For some time I've had a draft up about the difficulties I've experienced in trying to get my life sorted out. I was frustrated, angry, and disappointed that the hard work I'd been putting into looking for work hadn't transformed magically into the career I'd wanted and dreamed about. I've been moving from city to city, contract to contract, since I first finished by bachelors of education back in 2010, and I was tired of running around.
It's difficult to find work as a teacher, but I don't want to dwell on my own plight. The market for work these days is terrible in general, and worse for young people. As much as we'd like to think that problems like unemployment and underemployment are serious difficulties for young people who went to university, that's a fabrication meant to fix our attention on a segment of the population lucky enough to attend post-secondary education. The reality is that virtually everyone is suffering.
Unemployment is dangerous because it affects the entire economy. Poor work figures lead to depressed wages and to more competition for lower quality work. Fewer people have access to union work, to benefits, or to job security in general. Unemployment takes a toll on physical and mental health and reinforces existing systems of inequality where those at the top stay at the top and those who are not are pushed further behind. This is clearly one of the largest social, economic, and political quandaries of our times.
I've had difficulty writing about this topic because it's so close to me. There's a fine line between making a case about something and complaining about. I know most people are worse off that I am; they have fewer prospects or greater debt. I'm privileged. I've delayed this post dozens of times for those very reasons. But here I am posting about it now.
I have good news: I've found work in Southwestern Ontario. In my field. Close to home.
I'm excited that I no longer have to feel the push and pull of starting my career and having a fulfilling personal life. It's exhausting. I was recently teaching in Montréal on a contract for math and science. It was interesting work and the experience of a lifetime. I'm richer for it in may ways. Before that I was working in Shawinigan and Québec. I've moved five times in less than two years. I'm ready to settle down at least somewhat.
I had been reflecting for some time on my life and the power I have over it. I'm ultimately not sure if I believe that I can exercise much control or if I'm ultimately at the mercy of the universe. I'd like to neatly claim that it's both, but really who knows. In a particular moment of clarity, the adolescent version of myself wrote:
Blue sky roll
Over my head
And clear me of my wandering state
At my crossroads I will wait
These lines are taken from the first record I ever worked on — Supermarine's Horizons in 2005. I'm proud of that stanza. During the past few months those words have comforted me as I've tried to remember that there's only so much I can do. Thanks for reading.