Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Some kind of crazy

As I may have mentioned once or thrice, I do not have a job. I haven't had a job since last June. My unemployment has run out.

Jeff has just the smallest tatter of a job--a joblette, if you will. There is a bit of work for him, but the company prefers not to pay its contractors unless sued. So, he only plays at rewriting their technical manuals, preferring not to spend much time on the project until and unless they start paying his invoices, beginning with the ones from last summer.

So we have no job. No job prospects. No income. No self-replenishing savings account. What we do have is truly fucking excellent health insurance, thanks to the fact that my old employer was based out of Massachusetts, where comprehensive infertility coverage is required by law. The COBRA payments may be eating up $722 per month, but what's $722 when you're talking unlimited IVF coverage, meds included?

I couldn't possibly waste the coverage. That would be crazy, right? However, now that I'm hurtling Lamborghini-like down the ART expressway---well, now is probably an imperfect time to start really considering the ramifications.

You see, if I do get lucky with this IVF cycle, I will be pregnant and unemployed, with my health insurance running out just around my due date. And that's a bit on the crazy side too, isn't it? I will be overjoyed at the prospect of a baby, yes, but I will be faced with the daunting prospect of finding a job while pregnant. And not just any job, but enough of a job to cover the mortgage and the insurance and the bills and the groceries for not one, not two, but three people*, even if one of the three doesn't eat much pricey gorgonzola. And if my one brief pregnancy is any indication, I will be nearly incapacitated by morning sickness for at least two months. (Can you imagine a small, incoherent, pale-skinned fountain of spew? Yes? That's me!)

I would not be good at job hunting while pregnant. In addition to the potential mid-interview spewing, I am not good at hiding things; I might just feel compelled to tell the potential employer right up front. I know I shouldn't, but that might be hard. I would feel somewhat duplicitous if I were to take on some engrossing managerial job--the kind that would pay me what I need to earn for all that mortgage and goronzola nonsense--then start a thousand things and, a couple of months later, have to take off for my (doubtless unpaid) maternity leave.

There's a much less fancy-tickling possibility, or even probability, of course: if April's IVF is not a success, what then? Sans pregnancy, I can go out and look for a job wholeheartedly--if my heart still has some wholeness to it--but, even if I manage to get a position, I will somehow need to explain away the half-dozen monthly doctors' appointments and the "vacation" I'll need for the next cycle in July. Or October, if it comes to that.

It's hard for me to accept that, if I am not pregnant this year, I most likely never will be. My chances of having the insurance or the resources--or the heart--to continue with IVF after our coverage runs out seem slim. Crazy-slim, in fact.

*Jeff, bless his hard-working academic soul, doesn't have the kind of job skills that would bring in a mortgage-making salary. See, he spent his twenties getting educated, and, alas, what is one to do with postgraduage degrees in the history of science, exactly?


Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh Bugs. Bloody hell. Sometimes, sometimes good things do happen to good people. I hope you two get a break soon, very soon. This sucks rock.

2:06 AM  
Blogger wessel said...

Well, spit. When IS the economy going to improve? Sigh.

Are you willing to get creative? Are you willing to consider alternative ways of making money? (I'm not suggesting a night job on the Sunset strip--no no no.)

When we moved to Israel, we were told that we should NOT expect to find employment in our fields, but that the most successful immigrants were those who had multiple marketable talents and who were willing to do things they might never have considered before. For example, I am in the medical profession, but don't care to jump through all the necessary hoops to get licensed here, so I plan to start tutoring English (a high demand job in this part of the world) to children in my home. It will not make me rich, but it might pay for groceries.

Since you have some free time on your hands, you might also consider hanging out at the library and reading all the books on how to make money, how to start a home business, how to live on nothing, how to buy real estate with no money down, how to "live simply" etc. I have learned a lot from reading stuff like that, but as long as I had a company tit to suck, I never had courage to try any of those ideas out.

Ok, that is my assvice for the day. If you want more, you know where I am!

I know that it's hard not to worry though. Oh, also, go to the Mormon websites and learn how to stockpile food. You think I'm joking, but, um, I'm not!

