Working Overtime While Unemployed

I haven’t been writing much in the past month because I have been so busy. In fact, for the past two weeks, I haven’t qualified for unemployment benefits because I have worked too many hours. It’s kind of crazy that I am technically unemployed, but I am working so hard I have no time to look for a full-time job. January is the busiest time for this short-term data collection and assessment job. I am driving up and down the state, working with schools from Bennington to Burlington. This has regularly put me in the car driving two hours to a school, putting in five or six hours of non-stop focused work, and then driving two hours home. (I do get paid for the time I’m driving, as well as mileage for the transportation.) All this adds up to 9, 10 and 11 hour days.

In the evenings, I work on my test prep training, including two 2-hour online training sessions each week. Those sessions include teaching the lesson via video to the trainer and up to three other students. The set-up is awkward, the pressure to prepare and perform is stressful, and the feedback, although useful, can be disconcerting. I’ll be done with the process soon, but there is no guarantee that I’ll be tapped to teach the course, as there is less demand for test prep in Vermont than in urban areas. At least I will have tried, and I certainly am learning from the experience.

I have been neglecting my town auditor duties, which means I’ll be working long hours at the end of this month to catch up. I’m also organizing a workshop at a local college for the end of February, and that involves planning the agenda, confirming presenters, and working on logistical details.

On top of all this, I am still applying for jobs (and being rejected as well.) Each potential job requires careful thought for a well-written cover letter, and that takes time and energy. I’ve had to curtail my library volunteer work, but I stick to my yoga and music commitments as crucial to mental balance and health. I’m looking forward to starting a 10-week Master Gardener course in February, something I’ve thought about doing for years.

This journey of unemployment, reflection, development and discovery is not straightforward. Right now I am seeing too much of the trees (and underbrush!) and not getting a clear sense of the forest. I’m looking forward to coming out the other side (at the end of February?) and finding a scenic overlook where I can rest and contemplate my next steps.

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