Thursday, January 5, 2012

Freelancing sucks, but is ok sometimes

Pipe Dreams installation in the lobby

As previously mentioned, the job that J had just after moving to Snowy State dried up just in time for the holidays.  He's still technically on staff there, but they have no hours for him since the theater has no shows starting until February.  But this is why we moved back to Snowy State instead of jumping with both feet into some place totally new and distant--a couple of weeks pounding the arts/humanities pavement in Snowy City landed him an awesome short-term contract building exhibits at Large Regional Museum, with just the right timing to let him go back to First Theater if LRMuseum decides not to renew his contract.  I'm hoping they do renew, because staff gets free tickets and it's one of my favorite museums in Snowy State.

I don't think either J or I really realized how tenuous either of our employment situations would be when we started dating.  Our parents are in fairly stable fields--they all experienced the shadow of layoffs, but they all found jobs before leaving college and were able to buy houses within a few years of graduating.  Partly it's a factor of the fields we've entered (J and his sister, me and my brother are all in arts or non-profit fields vs the medical and science fields our parents and grandparents are in), but talking to everyone this Christmas, I think we all thought the model of "land a job senior year of college or last year of grad school, buy a house two years later" was the model that we were going to follow also.  

We've none of us (that is, me, J, and our siblings) had a hard time finding work so far, but it's not the kind of work that's familiar to our parents--we work contract to contract, seasonally, sometimes having to move around the country for work or partners' work.  And I don't think it's going to change, at least for us, for the foreseeable future.  From talking to our parents, their periods of tenuous employment were in their teens and college years, but ours are probably going to go into our thirties or at least late twenties, part of the unfortunate extension of adolescence in this country.

The move to Snowy State and the craziness of dealing with J being a freelancer has been stressful, but at least we're in a large regional center, with family support and lots of job opportunities.  I'm planning on going on the academic market next year, and while I'm not looking forward to it, at least it won't be our first time at the rodeo with the horrible application and interview and disappointment process.

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