Sold!

Nov. 12th, 2009 06:56 pm
fersakyn: (Happy)
Good news! -- at long last! Click here for details... )
fersakyn: (Incognito)
So, I finally learned how to do an lj-cut, so here goes... Struggling to be happy. )
fersakyn: (Artiste)
Well, I finally got a job. Sadly, it's not full-time, and it's not permanent. It's a part-time, temporary gig substitute-teaching at a private school. I'm doing a combo English/World History. It pays well, but again only 3 hours Monday-Friday, and ends at the beginning of September. Better than nothing.

There are couple of university teaching positions in Taiwan that got posted last week. I'm iffy on one of them -- my cousin tells me that this particular uni is located where it just flooded in Taiwan. But hopefully it'll be all dried out if I get a job there! (Her words, not mine.) The other one is in Taipei, at the last furthermost north-eastern subway stop. That's the one that I would want to get. I have no desire to relocate to a city in a foreign country where I do not read the language and have no relatives/friends there. The exception to that being anywhere in Taipei since it has an excellent subway system, buses, and lots and lots of taxi cabs.
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
Well... It's now Tuesday, and the St. Cloud people said that they would call the successful candidate on Friday. I definitely didn't get the job.

I went over my folders of employment application stuff, and I started deleting all the received-rejection-letters and past-due-to-contact-for-employment. So, I applied to approximately sixteen-eighteen jobs, and now I'm down to MAYBE eight that might still contact me. That's not even a MAYBE job offer; just might contact me for an interview. Wow, this bites.

In related news, I've been trawling Craig's list for non-academic jobs. I have a job interview lined up for a kind of sketchy place that advertised starting salaries from $50k to $70k. Seems rather suspect. The woman who answered the phone sounded young, and would only tell me that the company worked with fragrances. Hmmm... Whatever. The $50k starting salary sounded good. The only other full-time, non-academic job I've seen on Craig's list that I'm qualified for had a starting salary of $30k. That would be fine if I had just gotten my Bachelor's. A bit low, but okay for that amount of education. But for a PhD? I hope I'm not being elitest by considering that unreasonably low. Ugh.

Tomorrow, I also have to drop off my poor car to be repaired. I scraped the rightside of the car when I parked it when I was trying to get some distance from the parental unit after an argument. I should've just walked off the mad, rather than trying to drive off the mad. Live and learn. Anger and driving are non-mixy things, as Buffy would say.
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
I had a fairly social day. I went down to Irvine, had lunch with a friend from grad school (different department) and her coworkers, ran some errands, and attended an informal get-together in memory of a friend's wife. He didn't want to do an actual memorial -- he's already done several in Germany with her family and has one more to go later this month in San Francisco with her friends from college -- so talk of his wife was fairly low-key, and it was more a catching-up with old friends session.

My friend, the one I had lunch with, and I had discussed how we'd be bored out of our skulls if we ever opted to be stay-at-home moms/wives. She said that she just felt better with paid work that let her socialize, gain skills, and learn more things. I replied that without work, I get hyper-critical of myself. Nothing is good, everything needs improvement, and on and on. I start obsessing over how every minute detail, from my nails to my getting the PhD (took too long! should've been finished sooner! so-and-so only took SIX YEARS to finish! I should've been more like her!), is just wrong, wrong, wrong. She was kind of horrified to hear that the self-criticism extends so far. I even start to think that I'm fat (intellectually, I know I'm not at all overweight; in fact, I'm probably slightly underweight since I don't exercise enough -- not enough muscles versus flab -- and see, there's another example of self-criticism!).

I need gainful employment.

The friend, whose wife passed away this year, and I talked after the get-together about this and that. He, in reference to the above-conversation with the other friend, said that living at home probably demoralizes me further since my mom is hyper-critical of me, and I most likely have internalized all the negative judgments. I told him that I already knew that, but that her constant habit of cutting me down has led not only to my internalizing those opinions, but also aping that very hyper-criticism itself. And the eighteen years of that kind of behavior means that my habit of being all doom-and-gloom about myself is a pretty entrenched habit. Just recognizing it doesn't mean that I can stop doing it. I fall a little too much into OCD to just stop. It's easy for me to be obsessive/compulsive, and therefore brooding on how much I dislike this, that, and the other about myself and my life is really, really easy.

Working and keeping busy help a lot. I'm less likely to be obsessive, at least in a negative fashion, when I'm too busy with other things. *fingers crossed for job offer*
fersakyn: (Incognito)
Today, I had the phone interview for St. Cloud State University. It's a temporary/visiting position. My friend reminded me to ask for clarification on the exact title if they offer it to me.

