Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year Rut

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.


  1. Oh, I have so much to say about this post. First off, I WENT to graduate school & still feel like I have no marketable skills or at least, very limited ones--& I have no confidence in those these days. Does becoming a parent do that to most folks? Or is it me? Or is it staying home full-time? Or is it having three kids ages five & under where I swear I have little energy for anything else?

    Plus, I am not sure the I want to be doing what I went to graduate school for, teaching. I, too, think about healthcare, nursing specifically, something that never, ever crossed my mind growing up, in college, etc. I am not sure I would be all that crazy about the bodily fluids thing either but it just seems so damn practical & I wasn't thinking 'practical' when I went to college or chose jobs out of college or went into the Peace Corps. OK, grad school for education seems sort of practical but not now, if I don't think I want to teach. Huh.

    Health insurance, oh, health insurance. This matters. We are paying out of pocket this year for university health insurance (I think P, as the student, is somewhat subsidized) but the rest of us are not & it is UGLY. Out of all of our expenses, including rent, it is the one that makes me the most stressed & crazy. I too want to march (universal health care & supporting gay marriage are the two things I really say I would march about but so far, only have the bumper sticker on the minivan about) but haven't done any investigating or figured out just what street to march on so I just complain to all my friends.....

  2. 1) The UK's health care has some giant pitfalls. Americans romanticize it, but it is not the solution. Nor is the American system, but I wish I knew the answer...

    2) I have 3 graduate degrees. And I still have no skills. So, that wasn't the best of answers for me...



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