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I have had the worst employment luck in the world the last five years. Today was the third time I received a call from a colleague who had gotten a job that I'm 5x more qualified for and asked me HOW to do the job that they got. (Teach a college/AP high school course)

Currently I had the perfect connection to two positions, talked to the Director for one and he said that "if I knew so-and-so, they will at least get me in for an interview." That was 2 weeks ago. I just sent a follow-up email, but am so discouraged. This seems to be my fate. I have fibromyalgia so am not sure what I can do; my symptoms come and go. This makes it hard to be aggressive in my pursuit. Half of me is uncertain about vying for a secondary school teaching job since my last one was impossible to sustain with health problems.

I never struggled this hard to find work until I got an MFA. For the last ten years, it's been brutal, and I've applied to anything and everything under the moon.

At this point I don't think that I have anything to offer the paid market. I think I'm just too weird.

Anyone else dealing with this? Have you found a way out?? Thanks so much in advance for any words! Thanks for reading!
 

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I deal with depression and anxiety that comes and goes, and when it comes, it can be debilitating.

Things that helped: I found a job that suited me better. I work one-on-one with people who are disabled, so I feel that much more obligated to get my butt out the door because they may have no one else they can rely on. Sometimes that little push is all that's needed to keep me going. Even if I don't do my best work on those days, I still show up and, for the most part, that's enough.

In the job search: Search everywhere. And I mean everywhere--internet searches, newspapers, keep an eye for Now Hiring! signs as you drive down the street. Knock on the doors of companies that interest you and ask if they would be interested in more help. In particular, try craigslist--I've often have good luck with them. Apply for anything even remotely within your interests: even if it's one-time gig for $20, or you get the job and you find out it sucks, it's better than having no income at all while you keep searching. Each place you work in also builds your contacts by a little.

Or, start your own business. That means you, for the most part, get to choose the hours and can take time off whenever the symptoms get too problematic. Expect that you'll get few customers in the beginning, but don't let that discourage you.

Look up ways to earn supplemental income on the webs. I've seen some great ideas like buying from your local thrift store and reselling on ebay, for instance. Etsy is great website if you'd like to try making some money by selling your arts and crafts.

If you're really stumped, you would probably qualify as a disabled-ish individual, and would be eligible to get governmental help in finding a job. Or supplemental income, if you'd rather go that way.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Alzar. I have thought about starting my own tutoring service and plan to at least put up a website. I was on disability for over ten years and then I went off when I taught high school. It was always my goal to be financially autonomous.
 

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With an MFA I'd be applying for an adjunct professor in colleges for creative writing. Otherwise, I'd leave it off the resume. MFA degrees can come off as useless, and their degree holders a bit flighty.

Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh. I also have a useless English degree.
 

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I have had the worst employment luck in the world the last five years. Today was the third time I received a call from a colleague who had gotten a job that I'm 5x more qualified for and asked me HOW to do the job that they got. (Teach a college/AP high school course)

Currently I had the perfect connection to two positions, talked to the Director for one and he said that "if I knew so-and-so, they will at least get me in for an interview." That was 2 weeks ago. I just sent a follow-up email, but am so discouraged. This seems to be my fate. I have fibromyalgia so am not sure what I can do; my symptoms come and go. This makes it hard to be aggressive in my pursuit. Half of me is uncertain about vying for a secondary school teaching job since my last one was impossible to sustain with health problems.

I never struggled this hard to find work until I got an MFA. For the last ten years, it's been brutal, and I've applied to anything and everything under the moon.

At this point I don't think that I have anything to offer the paid market. I think I'm just too weird.

Anyone else dealing with this? Have you found a way out?? Thanks so much in advance for any words! Thanks for reading!
In my experience your qualifications don't really matter, near everyone one who applies is qualified. It's about demonstrating your knowledge of the organization and the individual(s) responsible for hiring you. It's about establishing personal connections with the hiring manager(s) before, after, and during the application process. It's about staying on their mind, I always work to have a bit of small talk in the interview, and then ask for their email afterwards. Periodically sending them a link to an article or short video that matches their hobbies or interest. My whole thing is focusing on the people
 

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Being "overqualified" is a reason some places won't hire people. Especially in professions like teaching where a union is involved and pay grades are sometimes based on level of education as well as experience. You may just not be in the budget in that particular place.

I'm not sure what your degrees are in, but MFAs aren't exactly in demand very much or often.
 

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You have to be well-published to teach creative writing, and "in the know" with the right person, but you can teach freshman comp, which is what most MFA's do. That's what I've done now, at two schools, for the last two years. No one wants to do it forever, due to the fast-food level pay. I can't really leave the degree off, since the things I've done require a master's, but I've heard of people doing that with other degrees.

I knew the MFA would not qualify me for anything stable or lucrative. But I thought I could at least do what I was doing BEFORE the MFA. I never thought it would render me totally "overqualified."
 

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You have to be well-published to teach creative writing, and "in the know" with the right person, but you can teach freshman comp, which is what most MFA's do. That's what I've done now, at two schools, for the last two years. No one wants to do it forever, due to the fast-food level pay. I can't really leave the degree off, since the things I've done require a master's, but I've heard of people doing that with other degrees.

I knew the MFA would not qualify me for anything stable or lucrative. But I thought I could at least do what I was doing BEFORE the MFA. I never thought it would render me totally "overqualified."
If you want to be "financially autonomous" you might be in the wrong line of work. Unless you have a very good novel up your sleeve you may not get there from your current position. What other skills do you have? What are you willing to do? Is there something you can do whilst writing your magnum opus to pay the bills?
 

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Hi Xena.

Remember: Going back to college and training in another field is also an option.

Job availability in academia is simply bleak. Your predicament could very well have nothing to do with you.
 
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If you could spearhead a creative writing curriculum for High School students, you would have millions of NF's to help you, including me :).

Seriously though, I get the feeling, even at my age. Just don't try to copy other people, and find a way to advance into your career that you can incorporate into the interests you already have. If all else fails, you could write a book on how you are feeling about this very thing right now-- you'd be surprised at how willing people would be to support you, especially when there are millions who are in the exact same predicament.
 
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