Well--I've been on the job hunt (again) for a month or so now. It's not that I don't like my job. I do. I really, really do. I have a job where I really get to help people and get paid pretty well to do it.
The problem, you ask? Well--there's the working out of my living room instead of getting an office. This makes it VERY difficult for me to step away from work at the end of the day. There is always something that needs to be done and there is no leaving it at the office.
Then, there's the 700-800 miles per week that I drive (I DO get reimbursed after 400 miles). I am well aware that some of my coworkers drive considerably more and this used to be a non-issue for myself. I used to love to drive to all over the place, but now with gas over 3.00 a gallon, I just can't do it anymore. Not to mention the wear and tear on my car. I still owe 15,000 on my car and it's not worth half of what I owe because of all the mil age.
Finally, there's the scheduling issues. I'm ready to move into something that is a little more 9-to-5 than what I'm doing now. Some days I may only work 5 hours--others it might be 15 hours. Some of this is done by my own hand and some of it is just the nature of this sort of work.
Because of the inconsistency in my schedule, it's difficult for me to fit in the other things in my life that are important. I'd like to learn to cook. Right now, I have a difficult time finding the energy/time to microwave something. I'd like to be able to spend more time in the gym or outside hiking and such. Right now I'm having a tough time devoting a 1/2 hour a day to some type of activity. . . . I'd like to have time to read for recreation again or have some sort of hobby. Volunteering. Ugh. I'm doing it right now, but I'm not doing it well. Right now, I feel like I don't have the time for these things--all of which are VERY important to me.
I've reached a point where I have to decide (as selfish as this seems) what is more important--enriching the lives of the clients that I work with or my own health and sanity. I'm dedicated to what I do. I love this type of work and I truly enjoy helping the children and families that I work with. I have, however, become dedicated to a point that it's a fault. I'm putting my clients before myself and often my loved ones. I'm having a difficult time separating work time from home time.
I'd like to say that I can stop work at 7pm when I get home at night, but I can't. There's reports to write, programming to develop and research to do. Families have problems that need assistance and they can't wait because I'd like to get in my gym time. I'd like to say that I could keep doing this job and find a way to fit in all the other important things in my life. To find a way to separate myself from my career. After all, no matter how much I love it or how driven I am to do it, that's what it is: a career. It should not define me, but yet, I let it.
So, for my health and sanity, I feel that I really do need to step away. I know that I will always have my foot in the autism door. I feel like I'll always be drawn to this type of work. What I need to do is find a way for me to have this sort of job where I can go to work and work and then come home and be home. That doesn't mean that I won't do occasional weekends or nights or extras at home. What I want is for those extras to be just that, extras. Right now those things are the norm. This is not my employer's fault. It is my own and it's something that I am going to change.
So--what are my options? Well--one would think that someone with an Elementary Education degree with an early childhood minor and a Master's Degree in Education and Curriculum and Instruction would be able to find something pretty quickly. Not so! I've submitted my resume and transcripts (this a 3.96 GPA mind you!) to 15 to 20 posted job openings and I've gotten 3 interviews. I guess that's really not too bad though. When I used to sell Party Lite Candles, I was told that for every 10 people you ask to host a party only 1 will say, "yes." The other nine will be a "no" or a "maybe." That's pretty much the approach I take for everything now. So--If I submitted 20 resumes, the fact that I got three interviews out of this is pretty good! ;-) Not quick, but positive, at least!