don't know what that would be, because I'm not qualified to do anything. Then of course there's the health insurance. We have really good health insurance. By that I mean they actually cover preventive care, and the co-pays and deductibles are relatively low, and when we have a trip to the emergency room or something (three boys--this happens a lot), I only have to make two or three phone calls to get the insurance company to pay up. In this country, that's premium healthcare.
On New Year's Eve, after watching Underdog with M, and sending him to bed, C and I watched Sicko, Micheal Moore's documentary about the Health Insurance Industry (yeah, we're slow, but at two movies a month, our Netflix queue extends out to 2011) and I swear to god it was the most depressing thing I've ever seen. Yeah, I knew that Canada and the UK and even Cuba had state-run health care, and way better health outcomes and all that, and that tons of people in the US have no insurance and inadequate care (I was one of those people until about 8 years ago), but somehow it just never struck me as so unbelievably wrong and ridiculous and outrageously unfair before. I was ready to either march out into the streets or move to the French Riviera after I saw it, but it's super cold here, so I'm not out marching. And I have no marketable skills, remember, so even Cuba wouldn't want me. Instead I'm droning on in my soul-sucking job, so that next time Z needs four stitches, I don't have to pay the $1200 out of my pocket.