I think it went okay. I was nervous, and I usually speak very, very fast when I get nervous. There was a longish pause at one point, and the interviewers commented that they were trying to write down my answers to have something to refer to when they made their decision. Oops. I think I slowed down after that.

The only negative (that I can think of on my part) was when they asked about course materials twice for potential classes. The first time, I listed a few books, history, literature, theory, etc., that I might use in an Asian Am course or in an ethnic studies course. The second time, I think they were fishing for non-lit materials but I kind of blanked. I named two films I think, and mentioned that there were good documentaries on Asian American history and community formation, but I couldn't remember their titles. Ugh.

I tried to "sound" as enthusiastic as possible. I even smiled through the interview 'cuz I think that kind of thing helps to create that "enthusiastic" tone or carries through in a person's voice. I also couldn't think of good questions beyond the one that my friend advised me to use, about the kinds of students who go through ethnic studies at their university and the kinds of projects they're interested in. All of the questions I came up with on my own were too specific, stuff about faculty life, technology in the classrooms, etc. I thought those would be a bit too nitty-gritty or something. I dunno. Maybe I should've asked them after all. There was a bit of an awkward pause at the end with my portion of the Q&A. Oh well...

I hope I get the job, and that the salary is good. They mentioned a heavy teaching load, and asked me how I would deal with the challenges of it. I asked them to clarify what they meant, and they told me that the teaching load is 4/4 at their univ. That's a load not really conducive to research or intensive job searching, so as my friend advised the pay needs to be commensurate with that. I answered that I had dealt with a somewhat-similar teaching load in my last two years of grad school when funding kept getting cut, and at one point I was juggling TA'ing a class while adjunct teaching two to three classes at a different university, all on top of finishing my dissertation. Hopefully, that answer played well. Who knows?

Sigh. I really need the job. It's a good stepping stone since it's ethnic studies with an Asian American focus, and I haven't been gainfully employed since February. It'll also get me away from my family for a while so that I can get some distance (figural and literal!). I have yet to hear back from the postdoc fellowship I applied for, which financially and career-wise would be a better option (less teaching, more time for research and job hunting). I've only heard back from the places who rejected me. Oh yay.
fersakyn: (Toilet-trained)
Today started out fairly well. I got a call in the afternoon from a university for a one-year visiting professor/lecturer/instructor position (ad wasn't very clear on the title of the position) out in Minnesota. We scheduled a phone interview for next week. It's specifically for Asian American studies/ethnic studies, so it's right up my alley. My nieces came over for their weekly visit with my mom -- grandma babysits on this particular day as my sister-in-law rotates taking my nephew to piano lessons and then the girls to dancing lessons. I hugged them, marveled over the haircut of the youngest -- which makes her look JUST LIKE a china doll!!! Super cute, but also so stereotypical (both the style and of my sister-in-law).

Then... the drama. My mom calls me in during the early evening to help her with something in the kitchen. Before she can even tell me what it is, we got into it. I merely asked if the rugrats had gone home since I didn't hear them running down the hallways or yelling down the house. My mom joked about what a lousy teacher I'll make if I can't even handle my own nieces. I pointed out, calmly and factually, that I have no training nor background in child development. I teach college-aged students, that means people eighteen years and older. She retorted, what students? I was completely aghast. She just erased the last eight years of teaching at the university I did grad school and the other universities for which I had been an adjunct/lecturer.

I was so angry. I told her, point blank, that this stretch of nearly six months has been the longest that I've been unemployed since I could legally work at the age of sixteen. She responded by rewriting my employment history. According to her, I only started working when I started undergrad at UCLA. Oh, I love how much attention she obviously paid me during my high school years! I had worked at an after-school program in my local school district (meaning: supervising the safety of the children as they waited to be picked up by busy parents after school ended for the day). I did this for two years. My mom kept insisting that I hadn't worked during high school. I pointed out that her lack of memory merely meant that she obviously hadn't paid an iota of attention to my comings and goings during high school, NOT that I had false memories as she kept implying, and I walked away.

I was still so angry that when I left the house to run some errands, I scraped the side of my poor, poor car when I parked it. I now have even less money -- or will have less money since I need to repair my poor, poor car. Ugh.

When I got home, she confronted me. She told me that I needed to rethink how I spoke to her. She might be a mediocre parent, but I was wrong in speaking back to her with such anger. I told her that she was the one who should weigh her words. I spoke to her factually and calmly in the initial part of the argument. It wasn't until she got snide and derisive that I got mad. And to that, what was inappropriate about being angry when she was being insulting and offensive?

