Monday, April 6, 2020

Job Counseling Pandemic-Style

Apple pie for dinner. Week four of quarantining. How's it going, Reader?

I taught my last class this morning and am "off" this week for Spring Break. I had some sautéed Swiss chard with garlic and olive oil for an extra-early dinner, along with a slice of bread that I baked yesterday, slathered in butter. I've honestly found my baking groove, something that's been a part of me since I was a little girl. Which reminds me -- I had an "interview" with a job evaluator/counselor the other day, all as part of the post-post divorce shit-show. It took 4 1/2 hours for a professional to interview me, pandemic-style via the internets. He ate a sandwich during the interview, and I stepped out of camera range to take care of Sophie when she needed something. The purpose of this "counseling?" I believe it was to evaluate my earning capacity and to make recommendations on how to better utilize my time. I am, naturellement, eager to get the results as I just know I should be doing more, making more money and better utilizing my time than teaching 20 hours a week and caregiving for 70.  I answered questions regarding my family's work history (where my parents worked, where my sisters worked) and then regarding my own work, from my very first job. Honestly, it was kind of fun to go through my work history -- a kind of trip down memory lane with a guy from Monty Python, except instead of looking at him behind a desk, I looked at him through a screen, right into his living room where he had a sandwich just off-screen and took bites, albeit apologetically, throughout.

I don't know what to tell you about this experience, other than what I took away. That is: if you're a caregiver of a severely disabled young adult, most people in the professional world are not going to know or care about the kind of work you've done, even if you've done that work for 25 years. They might ask you things like, If you were working, could you work 40 hours a week? or What would you need to work 40 hours per week? and you would answer, I already work 90 hours a week! and you'd say that three times when asked the question three times, and when the man sighs and re-words (let me put this more simply, he offered) the question in a way that would be easier for your tiny little mother mind™ to comprehend, you still stammer out that you work 24/7, basically, even as you realize from the very deep depths of your tiny little mother mind™ that it doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter because the very fact that you're being put through this means the real world doesn't understand and probably never will.

"I myself have worked all my life in such a building, and have never once.....



  1. We used to watch that Monty Python sketch all the time at my Ex Glamorous Job. That pie is incredible. I have been having serious thoughts about apple pie. Very serious thoughts. XO

  2. Well, this file me with violent rage. It is it outrage? Both?
    Is your husband having to answer questions about why he doesn't care for his daughter?
    Rhetorical question. But there is a lot here I don't understand.

  3. As a fellow full time Caregiver I have no delusions anymore that the Real World is clueless about the amount of Work involved and that it's vastly underappreciated as a FULL TIME FUCKING JOB that absolutely none of them would do, especially if it didn't come with a hefty Salary, but even IF it did! I'm so sorry the Monty Python Interviewer put you thru such a grueling interrogation... how much MORE are you EXPECTED to do I Wonder... since, shit, only 90 Hours a Week Woman, what a Slacker! Virtual Hugs...

  4. I spit on your ex-husband's shadow.

    Surely there are more hours in the day Elizabeth that you could be working. Say from midnight to four am, a short nap and then after caring for Sophie, off to work. Of course you would have more time to work if you didn't have a four and a half hour interview, skipping that would have freed up more time. Have you tried vitamins? Prayer? The blood of Jesus? I'm sure if we all put our tiny minds together we could come up with new and inventive ways for you to work more than twenty-fours in a day. Just saying.

  5. You roused vivid memories of the years of 24/7 caregiving I did for a totally disabled husband who could not be left even for a few minutes. Friends would say, yes, I know it's 24/7, but this event is on a Saturday! Surely you could come? Evidently not understanding what the 7 meant.

    People who haven't been there are rarely able to grasp the reality.

    I wish you could have said, "Look, I really don't have time for this. When this pandemic thing is all over, why don't you come to my house to interview me? Perhaps you could help me feed and take care of my adult daughter's personal needs as we chat?"

  7. You always nail it. It's hard putting oneself in someone's shoes. That's a truth we have to accept. Many thanks for such a beautiful post.

    Keep safe.

    Greetings from London.

  8. Well, it sounds like you handled the repeatedly condescending questions (and their implications) well. I cannot imagine why you would have to relate the work history of your family (!) and I can't imagine why this would take nearly five hours. I hope you were drinking!

  9. Christ on a bike, Elizabeth! What could your ex and the court possibly be thinking?! My blood is boiling here. Thank you for the comic relief at the end. Whew.

  10. Oh, for the love of fuck. That is beyond fucking ridiculous. I would not have lasted beyond the first 15 minutes, nor would it have been a civil discussion, I'm afraid.



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