June 25, 2007
Creativity is Dead
I have spent a large portion of this morning attempting to figure out "what comes next" for me. Here's the dilemma in a nut shell:

I have a job for next year teaching at the same local Boston college that I taught at last year. There is a slight pay increase, but not much. My status as "adjunct" requires that I obtain a second and third job in order to pay my bills and rent, thus not relying on the beneficence of the Greater Bank of Grandpa and Grandma for a loan to pay one or the other.

HOWEVER... I hate the northeast and I specifically hate Boston. Therefore, I am currently searching for a Job Elsewhere.

I've applied to two separate jobs in my hometown with the idea in mind that I can live at home with the moms (in upstate NY), save some money, and then relocate in a year. I'd also like to start a retirement fund and saving for a house.

I'm also applying to jobs in Georgia (specifically Savannah, which I have been in love with since reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). Here's where it gets tricky. I'm applying to some college comp positions but am also debating the merits of getting provisional certification to teach high school English. The college comp jobs are by and large adjunct positions which, despite the lower cost of living in Savannah, will require a second job (see above conundrum).

Furthermore, I want to get (more) serious about my writing which means that if I have more than one job (as I do now) I won't have time to write because no matter how much I tell myself to get up early or stay up late, I just can't do it. I'm too wiped out.

So the problem lies in this: I am in my upper 20s. I'd even say late 20s. I am officially much MUCH closers to 30 than I am 20. I don't own a house or any sort of residential property. I am sick of renting. I don't have a retirement fund. I want to retire with a sense of security and at an early enough age that I can still do things without having to worry about broken hips and incontinence. I feel as though I've reached a point in my life where it is literally sh*t or get off the pot. Now or never. Do or die. I want to keep on teaching--I LOVE teaching. And I love the freedom of being able to design your own class that is encouraged at the collegiate level. But how long can I stumble around as an adjunct getting paid pennies on the dollar to teach two or three classes at time, hoping that I'll go full time so I can get benefits and a pension plan, meanwhile slinging drinks or books or whatever at a second job just to make ends meet while simultaneously wishing and hoping that an article here or there gets published and ultimately a book so that the administration will take me seriously enough to hire me as a full time creative writing professor? When is enough, enough? When do I give up hope?

Or do I just pursue a different tract? Do I get certification to teach high school, thus giving up (to a degree) the creativity associated with building one's own class for a secure paycheck?

Truth be told, this has weighed on my mind for a long long time now. Someone close to me told me "You'd be perfect, and much more marketable as a partner, if you just made more money." Which brings up a whole other set of worries--am I not a good choice of partner because of lack of earning potential in light of my advancing age (which, granted, I don't think that late 20s is old. In fact, I think I'm just getting started!)? I like to think that I'm bohemian and free spirited, the kind of person who just rolls with the punches and hopes that she lands on her feet. I thought this made me (to a degree) a spontaneous and fun person, one of those people who flirt with danger or something. Someone with varied interests who doesn't want to be boxed into a desk job pushing paper and crunching numbers all day. But what if that's not the case and I'm merely a flighty in terms of job security (and thus a bad partner) am I doomed to spend my days by myself? And is this even important? What says that a woman has to have a partner to be secure? Why can't a person be spontaneous, creative, and set financially? And why does part of being a secure woman include having a "secure" partner? And at what point did we, as a culture, stop revering the creative people, the mothers and fathers of literature and art and free thought? What happened to the time when the voices of a generation were recorded on paper, or in song, or even on film and that these voices made a difference and that difference was worth more than making some top millionaires list? At what point did we collectively decide that we must squash all creativity under the thumb of the all mighty American dollar? At what point did we stop celebrating these creative people and their role as our social consciousness?

posted by Tina at 12:00 PM
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