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Potemkin
12-05-2008, 09:57 PM
http://www.salon.com/mwt/col/tenn/2008/12/05/quit_working/index.html

Help! I suddenly stopped going to work

I've been leaving the house every day for two months and going to Starbucks or the library.

By Cary Tennis



Dear Cary,


I'm broke. I suppose you could argue that such is the case of a good many people and hardly news in the present economy. But lately, I'm a particular kind of broke. About two months ago, I just stopped going to my job. I was driving to work one day and, abruptly, turned into a drugstore and bought a magazine and then drove myself and my new magazine to a Starbucks. Since then, my days have largely been variations on that theme: I spend a lot of time at libraries and generally bring my own coffee from home because, well, I'm broke.

I have a B.A. in English. After graduation, I'd sort of intended to marry my college boyfriend who had both a useful degree and a well-remunerated career. Although my feminist heart now withers a little at that thought, it seemed a good one at the time. He seemed to consider himself a patron of the arts, and I considered myself a semi-starving bohemian writer. I worked at a badly paid but slightly romantic customer service job for about two years. The relationship lasted a year after graduation. Eventually, I left my customer service gig -- which had afforded few responsibilities and plenty of time for reading, writing and general woolgathering -- in favor of a secretarial position at a friend's company. I left after only a few months, having discovered myself a terrible secretary and having wounded both the friendship and my self-esteem. After all, what fuckwit can't file successfully? My parents, who'd lately came into some money from my grandparents' estate, offered to loan me money for grad school. So I moved back to my hometown, took a part-time customer service job, and began to make myself employable. When I started school, my field seemed like a good one. Since then, of course, the economy and the Bush administration and blah blah blah. I'm six months out of grad school and have been unable to find more than a part-time job in my chosen field.

The jobs, though, have been out of the area, and I can't justify moving across the country for a part-time job, particularly given that a condition of my parents' loan was that I not leave town without having a full-time job lined up elsewhere. So I stayed at my part-time customer service job. Eventually, my lease ended and I moved back in with my parents. I got promoted at my job, which raised my hourly wage a whole dollar and which left me dealing with only the most irate customers and which left me leaving the office most days feeling terrible about my life. So, finally, I left without any plan or even much forethought. Every morning, now, I get up and pretend to go to work. I stretched my final paychecks as far as they could go, and I've been pawning things right and left since that money's run out. I'm almost out of salable goods, and I know I need a job. I've been looking, perhaps quixotically, for a career, for something I'd really love to do. I have a whole list of careers I'd love, and I spend a good amount of time each day applying for positions. But so far, I haven't had a bit of luck.

I'm relatively intelligent, and, although my GPA is a bit spotty, I'm educated. I'm a hard, even dogged, worker. I take direction well. I'm personable. I'm actually rather talented at a couple of things. And I have to believe that there's something better out there for me, that there's some sort of meaningful work in my future. I don't want to be rich, necessarily; I just want to do a job I don't hate, a job that makes me feel like I'm making use of my abilities and making a difference and a job that lets me pay my bills regularly and on time and maybe lets me spend a couple of bucks on clothes not from Goodwill. I don't think that's very much to ask.

I know I should just take a deep breath and go apply for a job at the mall food court or something. But I can't. The idea makes me physically ill, actually. I'm 27 this month, and I just can't bring myself to admit I have no career, few prospects, and a job at the Falafel Hut in my hometown. The only alternative I can see is to explain my situation to my parents. They're far from wealthy. I know they'd be eager to help me financially, but I know that it would mean they'd "economize" more than they already do and that I would likely inherit my older brother's reputation as the family mooch.

Perhaps the answer here is something about swallowing my pride. But I feel like I already have a bellyful of swallowed pride. I've been working at shitty customer service jobs for 10 years and so have cleaned toilets, served meals, and taken orders all the while saying, "Yes, sir," to dozens of people who have implied I'm an idiot, called me a bitch or asked me to throw away their used Kleenex. I've taken loans from my elderly parents. I have followed up on job prospect after job prospect and sweetly requested to be kept in mind in the event of future openings after having been rejected. My writing hasn't yielded me a penny. And I have very nearly taken the check recently offered by that old boyfriend.

My hands are shaking while I type this, I've just discovered. I really don't know what to do anymore.


At an Impasse

Dear Person at an Impasse,

So you stopped going to work.

That's a start.

Now here's what you do: Start blogging on Open Salon. Just tell your daily story about how you leave the house every day and don't go to your job. It'll be a hit, I guarantee it. If you've got a video camera, even better. We're going to love this.