I vented to an old college friend afterwards. My friend lamented that neither of us had good childhoods or supportive, loving families. We would be completely different people if we'd had even one adult in our lives, nurturing, supporting, and encouraging us. We would be less prone to depression and feelings of not having any worth, and we would be more self-confident and positive. I had thought that my mom and I had gotten passed the way in which she ignored me in favor of my brother (the prodigal son!), but really these moments only underscore how little she values what I have achieved, my goals, and my abilities. I used to think that it was just because my work is esoteric to those outside of academia, particularly the humanities, but these arguments point to something else at work. I think my friend is right; it's about how she sees little to no worth in me as a person and as someone in academia.

I'm so sick of living here with her. I'm grateful for the financial assistance of residing somewhere rent-free, especially when I was finishing the diss, but the psychic and emotional costs are too high.
fersakyn: (Up-Close)
Well, we got back Friday night from a week-long bus tour through Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Jackson's Hole, among a few other stops. Up at fricken 5 am everyday, to the hotel/motel at 8pm every night. Get on the bus, get off the bus to go to bathroom, back on the bus, repeat. It was nice to have time with the family. Kind of. My body doesn't thank me. My knees especially did not like being cramped up for more than 12 hours a day. There were little spats among family members. And I (of course!) got bitten by mosquitoes in Yellowstone. I'm virtually a mosquito magnet.

The tour guide jipped us on meals. She offered a package of 8 meals for $80 per person. Seems like a good deal, until we got to each restaurant and realized that she was paying less than $10 per person (and of course, with such a large group of people she no doubt also got a group discount on top of that!). Ugh. There were also spats between her and my mom over seating arrangements and whatnot.

My sister-in-law, her kids, and her parents left a day early, taking a flight from Las Vegas back to LA. She left two suitcases of dirty clothes for us to take care of when we arrived back in LA. Of course, despite numerous messages, conversations, and assurances on her part, she wasn't at home to pick us up when we arrived. Then, there was (stupid!) weirdness on her and my brother's part about getting the luggage. Of course they need the luggage NOW (despite not being there to pick us up when we arrived)! Don't we understand that it's a lot of dirty laundry that must be taken care of RIGHT AWAY??? Dude. If it's that important, then why the hell didn't she just take the suitcases with her when she hopped on the plane???

Then after that mess, we rushed to get bentos from Tapioca Express to eat at the Hollywood Bowl. The boba place had to switch our orders to ones that were quicker to make because they hadn't made them when we had ordered them to be done by. Oops. The show at the Bowl was good, especially the fireworks. They had some guy named John Fogerty for the second half of the program. Seemed like a lot of people knew his music, but too country for me. I'm all alt-rock.

Still tired out, even two days after the trip ended. Also back to writing job app stuff. Joy.

Blah

Jun. 23rd, 2009 07:22 pm
fersakyn: (Awww)
Today, I drove my mom and my uncle to the airport so that they could fly back for the funeral. It was weird. No one wanted to acknowledge the elephant in the room (car?). The two of them just acted so normal, or tried to. So weird. I suppose I'm too indoctrinated by our media culture. I guess I assumed that my mom and uncle would act like people do on television or in the movies when someone dies. Obviously, not.

I sent off seven job applications yesterday. One had to be next-day posted 'cuz the deadline is Friday, and the post office couldn't guarantee timely delivery with any other service. Oy. So costly. I also applied online to several community colleges in the area. Just spamming my info out there, hoping for some academic fishies to bite. Blegh.

I had the shortest job interview EVER today for a part-time teaching position at a private learning center. Five minutes, in then out. The person who interviewed me looked younger than me! And she dressed way, way WRONG. Short, short skirt, low, low blouse, high, high heels, and very heavy make-up. And of course, big hair. When we arranged the interview on the phone, I thought she was the receptionist. She just sounded too young to be the manager.

I dunno if I got the position. I can't start immediately. My mom has already booked this big bus tour thing with my uncle, aunt, cousin, then my sister-in-law, nephew and nieces, then my sister-in-law's mother and father, and of course my mom all going to Yellowstone Park. We're supposed to leave on Saturday, and we won't be back until July 4 or 5. Blah. I hope I still get the job. It pays well -- starting wage at $27/hour, with a chance to increase depending on student enrollment. It would be nice to have money going IN to my bank account instead of OUT as has been the case for the last six months. Nothing to do but wait on the call.
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
My mother's brother and his wife are visiting for a month. It's been pretty good so far -- taking them around staves off my growing sense of isolation and loneliness. I'm just a big barrel of laughs.

My maternal grandmother's been in the hospital since May 2008. My uncle and aunt told my mother and me that the doctors don't think she'll last much longer. My mom was pretty angry -- at the doctors. She's a nurse, and she said that they did too many invasive procedures that weren't really necessary, and these procedures contributed to my grandmother's deteriorating health in a significant way.

