2 Years! And Still Stuck!
I've been semi-unemployed since January 2007. I lost my job right before the employment rate started going downhill AND was let go the day before my birthday.
In a way, it was good for me. I was suffering from stress-induced diabetes thanks to my horrible boss and co-worker (loved the job, hated the people I had to be constantly in contact with), so I've been able to heal and become healthy. My uncle was also very ill with liver cirrhosis and I was the only English speaking family member in town during the day. Everyone else in the family worked at least 45 minutes away, and I was able to be home to drive him around and be there for emergencies in his last weeks. I was also able to finish my masters degree, which, unfortunately, has come to bite me in the butt.
Now I can't find a decent job, mostly because I'm "over-qualified" for entry-level or grunt work in IT or I don't have enough experience as at a "managerial level". I basically ran my entire department, but because I was never a "manager", I don't count.
I'm lucky I saved a lot while I was working and while I was getting unemployment benefits. I do small odd jobs where I can: small web development projects, graphic designs, watching my uncle's shop on busy days, but I would like to be back in a real job. The only problem now is I don't think I want to be in IT.
No matter what they say, IT is the new "good ol' boys" club. No matter how much experience I have or how much I prove I'm capable at my job, I'm not taken seriously because I'm female/young/Asian, or I'm considered a "threat" (my former boss and co-worker were threatened by me since I was going for my masters in info systems and he honestly had no clue about computers - the guy had to ask me how to work WinZip and the guy he hired to be my "assistant" had to ask me "how do you move the little box in Excel?").
Now I'm stuck here trying to figure out what to do with my life. I need to work and the only thing I have experience in is IT. But I hate it. But I don't know what field to look into for schooling. I know I should just take any IT job I can, but 1) I can't find one, and 2) I'm going to hate it and I'm afraid of getting sick again.
My aunt keeps suggesting I take nursing classes with her, but I'm so afraid I'll hate it or I'll screw up along the way, and that's a lot of money to be throwing away. That's the main argument I keep having with myself for every direction I've considered so far. What if I wind up hating it? What if I'm not good at it? What if I'm just wasting more time and money???
I totally see the irony: I'm already wasting time and money by not deciding.
I'm soooooo glad I'm not (yet) in financial straits. I've been lucky enough to be able to take care of myself all this time. My bills are paid on time and I'm not asking to borrow money from anyone. I'm lucky to have no car or house payments, minimal expenses and live with mom, but I know I can't stay like this for much longer. I can only defer my college loans for so long, and paying the minimum on my credit card will take forever to pay off (though Suze Orman says it's okay while you're unemployed).
My biggest fear is not having health insurance. I can't bring myself to use the welfare/public health system, only because there are too many people much worse off than me who need it, and in Jersey, it's a right royal pain to deal with anyway. This is mom's biggest problem with me, too. She doesn't harp too much about my unemployment since I still take care of a lot of the bills, cook, clean and have been fixing the house up on my own, but my not having insurance is driving her crazy. God forbid I get into a car accident or fall off the roof!
It's gotten depressing, being home all the time. On top of being unemployed, I'm dateless and can't hang out with my friends as much as I'd like. I have to keep a tight fist on my budget, so I can't go out and do things with my friends. Of course, not many of my friends understand why I can't go gallavanting around with them, which is frustrating. I shouldn't have to argue why I can't waste gas on driving or go out to the bar or even throw a dinner at home when all of those things cost money that I need to survive on for I don't know how many more months.
It's like an endless downward spiral. I send out hundreds of resumes a week. How can there not be a spot for me??? I'm willing to take a huge paycut and start all over. Why is my experience and education working against me??? I'm cute, fun and low maintenance. Why can't I find a guy to at least waste my time with???