Time to Move On

I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR this afternoon as I drove over to our storage unit to continue the sorting and packing of the remnants of our material life.  As is sometimes the case, I was so engaged in the story that I had to sit in the car for an additional 10 minutes to catch the end. NPR calls those ‘Driveway Stories.’  Essentially the segment was about the improvements in the economy since the very low spot it was in last October.  Last October was an especially low spot for me personally as instead of moving into a full-time position with benefits, I was laid off again and found out I had no unemployment benefits left!  Naturally I’m aware, watching the numbers as I do, that as a nation, we are seeing some positives – stocks are going up, there is gradual growth in employment, and more consumer optimism and spending.  But again, personally, we aren’t seeing it.  We are barely subsisting, living in a state of constant anxiety and stressing over whether we can pay our bills.  Hardly optimistic!

So I’m a little jaded when I hear that the recovery is getting stronger, that things are getting better.  And I listened with a ‘yeah, nice for you – your high tech smart phone app start-up is working out but how does that help me?’ attitude and was ready to flip the radio off and get out of the car when the second half of the program began.  The guest was Marilyn Geewax, business editor at NPR.  She has recently completed a series titled Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength and in doing so had traveled around the country and talked to people; some of whom were doing better, and some of whom weren’t.  She likened the pockets that were doing well to tent poles that were slowly raising the tent.  Some of us are just still in the saggy parts of the tent.

Talk of the Nation allows people to call in and have their say on the show – and some people called in to say their business was looking up.  They have more projects, they are hiring more staff.  All good.  Then a man called in from Arizona and said he was an out of work chef, his restaurant was closed, as were over 100 other restaurants in town.  He had lost his house and was packing up to move to Seattle where his children live, and where there seem to be a wealth of job openings in the food service field.  The interviewer asked, “What made you decide to pack it in?”

Marilyn Geewax said something that resonated – at some point you have to say that “OK, this just isn’t working anymore, I need to move to where the jobs are.”  And maybe you have to change your field.  Maybe you will never return to where you were in 2008.  She pointed to her own recent industry, newspapers, and said “We’ve all had to move on.”

I might still send out job applications for the few openings in my field but realistically I know it’s time for me to move on.  It’s probably past time.  Yes, I see some of you nodding your head.  I was ready to move on last summer but then I got another job – part-time and temporary and in the end a waste of time but who knew that then?  I wish we’d thrown in our hand and headed out before two of my daughters moved to new schools but I got a dose of false hope.  Should we have pulled up stakes in October? Maybe but I have my children to consider, and while I realize not everyone has the same parenting style, I know how much the good school experience and the semblance of normality and routine mean to them.

So now I’m ready, past ready, and I’m just waiting out these next three months, struggling to make it to that finish line. I’m using the time to prepare the kids for an enormous change, to deal with logistical issues (like how to sell the trailer we live in so that I can pay for shipping some of our goods and buy a car with which to drive across country), to attend to a few medical problems while the kids have coverage on Medi-Cal and to psych myself up for an entirely new life, one that I worry I might not be up to at my age.  We are more hopeful, even excited, about the change, one that should improve our support network and allow us a way to provide for ourselves, but that excitement is tempered with the day to day demands of eking out a living.

My cat beds are selling, but I’d need to outsource the labor to a third world country in order to make a living that way! So I’m still applying for local jobs and I’m exploring new avenues to generate income from writing, hooking up with employers on the Internet such as Textbroker.com, but naturally these things take time.  So if anyone is in need of a freelance writer, or proofreader or editor (or you know a friend or colleague who would benefit from these services) please do not hesitate to get in touch!  Our email is Boxcarkids@gmail.com.  I believe these next few months will be some of the most difficult in our journey (but then again I might be overly optimistic about just how much fun it will be to drive across country with four kids, two dogs and a cat this summer 😉 and we could use your help!

This entry was posted in 2nd Career, frugal living, moving, recession, recovery, summer, support networks, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Time to Move On

  1. z says:

    I hope you have a great trip/adventure! I once drove from New Jersey to Washington state with 2 kittens. It worked out only because they were small (easier to handle), young (slept a lot) and we had a van with room for the cat carrier, litter box, food and water bowls. Traveling with a cat in a car can be challenging, especially in hot weather when you can’t leave an animal in a car while you sight-see or have a restaurant meal. I could never go on an extended trip with my cat now as she would howl the whole time and try to escape. Most cats don’t travel as easily as dogs. Cats can get frightened and will run away and hide. It would be so sad to lose her on the trip. Any chance she can stay with a friend until you’re settled and can send for her?

    • boxcarkids says:

      We might try to fly her ahead of us. She doesn’t like the car and even if we end up with a small Class C motorhome for the trip it won’t be as much fun for her as the dogs and kids!

  2. Patti says:


    Hi there,

    I was looking on Living Social for jobs in my area and saw they have a lot cross country. Maybe something that applies to you?

    I put your Etsy link on my Facebook page. Hope you get some traffic.

    Good luck.


  3. FB says:

    Please check out guru.com. I know my company does some of it’s press release writing outsourcing there, and there are a wealth of postings with unqualified people to fill them!!

    • boxcarkids says:

      Thanks! I’ll check it out. I picked up a couple e-books on on-line writing and am checking out all the tips and resources.

  4. amanda says:

    I live in the DC metro area, and there is still a lot of construction going on here, especially in the Tysons Corner, VA area. I don’t know if you’ve selected a location, but that might be a good one to consider for your field of work- I know that life might be easier if you didn’t have to change careers.

  5. Lynda says:

    I can’t find your facebook page! So I gather you are moving across country? To be with family? friends? An adventure I’m sure. A fresh new start at life: how exciting!

    I wanted to share with you I got the job as Head Cook for the school district in January and today I applied for the job as Food Service Director. I don’t know if I’ll get it…but I thought it would be a hoot to try. Good luck to you and yours…life’s out there waiting for you…and you will find great success.

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