4:50 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

As someone, like Jeff, who spent my 20's getting educated in an even more esoteric field, I know how difficult it can be. Job hunting during IF treatment is almost impossible. Is there a chance that Jeff could find different employment? I so hope that everything works out for you guys.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No assvice for you Bugs, but I hear you, the economy ain't so great here either. My husband is working a job he's less than crazy about and the interviewing process for a new one is like molassess in January.

When he comes home and wonders if a job is there tomorrow or not, I kind of shrug my shoulders and tell him it will be fine and it's really o.k. with me, even though I'm anal retentitve and always worry about money. I could be as rich as Midas and still worry about it being taken away because IF has made me nuts like that. The truth is though, in my humble opinion, there will always be jobs, etc., but making a baby just isn't as easy as I 'want', so if you have the coverage, then great, go for it and don't worry about the rest. Just concentrate on a terrific IVF cycle. Not being Pollyanna, because that's so not me, but honestly, the stress of looking for a job, etc., etc., pales in comparison to the crap we've all gone through trying to build our families, so I really don't stress about that stuff anymore. My life hasn't been the easiest in some ways and one thing I've found out is that when my back was against the wall and there literally was no place to go, I found a way out, so I don't worry about employment anymore. Something will turn up. Wessel has some good ideas...how about Ebay? I know people who scour flea markets, etc. and make a couple of thousand a month just as seller on Ebay. Or are you a good cook? Perhaps go around to some restaurants with samples of your goodies and see if you can start providing for them? You could even make something if you're creative and sell it on Ebay. Like I said, no assvice, but I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best.


8:16 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Anna H. said...

No advice here (although everyone else has some great ideas), just wishing this all wasn't so fucking complicated.

I think Emily's so right in what she says -- if the April IVF works, the rest of it come together, too. You might not find the ideal solution right away, but eventually you'll settle into something that works well for you and your family.

You've been through so much and are stronger than you know, Bug...

Wishing for some simplicity for you and Jeff and for the rest of us, too.


10:22 AM  
Anonymous deborah said...

Bugs, you can have my job if you want it. The only reason I'm hanging onto it is so we can pay for the freaking IVF (out-of-pocket, mind you...we've got ZERO insurance coverage).


It sucks that we have to deal with the economic side of babymaking, when everybody else gets the goods for free.

My assvice? Go for the baby, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. Things tend to fall into some sort of place when you've got a strong marriage and a good head on your shoulders.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$722 a month?

That's more than what I was earning, working full time, my last job back home.

And people wondered why I didn't have health insurance...

birch and maple

11:50 AM  
Blogger kristenL said...

I am also gainfully unemployed in the Bay Area. And woefully overeducated and in debt.
It seems that everyone I meet is unemployed or they are a massage therapist (perhaps code for sex worker).
So who the hell are buying these $750,000 , 600 sq', one bedroom places all over the place?

11:53 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Maybe having no money will get you pregnant! Works for crack-hos. Worked for my sister who has 6 kids and lives in a 2 bedroom house. Worked for a friend's sister who also has 6 kids and a husband on disability. Another friend who was in financial trouble wanted to have a baby and her defense was I know lots of people who have babies but don't have money. So there you go!

But seriously - use every bit of that insurance and just do what you can now to have that baby! We are blessed to both have jobs (and reading your post remindes me to be thankful for them even though I sometimes hate my job). But we are paying $20K for our IVF because our insurance sucks. Oh and we also have the bay area mortgage to pay.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone with an equally useless history PhD, I can say that he may have more skills than he thinks he does.

The trick is to think not in terms of what he was told he learned, but the hard day-to-day skills that made it all possible. Things like being able to type, and spell, and use a computer. Like being able to organize and handle data. Like being able to explain things clearly to students.

All these things are gifts to employers, who are (to judge by my own experienced) used to dealing with people who can't spell, don't think logically, can't plan, and don't know how to make sense of government forms. (If you can handle the jargon that infests a lot of academic theory, parsing government requirements is relatively easy.)

I'd love to have a job that uses the knowledge I learned as well as my skills -- but this one is not too bad (and it has health insurance).


