Pop Culture Gadabout
Saturday, August 29, 2009
      ( 8/29/2009 07:37:00 AM ) Bill S.  

JUST WAITIN' FOR MONDAY: After months of frantic searches, long drives to interviews and too many mornings waking up stressed and worried, I'm starting a job this Monday at a behavioral health center in the area. Though I've been looking far and wide for a job, we've both hoped that we'd be able to stay in the part of Arizona where we lit a little than two years ago: it wasn't that the idea of moving all our stuff seemed particularly arduous (though it does), but we've fallen in love with our quiet little rural desert home. For now, at least, it looks like we get to stay put a while longer.

This definitely, as I've noted more than once, has been a rocky summer: the joy of getting our novel published has been overbalanced by the stress of unemployment and the knowledge that whatever financial rewards we see from this won't come until next year. Our attempts at making supplemental money, writing for a local paper, resulted in some enjoyable journalistic collaborations between my wife and I, but it came to a screeching halt when the paper quickly folded. Difficult times, but I know we haven't been the only ones experiencing it.

Looking for work in the social services sector -- particularly in a state where its ideologically ossified legislators continue to haggle over approving a state budget -- has been pretty daunting. The agency where I was working has sliced its two-man in-home staff in half, while the number of clients served by the program is presently larger than it had been when I initially joined the agency. With funding up in the air, the agency is reluctant to call back in-home workers who they may need to lay off again two or three months down the road. For those who remain, it's the path to burnout, but then the field of family-based behavioral health work has always been a low-pay/high-stress one.

Even when agencies want you, the current practice appears to be to delay the actual hiring process for as long as possible to save some money. I first interviewed for this position weeks ago, and it seemingly took forever until I was actually told I had it late Friday. Like insurance companies holding onto that settlement for as long as they can, the delay proves beneficial to the agency's bottom line.

But, to heck with the cynicism, I'm just glad to be rejoining the ranks of the close-to-gainfully employed.
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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