Why? Because we love a person who has the courage to do what a lot of us would love to do. So many of us go through life doing these ridiculous jobs, but we're too afraid to just stop doing it. You stopped doing it. So do us the favor of letting us root for you. We're on your side.

Everything is going to be OK. I guarantee it. You're not going to starve. It's not going to kill your parents or the economy for you to just start doing what makes sense for you to do and let the money problem sort itself out. It will sort itself out. You will find a way to monetize your being. Trust me. By doing something creative with your time you are doing what people in this great nation of ours are supposed to do. Wasting your time doing stuff you hate helps nobody. However, you will strengthen the nation and do many people a great service if you just come out of the closet and be who you are: a very bad secretary. An inept falafel maker. A not-so-precise file clerk. A grad school graduate who one day just stopped doing the inane and ridiculous thing that for some reason she thought she was supposed to do and started doing what most of us would love to do if we just had the strength of character to stop pretending that what we're doing is just fine no problem yes sir I'll get right on it no I am not smirking I am smiling. Sir.

Just stop doing it. And don't get scared and go back to doing it, either. Not now. There's no going back.

I want to see you blogging, young lady. I want to see your picture on Open Salon and I want to hear the truth about your life. The rest of us want to hear it too. Hand me that broom. I'll clean up. You start writing.

And don't come out until you've finished your first post.

dyrt
12-05-2008, 10:14 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me but only if At An Impasse stops living off her parents who probably work or worked at jobs they did not like, to support her. She should stop lying to them too.

She should hop a train for somewhere warm and learn what true freedom is. She should do a little dumpster diving, live in a shelter, and do that blogging in the public library.

sandyd
12-05-2008, 10:33 PM
WTF kinda grad school degree does one get that doesn't let the person even freaking teach or tutor? Food court....she is a dumb shit.

IMHO :D

Glenn 50
12-06-2008, 12:23 AM
Doesn't mention if she has big boobs. Without those shes doomed to mediocrity.

rb.
12-06-2008, 12:28 AM
Spoiled brat. :lol:

I have to say I've walked away from many a job, and only once not been able to find another for a looong time. But I refuse to do anything illegal, and defrauding the clients of a collection agency surely is illegal.

Hell, I'll clean toilets. I have to do it at home, anyway. Whatever puts food on the table.

Christy
12-06-2008, 10:18 AM
The windows in Amsterdam are lined with fabulous young women just like this shining example. There might be a career for this job quitter.

On second thought, this is an insult to the fine ladies of the night that render invaluable servies in our good capital. "Dear Person at an Impasse" probably doesn't have what it takes to swallow more than her pride.

blue gecko
12-06-2008, 10:23 AM
If she's going to Starbucks everyday she's not broke. Sounds like she needs to feel hungry so she can get a dose of reality.

I've been working for a paycheck since I was 14 and worked my way through college. A big part of those experiences was the inspiration for "never being cold or hungry again"

She may be experiencing some mental trauma and depression but good heavens GET A GRIP

SarahS
12-06-2008, 10:24 AM
Hmph. Find what you like to do, and do it. I cleaned a LOT of toilets, babysat thousands of snotty-nosed kids, and was a GREAT secretary while I worked my way there. She can do it too!

Mousehound
12-06-2008, 12:58 PM
It sounds like it is time to do some serious growing up. A very good friend told me, "Life isn't fair." I often have to remind myself of this when I get bogged down in self-pity. Lying to her parents is only going to make her feel worse about herself. Doing any kind of "honorable" job would be better than hocking all she has for a cup of the good stuff from Starbuck's. Even if she is swamping out toilettes, she will have the ability to think about her next move in life. Make a new plan, a better one. If that recommendation of posting her daily blog at Open Salon were serious and a good idea, she would have been offered pay for it. That just sounds like someone who is interested of a minute by minute report from the deck of the Titanic to add color to their own sorry life.

Susie
12-06-2008, 01:39 PM
This girl's parents need to kick her the hell out.

BirdGuano
12-06-2008, 01:44 PM
Reality is going to hit this "woman" with a clue-by-four and quickly.

Perhaps she needs a personal traumatic period in her life to get it together. Or not.

I don't know of any employer who pays for professional and profuse whining/victimhood as the primary skill set.

:re:

sandyd
12-06-2008, 01:51 PM
I don't know of any employer who pays for professional and profuse whining/victimhood as the primary skill set.

:re:

CEO of any of the big 3 in the Auto industry?

