Updates from the Shed

Because that’s where you keep tools like axes and ploughs, right? I don’t know what else to call the “behind the scenes” part of this whole operation.

This is a rare personal post. If you don’t care about reading that, you’re free to skip it.

Long time readers of my blog know that I don’t tend to use this forum as a personal space unless it intersects within my religious or philosophical inclinations. I err too much on the side of ranting, and lose focus on what I want to speak on. Plus it breeds too much negativity and I don’t really want to pollute this space with that. I like people coming to me for information and knowledge without taking away a lot of the personal stuff I sometimes see plastered everywhere. I’m very private. Plus, there is a ton of social media space available out there for more personal leanings.

But I wanted to make an update because I had promised myself around the beginning of the year (okay, well, late January at least) to try to write at least a blog post every two weeks. I haven’t exactly kept to that, although I did in February. However, it is March and I don’t have much to show for it. I have been working on a blog post the past few days, but it’s turning into a larger project than I anticipated, and is probably going to be a bit too academic for the purposes of general consumption. But I believe it’s an important piece that needs to be said, although I’m fully intending on getting some negativity for it.

The fact of the matter is, I’m in a life-rut, and I have been for a while. I don’t like speaking to this, but it took me longer than anticipated to get my degree (an additional year of coursework to bolster a single poor grade I received due to external stresses and almost another full year on my thesis and comprehensive exams). I left the dead end job I was in last year in order to finish up the paperwork on this thing and, though it’s been done since the turn of the year, that paperwork was only filed recently. So while I’m “graduated” it took me quite a bit longer for my two year Master’s.

I should be pleased and proud that I got it, but I’m still no better off. The end goal has always been getting into a doctoral program somewhere aligning with my interests. But competition is so fierce and, despite staying an additional year and working my battered GPA back up to above the 90th percentile (roughly 3.66, the grade I received, which while passing, fully nuked my near-stellar record), I was rejected from two out of the three schools that I had applied to. I’m waiting on the third, but I do not believe I will have much good news. I have hope it’s a “fit” issue, and not a “credential” issue, but I’ve already had to set my sights on schools with a more lenient admissions policy. Which is fine, really.

So I’m now on the other side of 30 (in fact, my birthday is a week from Tuesday), with a large amount of debt, and no real “professional” life to speak of. I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do with my Master’s in Medieval History until I can get into a doctoral program. This is weighed upon by the statements by my professors that “if I do not get in this time, never apply again”, or that I’m getting too old to be trying to get into this life path. I have been largely unemployed and adrift, and have seen much of my savings dwindle. While I’m starting a local job soon, it will not cover my expenses (which are comparatively light), and I can’t seem to find employment that fits my skillsets, or work where I can be qualified for. The fact that I have been, literally, crashing for over a year on a couch doesn’t improve my self-esteem.

I’m trying to look positively on this. I have the equivalent of two BA degrees, a MA degree (something which still isn’t required, although not as uncommon as it once was), and I’ve been around the world doing what I’ve done. But none of that puts my life in order, it seems. I can’t pay my loans off without a decent job. Frankly, I don’t want to just have a life where I have to take whatever scraps are offered and have to give up the one real thing I’ve ever wanted to come from my education (doctoral degree) because I’m not good enough or competitive enough or was born in the wrong time. I’m tired of not living and just having it all pass by. And I’m just tired of not…being good enough. Because it translates back to everything I do as being of less value and less worth.

I don’t even know if I can kickstart a professional career this late in the game, even without going through with furthering my education. All this is weighing me down, and causing me to internalize a ton of stress, and I have no outlet for it. Which impacts my blogging, my interests, and everything else.

I don’t know. I have no direction. The only direction I get through divination (performed by trusted diviners, I am absolutely no good at it) is that my gods, who are radio silent, want me to continue my education. It sounds foolhardy because I’m a cement-head radio-silent guy. And when I get overloaded with this stuff I end up procrastinating worse (which explains the time it took to get paperwork done), and the world just slips me by.

It feels good to get this out there, but I’m really unsure as to what I need to do or how to proceed.

~ by thelettuceman on March 21, 2016.

3 Responses to “Updates from the Shed”

  1. Honestly, it sounds like you are doing all you can do for where you are right now. That’s not just back-patting, though it is and it is commiseration.

    My academic career is more or less dead-in-the-water. I took a good look at how academics in my field are treated in the increasingly shrinking jobs available to us, and I made the decision to pivot into a wholly different field, while still tangentially related. My field is actively going through State budget cuts, and across the country too.

    My decision needn’t be yours, nor should it be discouraging, it’s just the best decision that I could make for my family and I given where I was…and honestly, it hurts sometimes. It’s still the best decision to make for us, but damn it would feel really good to have a PhD. after my name.

    Something did strike me as I was reading: you may be onto something in terms of ‘kickstarting’ your academic career. If you are having trouble financially, a Kickstarter, Gofundme, Patreon, and similar may be of use.

    A lot of Youtube folks, as well as bloggers, are making increased use of Patreon as revenue streams. Maybe tap into the crowd you have here, and start writing little bits for Patreon subscribers as you can, or small 2-5 minute video topics. It’s a thought, especially for the time commitment you’re looking at with an academic career.

    If this is where your Gods are pointing you, go for it with all the passion you can bring to bear.

    Blessings to you, luck to you, and power to you in your work.

  2. I appreciate the commiseration and I thank you for your kind words. I’ve been speaking privately about this with some people, and I tend to feel like I’m just wearing their goodwill out by it. So I took it to my space just to vent. Too many people telling me I’m ‘too much’ when I’m down, I suppose.

    To me, my goal has always been one of being “educated” and getting that degree. What I did with it was always a secondary consideration. But I’m here consistently barred from it, with an immense amount of debt that I’m not even paying down because I’m not able to find a real position in society, and I’m floating.

    If I had some greater talent I’d probably do the Patreon route, but I don’t feel that I have much to offer anyone to induce them to part with their hard earned money to help me out. My readership isn’t the largest, and I hardly think I’ve engendered myself well enough to people where they’d try to support it. But maybe, if I can make something suitably marketable.

    I’d like to think this is where the Gods are pointing me. I have had a number of people whom I trust in divination independently confirm that. But who knows with the vagaries of interpretation.

    Until then, I suppose, I’ll keep pissing off people as part of the wider polytheist hateocracy.

  3. The situation you describe is all too common in Western countries these days – education has been held out as the only legitimate means to financial security and personal happiness. I too spent far too much time at university and when I finally finished my studies (aka, couldn’t acquire any more student loans to continue them) it was a monumentally huge shock for me because I thought that a good student like me would have no problems getting my “dream job” or something close to it. The many details regarding what I did in response is ultimately not relevant because we all have to find our own way but if you can hold down full time work somewhere, anywhere (especially where you can climb from a low role in the organisation to a higher one) that always looks good on a resume (proves you have a work ethic), and if you keep your eyes focused on the game (or prey), eventually an opportunity will come, probably a number of times, but you need to be hunting to notice them and you will need to be willing to take the prey that comes your way and not keep holding out for a stag. I’m sure you are already making offerings to the Gods to help you (forgive me if I sound like a wanker in this response, it’s very hard too reply to these kinds of posts without sounding like a bit of a … )

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