I just found out the other day via LinkedIn that a former coworker of mine just left Harvard Law to take a new position at another university, and from the sound of her title, it sounds pretty high up there. I’m sure the salary corresponds to it well. This person is a very smart cookie and knows how to negotiate. (It was only after she got hired there several years ago that myself and another coworker were then given substantial raises in salary (ahem, readjustments.))
Why do I even mention this? Because it made me feel kind of crappy. I mean, I was happy for her. She has always been a very hard worker and an excellent librarian. She manages working full time with twins and has since had another baby. And now she has this big-time sounding job. And here I am, scrimping to get by on just under $25K per year, not counting in my freelance work. It made me question myself.
Experiencing Compassion Fatigue and Feeling Burnt Out:
I think I have begun experiencing what they refer to as compassion fatigue. Receiving multiple calls, day after day, from people who have just adopted a pet but can’t afford to take care of them, can really get to you. Getting a call in which someone says “my pet just got hit by a car, but I don’t get paid until next week,” is really rough. I’d love to say to them, “I can help you pay for that,” but the reality is that on $12.50/hour, it’s just not possible. I have my own bills to take care of.
I’m taking a class in Animal Protection this semester. I’m going to have some hard emotions to work through. I already know that. When I read about factory farmed animals, I experience physiological changes. I feel it in my heart and in my throat. I want to yell, scream, or hit something. (Not my pets, of course. They actually help calm me down.)
The film Earthlings is assigned for us at one point. (That link goes to the Wikipedia description of the film.) The teacher has made it clear in the syllabus that we have the option to not watch it. I haven’t yet figured out if I will or not. I don’t want to have nightmares as a result, but in learning to be a humane educator, a part of me feels it’s necessary to bear witness to what is going on in this world so I can better advocate and educate humans for those who can’t speak.
Did I also mention that I have been trying to find extra side work with a few transcribing companies? I have, and going through the assessment process can be somewhat stressful. But the good news is, this morning I found out from one that they would like to work with me.
Stressing about finding a job in my field or determining what that field is:
In addition to feeling a bit burn out, I’ve been starting to feel a bit down about finding a job that really makes me feel like I’m making a difference and having the funds to make a move sooner rather than later. (I’d like it to be in the next year or two.) I spent some time talking/texting with my friend Dan, and applied to be a member of the APHE (Association of Professional Humane Educators) so that I could start networking with others in the field. My application is currently pending.
They (the APHE) are hosting a conference this March in Orlando, Florida so I’m considering going, but it would be a substantial financial investment for someone at my income level. And while I like meeting people, and can be extroverted at times, I hate the idea of schmoozing. I’m just not a schmoozer. Makes me nauseous when I see others doing it, and my past experiences at conferences showed me that a lot of that goes on. I hope this field is different, though. So I will let you know if I decide to go.
All of these reasons are why I haven’t posted in about a week. I just didn’t feel I had anything positive to say, and you know what they say – if you don’t have anything good to say, best to say nothing at all. It could be the cold weather we have here in ABQ, or the fact that it’s winter, or the fact that payday is still two days away, but I’ve been feeling a bit down. I’m working through it the best I can. And trying to get enough sleep. But nothing is a miracle cure.
Change in my personal life:
Oh, and I broke up with the Canadian boyfriend a few weeks ago. I’m sure that having that in the background of my mind doesn’t help. We still talk occasionally. I know it’s for the better but I think subconsciously, it brings back some feelings I experienced when I left my marriage. That fear of being alone for the rest of your life and wondering if there’s something wrong with you. However, truth is, I think I’m not in the right head space or life space to be in a relationship right now. Not when I’m trying to figure out a lot of things.
I hope you are all doing well, despite the cold and heavy snowfall a lot of the country has been experiencing lately. Please drop me a line and let me know how things are going for you, or if you’ve felt down at times, and what you’ve done to pull yourself out of it. Or share this post with someone you think would appreciate or benefit from it. And as always, thanks for reading.
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