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A Degree I Do Not Use

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Me, 1981

Me, 1981

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications-Mass Media, specifically Radio & TV Broadcasting.

I have never used it.

People ask me why. I have always dodged the question.

Why would you ask someone that? It is just pointing out that I failed. How, I’m not sure. But that question still makes me feel like a failure. It is like a big gray cloak being pulled over me.  It suffocates me.

My mom probably hates me for not using my degree. But she was the one who made me go to stupid college in the first place. If I was going to be there for 4 years, I wanted to do something fun.

I was a fan of many local DJ’s at the time. While I was still in high school, I even got to be on the most popular local radio station for an hour and pick all the songs. I thought the Universe was telling me this was my thing.

Me on "Look Ma, I'm on KISS-FM", 92.5 WVKS Toledo, 1994

Me on “Look Ma, I’m on KISS-FM”, 92.5 WVKS Toledo, 1994

None of my college projects turned out perfect. I got A’s on most of them. But there was always something about the audio quality or length or lighting or editing that bothered me about every project I did. I wasn’t used to not being perfect in school.

Four years later, after spending time on half-broken, analog equipment, I didn’t feel like my college had actually prepared me for the real world. I didn’t feel confident I could walk into a radio station and operate their board. And the college gave me no assistance in finding a job.

Laryngitis. The only time in my life I have ever lost my voice was the last month before I graduated from college. Right when I wanted to make demo tapes to send out to radio stations. While my voice came back, it wasn’t the same for about 2 months. I had a limited window of time that I had access to the recording equipment, so I made tapes anyway. They didn’t sound like me. I did send them out to stations. None of them called.

But I took the laryngitis as a sign that I wasn’t meant to go into radio. The Universe is a fickle mistress. It broke my heart a little. But I was also scared to death to go out into the big bad world and be that brave. I think my discouragement was equal parts laryngitis and fear. I decided maybe I was just a better radio spectator than player.

I got a boring office job in a giant corporate building filled with cubicles I hated. My mom had always worked in offices.  It felt like a safe bet, if not one I was thrilled about.  I hated the long commute. I hated the work. But I liked the people. I made some great friends just at the time in my life when I needed them. We had lots of important experiences that shaped me into the dorky weirdo that I am today. I wouldn’t trade the chance to meet those folks for anything. (Love to Patti, Carrie, Jeff, Linda, Ann, Megan, Paul, and the rest…)

I recently applied a few times to the local radio station. I got an interview, but with no current experience, they didn’t hire me. Other stations are an even further commute for me. Or I would have to move. I don’t want to move. For many reasons.

You might look at this post as a list of excuses. I suppose it is. But I don’t have a better explanation.

The Universe told me it wasn’t my thing. I believed it.

Maybe the Universe was trying to tell me that my words were important, just not the ones that come from my mouth. Maybe the ones that come from my fingers are more important?

My 3 Jobs

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I think of myself as having three jobs right now:

1. Writer

2. Maid/ Mom

3. Customer Service/Retail

A pictograph of my life right now.

A pictograph of my life right now.

As a writer, I am working on like 4 novels at once. I hope to have once finished soon. I am also trying to keep up my blog, as I do not want to lose views just as I might have a product (my future book) to hock to them (THIS MEANS YOU!). I don’t want to abandon my only marketing tool. I have also learned that I write because “I can’t not write.” So, I might as well try to find a way to use that to move toward a goal.

Making a little money from it would be nice as well.

Fame and fortune would be AWESOME!

3 JOBS-meme

I am not a stay at home mom, because I work part-time outside the home. But when I am home, I am chasing my child, trying to keep him clean and fed and happy. (The “happy” part is almost impossible.) I am also trying to keep up with the laundry and dishes and sweeping. I aspire to complete a thorough spring cleaning someday…for 2011. We also have two large dogs. So some days I feel like a zookeeper as well.

I work about 15-20 hrs per week in a retail customer service job. So, I spend all day waiting on my child’s beck and call, then I head off to get paid to do the same thing for strangers.  I have an hour commute one way. So, if you figure I usually work 3 days per week, that is 6hrs I am gone from home and not getting paid for them, plus gas. It cuts into the bottom line. I know it sounds silly, but you have to understand that we love our house and want to stay close to our family. Therefore, we live in the land of very few good jobs. To get a job similar to the one I held for 12 years prior, we would have to move closer to Detroit, or a different city. We don’t want that. So, we make due.

I know that my husband does not see it this way at all. I try and throw the “three jobs” thought out there once in a while, but I don’t think he understands what I am getting at. He just sees my small paycheck and thinks I should get a different job. He views my writing as a hobby.

But I looked for a job for a year and a half, before I found this one. And where I am at now, I am actually making more than minimum wage. If I got a different job, that might not be the case. The minimum is the new maximum, me thinks. And with this job I have thus far avoided daycare for my son, which, could lead to additional costs.

I don’t think he realizes that in 2003, we tried to run our own business, because he wanted to. I supported him, because I knew a version of that had always been his dream. We were also planning our wedding at the same time. It was highly stressful. It was one of those businesses that only thrives if you sign up people to be under you. We never got any. We gave up on it. The info and motivational tapes from that are still sitting in our attic. Like a big sign that reads “failure”.

When we were both out of work a few years ago, he tried a self-employed venture. Once again, it wasn’t exactly his big dream, but it was something he would enjoy doing more than factory work. I supported him. The market was not real good at that time, and it was a hard business to network. It was hard for a new kid on the block to get word of mouth, when there were so many established people in the field available. He put that venture on the back-burner after a year. The advertising from it is still sitting in our driveway, a literal “sign” that makes me sad.

That is two years of my life of letting him take his chance on a dream. So, I am looking at 2014 as my year to pursue my dream. I am just not sure that he has realized that yet.  We might not have a lot of food in the cupboards, but we are not going hungry. Working part-time allows me more time to work on my writing.

I have not reached my goals yet, but I AM GETTING SOMEWHERE!

I AM CLOSER THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN!

Will my goals cost a little money to get there? Sure.

Did my husband’s? Yes.

Will my writing pay out big dividends? Most likely not.

Did my husband’s? Not so much.

Were his ventures important to him? Of course.

Are mine important to me? Damn straight.

Imagine the wonderful harmony in our household if at least one of us was doing something they enjoyed as a part of a career?

Imagine if we BOTH were.

I don’t want to walk by boxes of my writing upstairs and have it remind me that I failed to meet my goal. I have been doing that for 20 years already.

I am done with failure. I want some success.

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