I stare out the window and then back at the ceiling completely spaced out. Leaning back in my chair I usually spend a good part of my day wondering over and over in my head if this was it. Entertaining myself by spinning around a few times or making a forbidden phone call probably to my mom. There are days I believe the monotony is going to slowly kill me. Was this what I was going to do with my life? God help me, this can’t be what I was meant to do. Even though there are things about my job I don’t mind, like the fact that I have one, I have never felt more trapped and I’ve been married twice. The crazy thing is, I actually enjoy what I do and I can’t imagine someone in my position that truly hates the morning because of what lies ahead for them during the day, but I dream of a job that can support my family while I do something I truly love.
To be honest I enjoy my work enough that I don’t contemplate standing on my desk and yelling as I point “$#$^ You, $@*& You, your cool, %#*@ You…I’m out” although I cannot say I haven’t fantasized. But the fact is, even if I wanted to, it’s really hard to advance in the type of career I was sucked into. You have to make choices and the choices are not easy ones to make especially with a multitude of roadblocks everywhere you turn.
First and foremost anybody who has read my entries hopefully can understand that when something is important to me, I am feverishly passionate about it and have no qualms expressing that side of my personality. That passion is my adrenaline rush, but there isn’t a whole lot of passion behind typing out form letters, filing papers in date order and sorting mail. Not to say I haven’t had my interesting days. Working with the elderly, I have come across the dramatic, the demanding, the loving and the hardheaded and each one has their own story to tell, and they ALL want to tell it. I even had one gentleman so determine to convince me I was wrong and he was right that his dentures flew right out of his mouth during his rant. There are definitely times when I have to contain my laughter and times when my patience wears thin, but I love when a client wants to interact, because that’s when I’m in my element and when I am the best at my job. Unfortunately those days are rare, and my usual daily routine is pretty predictable.
In an attempt to escape the grind, I did test the waters to see what was out there. Come to find out people don’t want to hire anyone based on their passion especially if they have no idea you have any, due to the fact they will never meet you. If you don’t look good on paper, the doors are there but usually shut in your face. I particularly have a hard time because I’ve been in the job so long I’m over qualified for a lot of positions because employers want trainable and cheap and I am under qualified if I try to step up a level because I do not have my BA. And there are the jobs I really want to do but don’t qualify at all. I did receive my Associates with high marks and paid the hefty bill that came along with the schooling, but I look back and realize that I could be doing what I do right now without having to have assumed that debt.
Do not get me wrong, I am all for educating yourself, but this is my predicament. If I choose to go back to school, I will have to attend either at night or online, because I have to work and raise kids. I barely make enough money to support us now and I will have to take on the responsibility of repaying loans for my education that will absolutely NOT guarantee me a higher paying position let alone a job when I’m done. Then to top it all off, after endorsing going back to school and furthering your education, the financial aid/grants/government help is limited because I am not a minority, I am not undocumented and I am not unemployed. This is not my opinion. Unfortunately this is a fact.
Even with that stated knowledge, I was still determined, so I researched and enrolled in online classes at a school that nobody knew because it was non-profit and cheaper, who only could/would transfer 2 of my credits from my previous college and required a specific amount of hours from me a week on top of my full-time work schedule. I was totally cool with all of it. I was actually very excited. Then I sat down and roughly figured out the amount of money I would owe after I graduated, because financial aid will help for a time being, but its not free money, you have to pay it back. Staring at the paper that in pencil read tens of thousands of dollars, my heart almost stopped mid-beat, and that didn’t even include books. Taking a deep breath I hoped if I factored in the grants I could get I might feel better. Not really. It was a deck chair off the Titanic. So when it came down to it, after I graduated, I would own a new debt of tens of thousands and 1 dollars PLUS the old debt I already had, because of course, as I stated earlier, I wasn’t guaranteed a job making more money. So yes, as much I am an advocate for education, it was discouraging enough for me to put it on hold.
I am not and never have been comfortable asking for help, so it was heartbreaking to know that I was fortunate enough to be born in this country, I am a proud white female and I work very hard everyday and pay the taxes associated with that work, but I have very limited financial resources to help further my education. I did however discover that I could qualify for grants because I have children. That’s great, but now lets not just talk about me. I know for a fact that I am not the only person riding in this boat. What if I didn’t have children, what are my options then? What if I didn’t get married so young or was responsible with my choices and decided that my education came first? What if I grew up in a medium to low income household making enough to survive but too much to qualify for help, but not enough to send me to school, and then, here’s the kicker, what if I always wanted to be a teacher (you know the extraordinary people who help raise our children everyday, but whose jobs are continuing to get cut). What then?
I guess I’m not really asking for answers because I know there isn’t just one. I do admit that politics is not something I have great knowledge about (I know enough to get by) but even so, something just isn’t right. I am all ears if someone can explain to me the nonsense system of cutting our educational funding, implementing No Child Left Behind, forgetting about the people who work hard every day of their lives but somehow get lost under the radar. Please educate me, and hopefully it will cost me less than $40,000, because as logical as I know I can be I’m having a hard time seeing the logic in a system that is either to one extreme or the other all the while ignoring the middle.
It is a struggle for me to understand because I am proud to be an American, and I am grateful for my freedoms, but the workings of the government baffle me to no end. I might decide down the road to bite the bullet, not worry about the money and go back to school, I would really like to, but for now I’ll spin around in my chair, call my mom and exercise one of my many rights no matter my color, race, gender, age or class. My right to free speech – and I will do it with passion, because even if potential employers can’t see it from a stiff piece of paper outlining my education, at least I know its there.