Semi-Professional Muse for Hire: Reasonable Rates
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Sunday morning, and overcast and cool, at such-and-such a number Loudon Heights Rd. It looks like rain. I'm listening to Booka Shade, which rocks my socks off, and then back on again.

Ani Difranco says, in one of her songs, "Nobody likes their job; nobody gets enough sleep" and I'm right there with that statement. So I try not to be too much of a downer, and then I don't write anything in this blog. The truth is that I'm more than frustrated with the economic realities of life in Charleston, WV. Recently, a friend emailed me and, in making polite conversation, said:

>>how *is* the job market out there? i know (workplace) isn't your
ideal place of employment (and yes, i'd want to correct their bad
writing just as much!) but how are things in the sciences? <<

It's not my friend's fault that that statement made me want to tear my hair out and weep and rage and rampage, but it does seem like my friend hasn't really been paying attention for the past year. If it were easy or even relatively POSSIBLE to have a job in the sciences here, I'd already have one. I wouldn't be mucking about with a Development Assistant job that makes me miserable but at least keeps me in utilities and health insurance. There are plenty of opportunities in Charleston if you are a doctor, lawyer, or nurse, or if you want to work in fast food. There isn't really much research going on (believe me, I'm applied at CAMC's research institute TWICE now), not of the caliber I was involved in in Madison. I started looking for work before we moved here, and I have continued to do so since we've arrived.

The State has a rather involved process of submitting your resume/info/transcripts online, and being "scored" for a particular position. Then, you are listed on a registry of people available for that type of position, and they send you a letter if something opens up. Since last November I've been trying to get a position at the State Microbiology lab (due to my degree), and I've even interviewed there, but so far have not been chosen. Re-submitting my application every time they send me a letter hasn't appeared to help. My applications to be a MedicoLegal Investigator as well as an Epidemiologist have both been rejected - I guess they don't want their MI's to have medical terminology knowledge, and cancer epidemiology and research doesn't count as relevant experience for an epidemiology position.

I guess people with science degrees are thicker on the ground in WV than I realized? I'd have thought they'd welcome me with open arms, because most of the young educated people move AWAY to find better jobs. Now I know why.

More likely I just don't know the right people. My friend Chris here has even told me that you have to know people to get jobs, and I'm seeing how that is true. I know people now through my water aerobics classes - I gave one woman my resume to give to her CAMC research friend, and another student who's a professor at West Virginia State University shopped my resume around there as well. So far nothing has come of that. I tried to get a job in the microbial forensics lab at Marshall University, in Huntington (about an hour away), and the head of the lab said I was a great candidate and then dropped the correspondence.

This all makes me sound very bitter, I know. Well, I am. Three hours in almost any direction from here I'd have no difficulty finding a job in clinical research from either the site-side of things or the Clinical Research Organization/Pharmaceutical side of things. Nick and I have talked about this extensively, and we decided I would start looking for travelling clinical research monitoring jobs. My experience translates well to that sort of thing, and it pays well. My objectives are simple - have a job that's less boring and frustrating and pays well enough to get me out of debt and help pay for the wedding. I am also having some difficulty with this sort of job - Pharmaceutical companies want you to have at least 2 years of experience as a travelling Clinical Research Associate with a CRO, and CRO's will only hire me if I'm closer to a hub or international airport. Or, if I'm willing to relocate.

I am thoroughly tired of being lectured by recruiters - who tell me that if I want a monitoring job, I'll have to relocate. To which I invariably reply "Listen, I didn't move to Charleston, WV for my CAREER." I moved here for love, and for Nick's career, and I will never, ever be sorry we did.

Because: despite my immense and towering frustration with the job market, this move has been great for us. Nick is doing so well that my little heart is just so happy, and we love the topography and vegetation here. Moving so far away from what we were used to has helped us to bust out of ruts, and has cemented our relationship. We have a wonderful house we're in love with, a house that would not have been possible for us in Madison, WI or most other desirable places to live. Also, I really like teaching water aerobics five times a week. I've lost 20 lbs. It's great for my state of mind and my body, for sure, but I still come home most days after working and teaching feeling exhausted, discouraged, and unmotivated.

I'm having a hard time writing. So, new dream job, if I can't be a forensic anthropologist or acupuncturist or medical writer - I want to be a part-time water aerobics instructor and personal trainer, and to be at home writing and making wonderful meals for Nick and djing, now and again. I want to dye my hair purple. Maybe I can do these things, after we're married and I don't have to carry my own health insurance.

In the meantime, I may have to move somewhere else for nine months, and during the week live there- Lexington, KY or Columbus, OH or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh - and come home on the weekends.

Daunting thought.
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Making sense in a world that refuses to, and never has, made sense - not even once, EVER

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Things that have happened to me:

- I was born in Canada
- I lived in a converted schoolbus during my first year of life, was bathed in a turkey roasting  pan (yes, with a baster)
- Daryl Hannah came over and talked to me at a party when I was 8 years old
- I had a bizarre sledding accident
- I've seen pigs running down the road
- I nearly went to medical school
- I lived in West Virginia for six years
- I used to dj, sometimes for fetish nights  (First rule of Fetish Night: don't shake hands with anyone you meet there)
- I found someone's heart & lungs in a gallon drum of formaldehyde in the basement of a law firm's storage unit
-I've written stories
- I've seen puffins on the island of Staffa

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