I’ve been scarce again lately. Hitting that once-a-month-at-least average hasn’t happened again for the second time in 3-4 months. Most of this is due to me being focused elsewhere. As I stated in my last post, my employment situation has changed. Last April I took a test for a city job. Some 14 months later, they got back to me with an interview. Long waits like that for city or federal jobs are not rare. I made it past all three interviews and submitted more paperwork, and signed more forms, than I thought possible. By the end if they asked for a notarized photograph of me in a giraffe costume juggling cats in front of Macy’s, I would not have been shocked.
In theory I am overqualified for the position. The requirements were either a Bachelors or 1-2 years of experience in a similar gig. I have the degree and over 6 years of such experience. I am midway thru a 4 week training course. After that is a 4 week “nesting” period where most goofs I make will be expected and forgiven. Beyond that, I have to make it another 44 weeks to make it past probation. It’s a salaried, union position – a rare thing in America these days, even New York. In fact I just attended my first union meeting today. I was bombarded with a ton of information and yet more paperwork. I’m being lectured on stuff regarding retirement and I’m barely a fortnight in. It adds even more pressure.
In a lot of ways, I consider myself a screw up. I haven’t always made the best of whatever opportunities I was given. This blog has extensively covered my foul ups in regards to dating. I often tell myself I “never had a chance” or “no woman ever liked me,” but deep down I know that’s not true. It’s just easier to feel that way. The reality is my opportunities were far and few between (perhaps more so than others), and I botched them all for various reasons. But I also feel I botched other areas as well. I didn’t always capitalize on educational or economic opportunities. When I was unemployed, I was distracted by depression and tending to an ailing grandmother (alongside my chronically ill mother) and didn’t use all that time wisely. Suddenly I’m in my 30’s and behind most of my pals in the progress of life. Now I’ve been given an opportunity, and every sign I get is this is my last chance. A job like this does not come easily. I do well and I can have a pension, and plenty of promotional opportunities. Flop out, and it’s back to jobs for misfits. It feels like so many areas of my life — where I feel I have no margin for error. It’s either 100% or nothing. It adds some stress and anxiety, even as training gives me more confidence.
At the union meeting, the various reps went over all of the various options and services they provide. The one which inspired this post was free counseling services. The job itself is stressful to workers, but they mentioned personal stresses too. I haven’t been to therapy since I was about 18, and I was nowhere near ready. The last time I had access to counseling for free was college, and years later I regretted bypassing it. But as they mentioned it, I wondered how willing I am now to go thru with it. How willing I am to tell a professional a hint of the innermost anxieties and issues I have been willing to vent about anonymously in this blog. To tell a real live person, even on a confidential basis, of how ashamed I am of being a virgin. Of how it may or may not effect my confidence. Of how I have spent years of my life burying or learning to accept whatever pain that comes from that. I’m better now than I was last year, or 5 years ago in this regard. Or to discuss some of my apathetic or at times nihilistic moods. How willing would I be to address such issues to a male counselor versus one who was a woman, or vice versa?
Much like the economic opportunity, it too feels like a last chance. I’ve got some time before I hit the big 4-0 but it is closer now than when I started this blog. I’m already at an age where the public perception of men who are still this romantically inexperienced are religiously motivated, circus freaks, or serial killers. I’ll never get a do-over of my youth, and to a degree I have accepted that. Yet my time to make a serious go at it and have any sort of success, heaven forbid with more than one lover, is also coming to an end. So, hey, no pressure or anything.
Yes, there are some women who are my type in the training class. But mixing romance and work is often an unwise combination. I don’t even consider such a thing an option. It’s been both a boon and a bane that one of the trainers is a woman who is into the same geeky comic stuff as I am (and is married). Great conversations between lessons or tests, though. Four years ago I’d have angsted more about that. It still reminds me occasionally of something I have yet to experience.
So, I am not ditching the blog. For all I know I may need it more than ever soon. But giving an update and where I am now. Life is moving a little more positively for me than it did 1-2 years ago, and that sometimes makes me anxious for a shoe to drop. And I get a lot of pressure in the make-or-break department. Hopefully this time I don’t screw it all up.