12:49 PM  
Anonymous Leggy said...

Ditto to what others said re: going for it and think creatively re: job potentials.

I also wanted to speak to your point re: this may be our last chance. I so know where you are coming from on that one. But please don't put yourself under that kind of stress. If you go into this IVF thinking "its got to work this time because its my last chance to have a baby" you are going to make yourself nuts. Just take it one day at a time. If it doesn't work, maybe you'll get another job with IF coverage and you can try again in six months. You never know where life will take you.

As for jobsearching while pregnant/TTC, I said this on April's blog too: both my husband & I have hired people who announced one month after hiring that they were pregnant. We worked it with them, they took maternity leave, and came back. It can work.

1:29 PM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

Crud nuggets! I had some witty and pithy comment ready but Blogger gagged on a bit of electronic scunge and I lost it!

I concur that you should do all the ART babymaking you can on the insurance and worry about the little stuff later. The baby (once he gets here) really doesn't need much of anything but YOU, ya know?

And Babies-on-Nothing can be done. I'm pinching pennys till they scream and we're getting by on a $27,000 middle-school teacher's salary. It's not fun or easy but it won'tbe forever. In the meantime we're all fed, clothed,and happy and have enough excess for me to get internet access ;)


2:43 PM  
Blogger Cricket said...

I had no idea about how much pressure is on you. Suffice it to say that I empathasize; I got pregnant with my son as we were trying to dodge bankruptcy. Keep going on the kid thing if you can; when all else sucks, it's really nice when one thing doesn't.

5:24 PM  
Blogger k said...

Related to Leggy's comment (hiring people who then announce they are pregnant...and having it actually work out), I thought I would mention that my current employer just hired two women (both hired last month), to work in the same department, who are both 6 months pregnant.

So, you know, I think it depends on the employer. Not every company will crumple up your resume and toss it in the trash right after you waddle away from the first-round interview.

Anyway, how could they not hire you, with your cute belly and glowing complexion?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Omigod, I totally agree with deborah about letting the chips fall where they may and going for it. (Not that you were asking for our assvice.) Hope it all works out for you.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

~droping in my 2 cents~

My sister-in-law, like you, was an incredible photographer. She hated her job so she ditched it and became a photographer, full time. It took her a while but she is now making money.

If you enjoy photography as much as your photos reflect, why not try that?

Just an idea :)

8:58 AM  
Blogger sherry said...

Just plopping in my two cents and sorry if it's assvice...

You're a damn fine, creative person and one hell of a photographer. With a little thinking outside the box, I'm sure you'd be surprised what you can come up with!

9:17 AM  
Blogger amyesq said...

Ugh. I feel for you. I honestly don't know if it would matter if you were pregnant during the interview (or right after you get the job), if you are good at what you do. Maybe just keep an eye out for possible jobs in your field? Man, I wish selling tomatoes were more lucrative.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous oliviadrab said...

I am 100% with Julie on this one. You are a fantastic photographer, and from a graphic designer's perspective, a good photographer is extremely valuable. I don't know if that's something you have done this professionally already or if you even like to do it, but you are really good. I'd hire you!

3:55 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Bugs...I hope you get a dream job and your dream baby. Best of luck dear.

1:42 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Ugh. Damn economy. I have a masters in history, so I understand your husband--fortunately, I escaped from academia to law school. Oh, maybe law school? Yeah, that's what I'd advise, because there aren't enough lawyers.

Good luck with this next cycle.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Millie said...

Another unemployed, infertile Oakland resident here. Emily had some great words of wisdom so I won't repeat them.

There's so much stress already with this stuff it just sucks to have all these added levels to it.

If you do think you want to go into photography around here, I have a couple of friend's who are pros and always looking for assistants. Might not pay the best but you could see if you like it. I'm just sayin...

7:55 PM  
Blogger April said...

Oh Bugs. I wish I had sage words of wisdom, but alas, I do not.

But I'm thinking of you. And my advice/assvice - go for it. Wing it. Things will shake out in the end, and as strong as you are (stop shaking your head - YOU ARE STRONG) you will make it through this beautifully.

8:50 AM  

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