:dramaqueen:

BirdGuano
12-06-2008, 01:55 PM
She could work at Starbucks, since she is there every day.

But then she would have to compete with all of the Art History PhD's working there.

:rofl:

Fiddlerdave
12-06-2008, 03:13 PM
CEO of any of the big 3 in the Auto industry?

:dramaqueen:+1 :lol:

clutterbug
12-06-2008, 04:48 PM
Thanks Potemkin, I needed to read a post like this one: my kid is at university & upset that she is only pulling a B+ average in her all science course load. This little pity party writtne by this :dramaqueen: gives me an excellent perspective on my kids "problem" or the lack thereof.

If my kid was an English :eek: :thumbdown: major :buttkick: well, I just don't know what I would do with all the money I would save on her tuition!!

Ought Six
12-06-2008, 06:14 PM
Everything I am thinking about the girl who wrote this has already been said here. What has not been said is that Mr. Gary Tennis desperately needs to be dragged out of his office into the street, stripped, tied to the nearest lightpole and publicly flogged. :mad:

Okay, I am not really in favor of vigilante action, but this is felony malpractice, IMO, when it comes to the business of giving out advice to people that will probably be read by millions. To encourage a self-pitying, "I am not getting what I am owed" attitude in such a person is horrifying. She obviously has enough personal challenges without him encouraging some of her worst qualities and helping insure her failure in her career. But to use the social authority and power of a major press outlet to give this sort of 'advice' to an impressionable young person at a crucial stage in their life is, IMO, morally criminal. I hope I never meet this scumbag, Tennis, in person.

tsherry
12-06-2008, 06:27 PM
Doesn't mention if she has big boobs. Without those shes doomed to mediocrity.

Oh, an epic, not to say large, but well sculpted tush may serve in a pinch.
:laugh:

Ben Franklin
12-06-2008, 06:31 PM
I dunno .... it wouldn't take much time every day to write a blog, and it wouldn't hurt her career and confidence as a writer to get some public exposure.

It's possible to use a degree in English, even an undergrad degree opens the door to become a teacher or a technical writer (assuming that not all the technical writing these days has been outsourced to people who speak English as a second language).

So she could do those things while writing the Great American Novel at night, like a bazillion other writers do.

Ought Six
12-06-2008, 06:36 PM
BF:

If you were working hard and supporting a daughter, and had just paid tens of thousands of dollars for her college tuition, how would you like the media to be giving this kind of personal advice?"It's not going to kill your parents or the economy for you to just start doing what makes sense for you to do and let the money problem sort itself out."She can go out and get a job, and do her blogging after work. Instead, if she takes this bunghole's advice, she will be a deadbeat leeching off of her folks.

Ben Franklin
12-06-2008, 07:15 PM
That's what I meant, 06, do her blogging and book writing AFTER her day job (which should be in the writing field - something that would actually would pay more than swabbing out toilets at the local gym).

A master's in English has more value than many people realize - freelance reporter, editor, technical writer, English teacher, etc. Even the lowest ranks of those jobs often pay more than secretary and certainly more than customer service.

There's no conceivable way that she should waste her talents and degrees on working at a Falafel Joint or Walmart greeter. She can get something better.

Ought Six
12-06-2008, 07:19 PM
It sounds nice, BF, but in today's economy, she is unlikely to be able to find a writing job. That is why your idea is unrealistic. Her writing skills in the piece above are not inspiring. She needs to get whatever job she can now, while looking for that better writing job and blogging to improve her literary prowess in her time off.

angelsea
12-06-2008, 07:33 PM
This young girl-woman needs to stop her pity-party. I have a 21 year old daughter that attends college full time, works her ars off in her spare time and is waiting for a kidney transplant., and she NEVER feels sorry for herself !

Ben Franklin
12-06-2008, 07:39 PM
I don't see it as being that urgent for a young lady to succeed immediately at a career, 06. A healthy guy, yes. I know I'm oldfashioned, but to me it's not that big a deal for a woman to stay at home with her parents unless they object.

That's what most unmarried young women did in every society down through history, as far as I know. They and their parents usually liked each other's company, it's a lot different than having an obnoxious son at home! Of course women can be obnoxious and young men can be nice and helpful, I'm just speaking in very general terms.

So I'd advise her to stay as long as she needs to get a job as a teacher or whatever, there's no better recession-proof job than a teacher. And if there's no job to her liking, well then get married or stay with her parents.

