Dec 14, 2012

A Continentalist in Paris: Gray Days

Even the city of lights can seem gloomy at times.

View of out my window today

I submitted my first assignment for my Open University course yesterday, and, after three days of little sleep and much writing (pressure is my main motivator), I feel vaguely deflated. So now that my mind isn't swimming in systems analysis paradigms, it's thinking about the bigger picture again. Mostly, what I'll do after the summer.

A bit of background: for a variety of reasons, my career never really took off the way I was hoping it would. My first degree is in American Studies and Comparative Literature. I did well enough that one of my professors offered me a position at her new university, but - hubris - I thought I'd have more opportunities in the UK (this was before the recession). Also, analyzing literature had lost its appeal for me for reasons that are worth a whole other article. So though some UK universities accepted me for their PhD programs I opted to get a second masters (in the social sciences) instead. Again, I didn't feel like I had gotten that much out of the course - though I was happy with my grade and liked researching and writing my actual thesis, I really don't think academia is for me - at least not in the humanities / social sceiences. And though part of me wonders where I'd be if I'd taken that job or enrolled in a PhD program in the UK, I never would have met H, and thus never have had T. And I guess I'll be working since I'm 70 or so anyway...

Artsy shot of T crying used by sister 1 for her school art project

I then worked in quasi-academic publishing for two years, which wasn't a good fit, had said baby, and spent the past 2.5 years in sports marketing (I'd done some previous work in the sector so it wasn't a complete change of field). Now the good thing about sports marketing is that people actually care about the product - and working on London 2012 was amazing. The bad part is that they weren't able to extend my contract much past the Olympics. Then H got a job in London and since we had to give up T's nursery and childminder anyway (they were near H's office in the countryside), I whisked the toddler away to join my family in Paris. Since my parents are moving away in the summer and we've enrolled T in an awesome school (in the UK) for fall 2013, this gives me a bit over half a year to get my act together and find a new job.

To help in this endeavor, I enrolled in an Open University course. It can count towards an MSc either in "Technology Management" (cheaper) or in "Computing for Commerce and Industry" or even just plain Engineering - all miles away from my current degrees and hopefully more prospective. But I do I wonder if either course is technical enough to guarantee employment...and it's a long process since I'll need at least five more courses (about £1K each) before the degree is in my hand. Plus, the sheer amount of work is a major factor - I'm coping at the moment because there isn't much for me to do besides random household stuff, but the thought of doing a course like this while working and co-managing a me-H-T household is vaguely disconcerting. Plus, there's the whole "when can I start applying" business - I can't go back to work until fall 2013 (summer 2013 if I park T with relatives abroad during summer break) because otherwise we'd have to hire a nanny for just a few months, and that's a huge project (finding a great nanny, setting her up as an employee with taxes and insurance and all that) which also means a lot of change for T.

Anyhow. As said, today's weather matches my mood - and both will eventually improve. For the moment, I will go on working on my course and begin applying for jobs in the spring. But also, I want to enjoy Paris and get serious about finding French lessons - because one of my goals is to be fully fluent again before I leave.

No comments:

Post a Comment