The Rock and the Hard Place

Choice is nothing in itself; everything depends on what one is able to choose.
Harold J. Brown, “The Language of Life”

I probably shouldn’t have presented things in my last post as choices.  Really the only choice in the matter was whether or not to apply for the job at the non-profit.  Having applied I don’t have any more choices.  If I’m selected for an interview I cannot say no, and if I’m offered the job I will not be able to turn it down.  Choice is a luxury I have lost.

Frequently readers have encouraged, even urged, me to “take any job” regardless of whether it is something I would like to do.  And I have taken jobs that I don’t enjoy or am over qualified to do in order to support my family.  Sadly those opportunities are more infrequent than one might imagine.  I applied for a sales position at the large pet store chain in our community recently.  I thought I might have a chance as there are several older workers there.  The manager looked over my application and just shook his head.  “I’m sorry, he said.  “You are over qualified.”  Before I could say anything in response, he said, “It’s not you, it’s a policy. We’ve found that it’s just not worth the expense of hiring and training someone who is obviously over qualified because even when they say they won’t leave, they do.  And we have lots of applicants to pick from these days.  Sorry.”

I’m not over qualified for the position at the non-profit.  I’m nicely qualified for it. And I would not be able to accept it and work for a few months to save up some money and then quit and take off across the country pursuing Plan B. It wouldn’t be right.  I have supported this organization financially in the past and I care about it and the work they do.  I’d probably enjoy many aspects of the job, although since they are struggling financially (hence the low salary), fundraising (not my favorite thing to do) would be a big part of it.  So I’m ambivalent about it.  But if it’s offered I will have to take it regardless because I don’t have a choice.  We need a steady income.  One bad month (like this one) is enough to send us over the edge. We are on the verge of being evicted – ironically since we would not be able to take our ‘park model’ trailer in that situation we would have to sell it which would provide enough money to pay rent but our home would be gone.  Sort of like the Magi’s Gift!

Of course, as I remind the kids, I might not even be selected for an interview, much less offered the job.  And in that case we might just have to pick up the pace on our Plan B and take the kids out of school before the end of the year and leave whether we are ready or not.  I hope it doesn’t come to that and I’m stepping up my networking, trying to find more archaeology survey jobs (the best paying of my self-employment situations), writing and virtual assistant jobs, and cat bed sales!

I do look forward to the time when we are committed to either one or the other future – it’s this limbo that’s hard.

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8 Responses to The Rock and the Hard Place

  1. Jeannette says:

    Although I understand your appproach that if they hire me, I can’t leave in 3 months, I also agree with the others, that you have to what is best for your family. This company might not even exist in 3 months, or may decide as in your last job that they really can’t afford to pay you any more and lay you off. You are as they say, between a rock and a hard spot. Any decsion made is a no Gurantee decsion.
    I will have to say though, I see a more positive spirit in your writing. Sometimes when we get out of the darkness (which is not always easy) we tend to invite more positive energy which leads to more positive encounters.

    UPward and Onward!

    • boxcarkids says:

      Thanks Jeannette. The great thing is that I do feel we are seeing the light at the end of (this particular) tunnel! Granted there is a chasm between us and that light that we still need to cross, and we are currently in a bit of uncertainty about our direction, but I feel we will be moving (at least metaphorically) in the next few weeks.

  2. Eliza says:

    I agree with Sharon – you have to make choices that are the best for your family, not your employer. There’s a show on TV called Dance Moms with a somewhat horrible instructor who keeps telling the kids (and their moms) everyone is replaceable. When you leave your job they will find someone else. The company will have to eat some cost, but it will not break them. If you don’t have any income for, that *will* break you. As a single mom, you cannot look out for the best interests of the company in that type of situation – your kids need to eat.

  3. Sharon says:

    Boxcar Mom: I think if you are selected for the position with the non-profit, get a chance to put away a few dollars, and still see putting plan B into place, go for it. You would be an employee, not an indentured servant. Employees leave jobs everyday (even at non-profits) for a variety of reasons. Employers “leave” employees as well, often with no warning and without regard for the impact on their lives (as you learned so painfully in your last position). I’m an older employee, so I get where you’re coming from – that sense of doing the right, the honorable thing; sad to say, those days are gone in the workplace. The only wrong thing would be not do your best; can’t see that happening with you. Good luck!

  4. bogart says:

    Limbo is hard, and you’ve been enduring it graciously for a good long while. I hope one path or another will lead you out of it soon.

  5. I wish I knew what your Plan B was. It is hard to offer any advice without knowing the facts. And since I can’t offer advice, I will just offer support. Good luck and hang in there. Whatever happens – either Plan A or B – you are in for some exciting experiences.

  6. jill says:

    Bless you sweetie- you’ve already weathered things that would take most of us down.

    I think you need to look at your original plan as PLAN A, and this one as B.

    If you do your cross country journey, and it takes you anywhere near central Texas, come spend the night with us. We do kids well, and we can cook. Open invitation.

  7. E says:

    Ugh… curve balls suck. sending prayers your way that best situation will make itself available to you and the limbo will end

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