Ought Six
12-06-2008, 07:57 PM
BF:

That is so easy to say when it is not you and your wife who likely just broke their financial backs expending tens of thousands on her college education, just to see her not only not use that to better herself, but become an utterly dependent, whining leech feeding off their work or retirement income. I guess this kind of self-indulgent useless eater is what passes as "courageous" in our society today. This is just another clear example of why we so richly deserve to lose our wealth and superpower status in the world today, according to our media elites. But I expected that. What really disturbs me is that even someone like you does not see it.

Fiddlerdave
12-06-2008, 07:59 PM
The reply to her letter was sarcasm, 06. Dripping with it, in fact.

Ben Franklin
12-06-2008, 08:14 PM
All of human culture up until the 1960s is on my side in this argument, 06. Women don't need to go out and make their mark on the world in my opinion.

And if her parents broke their financial backs putting her through grad school, that would have been their folly. No one needs to pay to get through grad school .... ever get taught by a TA? They probably knew that and chose to fund her anyway, so their financial situation couldn't have been very dire.

"Some money" from her grandparent's estate is almost certainly a huge amount.

Ross
12-06-2008, 08:18 PM
I think you are all being a bit hard of her .

Who knows how crushed and depressed she is . At a rough guess I would
say she has been becoming more and more depressed every day for the
past ten years but has persevered anyway .
It is very had to continue to face obnoxious people everyday if you
have serious depression .
Despite the way the letter sounds my guess is that she is really
suffering .

Ought Six
12-06-2008, 08:22 PM
Fd:"The reply to her letter was sarcasm, 06. Dripping with it, in fact."So far, you seem to be the only one here who thinks so. If you scan through the reader posts in response to the article, they did not take it that way, either.

SarahS
12-06-2008, 09:08 PM
All of human culture up until the 1960s is on my side in this argument, 06. Women don't need to go out and make their mark on the world in my opinion.
.

BF, we have a problem! " "Women" don't need to go out and make their mark on the world"?


Please allow me to say fuck you, and fuck you completely, and I don't even care where this is posted...so if anyone wants to "ban" me, just do it.

theoryman
12-06-2008, 09:16 PM
I laughed at the response. I read the whole thing as a setup and as humor.

If it is for real, she needs to get help or get married.

stephanie
12-06-2008, 11:48 PM
BF, we have a problem! " "Women" don't need to go out and make their mark on the world"?


Please allow me to say fuck you, and fuck you completely, and I don't even care where this is posted...so if anyone wants to "ban" me, just do it.

http://img184.imageshack.us/img184/9632/djbluewaterplusonelh1.jpg

Susan4
12-06-2008, 11:51 PM
Amen. Ben needs a clue.

Ought Six
12-07-2008, 12:33 AM
Echos of Minnesota Smith.... :lol:

Ben Franklin
12-07-2008, 12:52 AM
I laughed at the response. I read the whole thing as a setup and as humor.

If it is for real, she needs to get help or get married.

The email could be kind of a slacker generation parody written by the columnist .... or Fiddlerdave might be right in thinking that the original was for real and the response was pure sarcasm.

I didn't really pay much attention to the response. I tend to think the letter was real, isn't she a regular there at salon.com?

Ought Six
12-07-2008, 06:05 AM
If you are talking about Cary Tennis, she is a he. And yes, he is a Salon.com regular advice columnist. If you look at the archive, the oldest colum they have for him dates back to 2001.

Christy
12-07-2008, 09:50 AM
All of human culture up until the 1960s is on my side in this argument, 06. Women don't need to go out and make their mark on the world in my opinion.



Keep em barefoot and pregnant Ben? With or without your approval, women made their mark on the world throughout history.
Now knuckly your way back to the swamp please and let the grownups discuss will ya?

Ben Franklin
12-07-2008, 12:47 PM
If you are talking about Cary Tennis, she is a he. And yes, he is a Salon.com regular advice columnist. If you look at the archive, the oldest colum they have for him dates back to 2001.No, I meant the letter writer .... I thought she was a regular on their discussion forum and thus the letter hadn't been made up by Tennis, but I just looked again and she's anonymous.

So I guess Theoryman could be right, that it was made-up, a parody.

disastercat
12-07-2008, 02:30 PM
Actually, I can see two sides of this. You see, I've been there and I know how desperate this young women must feel. I think she made a mistake to just quit going to work, the one time I really reached the end of my rope with a service job I gave notice. But I know what it is to be a rotten secretary and a worse waitress. Not from lack of motivation, but just total lack of talent, skills and stamina.

