Looking for a miracle

The practice of philosophy is a way of life that results from falling in love with questions—the great mythic questions that can never be given definitive answers.
Human life is a journey whose end is not in sight. Searching, longing and questioning is in our DNA. Who we are and what we will become is determined by the questions that animate us, and by those we refuse to ask. Your questions are your quest. As you ask, so shall you be.

One of the major questions I have right now is this:

How can I put my talents to good use, help save the world AND pay bills?

I’ve been a food testing microbiology technician, a forensic DNA scientist in a crime lab, and a medical genetics laboratory supervisor.  In all 12 years of biotech experience, and once upon a time, on the bleeding edge.  I’m a stay at home mother now and have been for 8 years.  I help people on one of my blogs learn about selective mutism and parenting gifted kids.  I also had a science blog that I share some neat things about science for kids.  I do this for free.  On this blog, I share writing, my photography and art journaling.  I notice and write about the beauty in the world. I try to share what inspires me and hopefully it inspires others too.  But, it’s all pretty much lacking something.   Oh yeah, a paycheck.

My husband’s been a mechanical engineer off and on for 15 years, but has been laid off for the second time now, for 18 months and still is struggling to find work of any kind. Many nibbles, no bites yet.  We don’t understand this.  He has so much experience, but not in any one thing.

He used to work at a major metal recycling company. I felt great about that.  We were both a part of the solution.  Now we are just barely making ends meet on unemployment and savings.  He’s studying to be a massage therapist, but he’s not bringing in any income.

Our Cobra insurance runs out at the end of the month.  It was massively expensive anyway – $1725 a month for the five of us.  My daughters are still young – 10, 8, and 6.

I’m troubled by this, but not depressed, exactly.  I just think there’s such a waste of talent here, that my husband and I can’t put our skills to good use.  We are able-bodied, able-minded, but no one is interested in us. I’ve been out of work for the past 8 years.  A headhunter told me that basically no one would hire me without re-training and the only kind of re-training I’d get would be if I worked temp jobs, but I’d have to lie about not having worked for 8 years.  Yeah, something just strikes me as wrong.

I’m not angry about this, though maybe I should be.

There’s a couple of shows I’d been watching.

The documentary Affluenza is one of them. You can watch it here:


there is a related website too:


If you get the chance to watch Tom Shadyac’s documentary, I AM, please do so.  It’s pretty amazing stuff.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do, but I can’t bring myself to go work retail even if I COULD get hired again (I’m underqualified for labwork, overqualified for everything else).

I can’t be part of the problem, when I’ve always been part of the solution.  There’s got to be something I can do to help my family thrive, not just barely survive AND help the world at large too.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in career, Inspirational quotations, Unemployment. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Looking for a miracle

  1. Tineke Brinks says:

    Hi, I don’t want to sound scary but my husband is a mechanical engineer too. I have a MPA but that is another story.
    In 2008 my husband lost his job. He was 52 and I was 49. After being a stay at home mom I was just starting to think about finding employment again. I had done a lot of volunteering in the school (small private school, kids are in public school now). Lately I had been the bingo coordinator and the bookkeeper for the school cafeteria (both paid (not a lot)). We did not take the cobra. In MA you have to have insurance so we took a really basic insurance for about 400.00 dollars a month and we bought my pills for half in Canada. Then I decided to go to a job fair. I had my resume and I had myself. When I came in I was nervous so I decided to talk to a bank because I did not want to work at a bank. I talked with others as well in my field. The bank lady was really happy to have me (because of the bingo/bookkeeping experience). I got hired as a bank teller. 20 hours per week with full benefits. I thought I was in heaven. 4 of us got hired at the same time. Two oldies and two young girls. Guess which two got fired in the first year. It was a totally different world but for three years I worked there and I really liked it and more importantly they liked me. In the banking industry tellers come and go change their hours all the time and go from branch to branch. You can also climb up if you want to. It is a strict hierarchy but very doable if you are working and learning.

    It kept us floating because my husband lost his job twice after that. So now he works in CA and I have decided to call it quits. But they told me I could come back any time. Because I want to be a writer I hope I don’t have to.

    I somebody had told me I would be a bank teller some day I would have laughed.

    So don’t give up. I had two resumes, one with academics and one heavily on the volunteering less on qualifications.

    Also have you thought about taking advertising on your blogs? Affiliates, adsense etc.

    • Tineke –

      Thanks for the information. I’d been avoiding advertising…mostly on principle. Because I didn’t want to be part of the machine that drives consumerism. However, if I can find more responsible and environmentally conscious advertising, or advertising for things in line with my values, I’ll consider that.

      You know, it’s interesting you mention bank telling, because I’ve sometimes considered it. But you know what? I have such weird anxieties about that, such as: What if I count the money out wrong? What if I forget to mark something down? What if I make a mistake, freeze up while dealing with a long line of people and they get mad at me? What if I put money in the wrong account (I actually had that happen to ME once. The bank teller put took the money out of one account to put into another – we both had the same bank – then she put it back into the SAME account and we bounced a check because of it).

      For as intelligent as I am, I have noticed I have brain glitches at times. I have gone through two years of calculus in college, I can balance chemical equations and calculate statistical frequencies for population data on genetic markers for human identification with a calculator and a pencil (not that I had to once someone developed a computer app for it), but I can’t make change on the spot. I have a very slow mental math processing speed, and quite possibly, a variant of dyscalculia or maybe it’s just garden variety math anxiety. I had to work the cash register at my mother’s delicatessen when I was 18. There was a few people ordering sandwiches. I made a mistake on the cash register and had to make change in my head. I sat there for 5 minutes near tears while the customer was getting impatient and my sister made me feel totally stupid. I have since learned how to make change, just not while I’m embarrassed and people are waiting/watching and annoyed.

      And yes, that ageism thing stinks.

  2. May I suggest, from much of your writing, it does seem that on an emotional and mental level that you’re probably totally right, retail might be a really less-than-stellar choice…while we all have to do what we have to do, if you don’t HAVE to choose retail, might be a good idea. Any retail environment, including banking, puts all of the focus on the customers, and most customers (even us, when we’re the customers) are totally centered around what’s going on for them at the moment. That energy can really smack you around, even if it’s without you consciously realizing it. That’s not always the healthiest thing for someone who battles certain battles on the emotional/mental/anxiety levels.
    Have you tried your hand at independent consulting? Sounds like you and your hubby have experiences that would lend themselves to consulting…

    • You know, that actually might not be such a bad recommendation, the independent consulting thing. I have since come up with a few ideas…but need to 1) talk to an old professor of mine because he sometimes companies contact him for recruits and 2) see about getting some new training. One thing that’s near and dear to my heart is something Eric Maisel is doing – creativity coaching. I can work with people who want to be more productive in their creative lives. I’d like to somehow do that too. It might require an investment, but not nearly as much as it cost my husband for his massage therapy.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

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