Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Days of Our Work Lives: An unvarnished look at work today: Part II: Susan's Saga. Episode 1: Career Fear

Part I of Days of Our Work Lives ended with David dying and his wife Susan guiltily feeling glad that she'd now be free to be herself....if only she knew what that was. 

Part II: Susan's Saga
 Episode I: Career Fear

Susan sat by the fire. It seemed like only yesterday that David was beside her for their fireside chats, although "chat" is a misnomer--David never turned off his intense brain, always wanting to talk-through problems: family ones, work ones, societal ones. Indeed, in their last "chat," he played out a scenario that could result from all those jobs getting part-timed/temped, automated, and offshored.

Part of her was relieved she wouldn't have to endure any more "chats." Frankly, her favorite part was when he finally finished and they could stare into the fire. But being reminded that those chats would be no more, that everything with David would be no more, saddened her, scared her:

 "How will Adam be affected? He was just starting to do okay in school. And the $250,000 David left me won't be enough to live on forever, even here in Sage River. Ten hours a week of music lessons won't give me enough income. I'll need to look for a job. Maybe not immediately but soon. And, oh my God, that means interviewing, and probably by whole panels of interviewers." Susan had an outsized fear of any sort of public speaking ever since she was ten and forgot her lines in the Christmas pageant.

"But I don't even know what sort of job to go for. I have no skills. I have a 15-year-old degree in sociology, and except for my music teaching, I haven't done any real work except a little temping and my typing sucks and I hate computers. David loved computers. Except for Facebook, shopping on the Net, and email, I avoid the computer. I hate the computer. Who would hire me?

"And what's my passion? Most people who have a passion knew it from when they were a kid: They wanted to be a fashion designer, a video game designer, an entrepreneur, whatever. I'm interested in a lot of things but no one thing stands out. 

"I'm afraid I'll end up a bag lady! Maybe I need to see a career counselor."

The next episode is HERE.

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