I also had some graduate school (which did me no good at all in the job market) and after going back to an adult high school and getting a "data entry" cert (that will date me) I was able to muddle along with various clerical jobs for the next 10 years until I got married and moved to Europe. I wasn't very good at them, but I also discovered that working in the public sector (State and Federal) having a brain and being willing to get the work done made me a prize catch on the lower levels. So, even though I might have been fired from the private sector because well, I can't spell despite years of trying, in the State sector using a word processor caught most of the problem. Not to mention I discovered several jobs where the previous occupant had taken eight hours to do what I could do in three, after I caught up the backlog.

Now, the way I handled the mental state of knowing I wasn't being paid for anything I was good at, but having to work at stuff I wasn't, was to simply look at the job as a means to an end. It was not a "career," my career was my fiber art work, my neo-Pagan clergy training and historical re-enactment but the job allowed me to fund my life and keep my real "career" going. At the time, I pretty much worked a full time second job as a Neo-Pagan/Asatru priestess, and I thought to myself that a lot of small town Christian Pastors have to work a day job too, and their religion is a lot more organized.

The only problems I encountered sometimes with this attitude was well, folks who didn't like my attitude, people who thought that ones "paid work" should be "first" in your life and that is what defined you. Thankfully you find less of this in public sector jobs, because it isn't legal in most cases for them to force you to work unpaid extra hours and you can only be forced to work paid ones with notice or documented emergencies. This meant that I was happy to do overtime when I had no other commitments and needed the money, but it also meant I had no problem saying, "I'm sorry, I have other plans this weekend that other people are depending on me for. I am happy to work my normal hours, but I'm afraid I can do more than that. Now, next week I probably can..etc."

This was the way I kept my self-esteem up (with overuse of the word aside this is still important) when I would get yelled out for something that I really tried to do correctly but really didn't understand. Or, being treated like a five year old because the other secretary and I were 3 minutes late from break and got a "warning" about such "behavior." I could remind myself that my "real" life wasn't here, it was outside of what I had to do in order to keep food on the table and a roof over my head.

When other friends starting having layoffs and similar problems in early 1990's, I told them about this and several started thinking the same way. I remember one women saying that it felt so much better when she realized that her current job that she had to take after a layoff from her chosen field, wasn't her real "work." Yes, she needed to do it as well as she could while she was there, but she didn't define herself by it either.

That's really what this young women needs to work towards, after perhaps getting a bit of help for depression. Because simply not going to work anymore (rather than quitting) and then just moping at Star bucks and libraries sounds like depression to me. Depression with good reasons perhaps. It can be very soul destroying to constantly wait on people hand and foot (and get yelled at in the process) if your personality isn't suited for the type of work. The more so if you feel you have nothing else to cling too, I always had friends and an active outside life, and that helped a lot. My current boss might think I was a totally failure, but I'd bet she couldn't make home made bread as good as mine!

With so many people under and unemployed, this type of depression is likely to get worse, not better. As more and more people are forced to work in areas they are not really suited to and by this I mean really not suited, as opposed to just would prefer to do something else, there is a difference. Perhaps this is a good time to start thinking of jobs for many people as a place to earn your keep, not the place you find your identity?

That's hard, because for thousands of years people have defined themselves by what they did: I'm a "hunter, farmer, doctor, house-wife, etc" but that may not be such a good idea when what you do is wait tables and deep inside you hate waiting tables. Some people take delight in such a job, are very good at it and define themselves that way. But many other people who might take such a job because they have to (my younger self for example) just are never going to feel that way, even if they are grateful to be employed and try not to take it out on their customers.

Still, this young women is very lucky to have her parents, but she needs to come clean with them. See if she needs to see a doctor or herbalist for the depression and maybe do something at home for a bit to help them out. Perhaps her mother might be willing have her do the family driving and housework for a few months to earn her keep, while she looks at different job training programs. I was able to live in a friend's basement while I got my Data Entry cert and before I finished the course was working temp and paying rent.

Finally, I also sadly suspect that the economy is going to see a lot of people back home with parents (even people in their 50's) not because they stop going to work but because work stops. The depression rate in this group is likely to be huge, and not likely to go away very easily.

sandyd
12-07-2008, 02:34 PM
Maybe males shouldn't have to leave home and make a mark on the world either. Maybe it depends on the person and what/who they are. Males get too much pressure, IMO and females often get to little to grow up and make their marks.

Ben Franklin
12-07-2008, 03:23 PM
Two excellent posts!