Yesterday, my cousin pulled me aside, out of the hearing of my uncle, her father, to tell me that grandma had passed away. Initially, I didn't really know what to feel. I can count on two hands the number of times I've seen my grandma in my life. I have a weird family history of divorces, bitter family squabbles, the whole works. It's like a soap opera sometimes, so I never really got to know my mother's mother. I know that my mother really missed her growing up, and that she never really got over how, in the Chinese system, the father gets custody of the children in a divorce. But they didn't really have a great relationship since my grandma remarried, and her husband didn't like that his wife had children from a previous marriage.

Today, I feel it. I feel sad that she's gone. I think my mother's still kind of in denial. I haven't seen her express grief yet -- she's keeping busy with work. I think it'll really hit her when she flies out to go to the funeral next week. It's not really real for her yet. My uncle started grieving last night. He ambled in from the guestroom pretty drunk and looking for more booze to get more plastered. I felt pretty bad seeing him like that. It was also weird since for longer than my mother or her sister, he had a great deal of bitterness toward his mother about the divorce and "abandonment".

Plus, I got another rejection letter today. Wow. It just keeps coming. I thought I would at least make it to the first round of interviews since I just got my PhD, and the posting is for a community college. What use is the PhD if it has no value for even a CC??? I hope I get something by September. Otherwise, I'll really feel like the PhD is worthless, and I wasted my time and energy (and money!).
fersakyn: (Oops)
So... In January, my troublesome (and troubling) committee member offered to step down if I so wanted - after she excluded me from a meeting to discuss my progress. And where she kind of badmouthed me (I heard later from my adviser). Nice. I replaced her with someone my adviser found amenable, who is not in my field at all, and who has not met with me in the last four months despite several requests on my part. Whatever. As long as he doesn't pull the same shit that the previous member did, I'm fine.

Well, I finished revising chapter 2 and submitted that to my adviser in February, and I just finished chapter 3 at the end of April. Now chapter 4 is on the table, and I'm sooo tired of this. I really don't have a clear plan for chapter 4 - not like I did for chapter 3.

I attended two conferences in the last few weeks, presenting the same paper - which just happened to be excerpted from the chapter which started that committee member on her demand that I start my project from scratch. Nice to be validated. I met up with several people I hadn't seen in a long while from grad school who were a few years ahead of me in the program. Everyone agreed that the last chapters of their dissertations were totally thrown together, and so I shouldn't stress over chapter 4. One of my friends confessed that her chapter 4 was approximately 20 unpolished pages.

Right after I emailed chapter 3 to my adviser, my mom dragged me off to San Francisco despite the fact that my filing date is June 4 and I needed to start chapter 4. Nice, eh? She has a pattern of doing really inconsiderate shit during the milestones of my grad career. When I was taking my qualifying exams, which were spread out over three days, she called me to have me arrange a graduation party for a friend of a family. So considerate. One of my other friends in the program had her mother over, volunteering to take care of her during her quals. My mother wanted me to put together a party FOR SOMEONE ELSE during my exams. Now, during the last leg of my PhD program, she wanted to carpool six hours to San Francisco to see another friend of the family. Said friend confessed to me after our mothers were asleep (her mother came up with us) that she didn't even want to host us since her newly purchased condo wasn't ready for guests, but of course my mother INSISTED and the rest of us gave way. God.

In other news, since I'm so stressed out, I've been indulging (too much!) in retail therapy. So, so bad. I really shouldn't be buying things, draining my savings account. I'm currently unemployed. This economy is kicking my butt since I can't apply for full-time positions while I'm under the gun to finish in a month, and there aren't very many good part-time positions, particularly in the education field.
fersakyn: (Not-Happy)
So... got a phone call from the human resources guy who hired me for my parttime gig teaching at an after-school center. I've been laid off. Wonderful. And he's been laid off too.

I have a bit of migraine right now. I imagine it's mostly stress-induced. I have to work on my dissertation, I have to find a new job, I feel like life's been handing me lemon after lemon, and I'm very sick of lemonade.

I recently completed paperwork to ask for a leave of absence so that I don't have to pay tuition. I used medical/health as my reason with a letter from a therapist I saw briefly. I hope it goes through, 'cuz right now I'm not seeing the point of finishing. I'm not seeing the point of anything. I am very stressed out and depressed.

The chair of my diss committee and even my mother were concerned over using medical/health reasons for my petition for leave. They worry that it could hurt me later down the road somehow. Right now, I can't seem to care. I'm not lying about my mental and physical states. I'm not sleeping well, my sleeping and eating patterns defy being termed "patterns" at all, I even feel queasy after eating sometimes, I'm getting headaches when before I could count the number of headaches I got in a year on one hand, blah, blah, blah. I have a list of ailments, nothing life-threatening, all stress-related.

Life's really not going well, and I have lost hope that it will go well.

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