After the adventure : The grim business of work (originally posted May 25/09)

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple of weeks about the big contradiction of moving out here. We wanted a better quality of life for ourselves (which is a terribly selfish thing to admit, but there you go…) and so we gave up our big, draughty house by the sea, Mrs Dim’s well-paid but stressful job and took the kids out of their decent school and jumped on the plane. In return we have a modern house (that’s a little small by comparison to the last), only two of the three kids in school, no jobs for either of us and a shrinking pile of savings….oh, and mountains on the skyline, hummingbirds outside the dining room window and bears, raccoons and cougars a stone’s throw away (and if it’s a bear, pick a damn big stone to throw….)

I’m thinking like this because Mrs Dim is having way more trouble finding employment than we expected. According to our plan, she should have been in her new job last month and I would be busily expanding my writing and reviewing work. Instead, I went out today to hand deliver my first real job application in…oh, call it ten years. As you can imagine, having worked from home for a decade doesn’t give you a glowing resume. So on one hand we have Mrs Dim, getting rejected from jobs we know she can do because her qualifications don’t translate into Canadian, and on the other there’s me, who isn’t qualified for anything and can’t even get an entry level library job. Probably.

The crazy thing is, what’s holding up Mrs Dim’s job hunting success is fear of the Worldwide Economic Collapse. You know how many Canadian Banks went under? None. You know how fragile and unnstable the economy here is now? Well, it’s not, but I’ve noticed that the merest hint of recesssion or financial crisis is leapt on by economists, because they love to talk gloom and doom, and businesses, because they love to have a reason not to give raises and hire more staff. Plus, of course, the fact is that so much of the world is having a paddy about the financial crisis that orders really are down, and life is getting tougher out there.

Meanwhile I have to face facts. I’m grumpy about this because I hate going out to work. Earning money for writing has been a dream come true because it took away my guilt about enjoying staying home. Mrs Dim has freely admitted she’s keen to get back to work. She loves spending time with us here in the house, but it’s nice to have some contrast, and running a family of five just isn’t enough of a challenge for this woman. Somebody out there has to find her a job soon, for the sake of all our sanity, but mostly for the sake of our bank account.

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