Susie
12-07-2008, 03:32 PM
This young woman should be ashamed of herself...or go to see someone and get help. Frittering away her Granny's inheritance and lying to her parents is not nice.

Potemkin
12-07-2008, 03:37 PM
Two excellent posts!


I agree, however there are some caveats that people should know about when they embark on such a lifestyle.

I am somewhat a non-conformist and do well at my career. My needs are simple and as such I don't have to chase position and money. I can come and go as I wish, telecommute, slack off them put in the big push, and dress the way I wish most of the time.

Heck, I am close to being "self actualized" in quite a few respects.

However, living my way or the one Disaster Cat describes requires some modifications to what people may consider normal.

You can't live the non-conformist, non-traditional or Bohemian lifestyle and still keep the trappings of "normal life".

You can't have disdain for the work it takes for that materialistic lifestyle but have those things of that lifestyle.

You can have dependable cars, clean, decent homes, etc. You aren't going to eat out 4-5 days a week, have the latest cars, wide screen HD TVs, McMansions, etc.

BirdGuano
12-07-2008, 03:40 PM
BF, we have a problem! " "Women" don't need to go out and make their mark on the world"?


Please allow me to say fuck you, and fuck you completely, and I don't even care where this is posted...so if anyone wants to "ban" me, just do it.

As the father of a daughter......+1

I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

disastercat
12-07-2008, 06:37 PM
I didn't totally disdain the work I was doing, some of the later clerical work for State and Federal agencies needing doing. Its just that work was not a really good fit for me, and try as I might I was never going to be more than "OK" at it. At the service level work I was down right terrible at it, 4'8" tall and not even able to reach the counters in many employment places, I actually had a Burger King Manager said he would fire me if I couldn't lift a 250 pound canister off "the clock" so I couldn't claim worker's compensation if I was injured. I tried, couldn't budge it and he fired me anyway.

I did what I could, but I was never going to be more than borderline. I have since discovered I have a real talent for sales, so if I ever have to go back into service work again, that's where I would try to go. But in the 1980's recession, there were 50 applications for every food service job where I lived, so yes I was grateful to be working, but like this women I HATED my job. I did not quit however.

However, you are totally correct about the choices in such a life style, although I think you will find that deep down a lot of accidental bureaucrats make the same basic decision. In general, a few States and Counties aside, government workers get paid LESS than the private sector and have fewer holidays. For example we always worked the day after Thanksgiving, which was fine except no one we worked with was at work. I always asked to be on that day because you got paid pretty much for catching up on paperwork and eating leftovers everyone brought with them. A bank of silent phones, it was the same on Christmas Eve, which I almost always worked so someone who was a Christian could take the day off and go to Church if the wanted to.

The trade most government workers make is fairly stable jobs (though they do get laid off in real hard times, trust me I know because it happened to me), with moderate benefits (not fantastic but not bad either) and reasonable working conditions (like no forced overtime without a really good reason like tax time at the IRS). However, I would have had to work 30 years in the same job to make what my then 24 year old house mate made as a clerical worker/accountant at a local winery. I mentioned that to him once when he complained about not getting a raise during the early 90's recession. He didn't mention it again...

So, he had a lot more money than I did, but I had the more secure job.

However, I do have to admit that what got me out of the rat race was, like many women, getting married. The fact that I could not work outside the home for about the first 10 years we lived here helped. Now that we have a family business, I can work in that and being partially disabled I could probably get a pension if we needed one, though right now that isn't necessary (and it would limit how much I could earn).

So, there are compromises and this young women will need to figure out what is more important to her. Trying to find a real career that suits her or earning as much money as she would like to have to support her lifestyle. For me, when I was single, that was pretty much a roof, food, a few toys (like spinning wheel and loom) plus a bit of traveling to re-enactment (SCA) events. I was just starting to be able to save money when I got married because I had finally worked my way up the ranks enough to be earning a bit more money than basic expenses took every month.

Anyway, like I said, I can see both sides but I can also see this young women needs to do something. Even if it is help out in the family home while she applies for a different course of study (like teaching or something else using the brain a bit).

As I once told a friend when we were in our early 30's who said, "I think I'm the only one in our social group who is career oriented." And I replied, "well, if I could have had the career I was studying for, being a college professor of history or anthropology then I probably would care. I'd be publishing articles and looking for tenure right about now. But instead, I'm a GS-5 level personnel clerk which is OK for a job, but not exactly the "career" I had in mind."

Great thread and very thought provoking, I do hope this young women has a good friend who can set her down and have a long chat. And not about how she can make money writing blogs...