Brianna Ain’t Got No Job!

On my way to an interview!
On my way to an interview!

My mom was introducing me to someone at the fair as I approached her. The woman said “is this the one that’s a pharmacist, or?” I said, “housewife,” and extended my hand, offering nothing further than a smile.

I am 26, personable, articulate, poised and jobless. It’s a travesty. I could have told the woman I’m in between jobs, but this is who I am now…

I started my job search on New Year’s Day. I did not receive any calls about the applications I had submitted at the beginning of the year–19 in total– and I barely received any rejection emails. As articulate and thorough as I think I am, my resumes have proven to be pieces of crap. Is it my work experience? Is it my poor ability to sell myself because of growing up in church where all I was supposed to boast in was The Cross (Galations 6:14)? Every time I update my resume, I think the last one was terrible and it’s no wonder I didn’t get a response, so I’m not sure if it at any point has been good enough. I have been to two resume workshops and I still don’t know.

I had actually been angry when Spencer decided to join the Army because I knew my career would have to be secondary. My career is secondary, but so are the pressures of paying my own bills. I actually looked forward to my initial months off so that I could focus on learning to take care of my home, and it was a great experience. I honestly love being a housewife, but at this age, the only reason I should be home is with a child. Some people suggest I go ahead and have a child to justify staying home, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to end up on welfare, you know? So I’ll have to get a job and make some money first.

Things haven’t been completely dry. One day in March I answered a call from a lawncare chain that found my resume online. I visited the business for an interview the next day and silently commiserated with other desperate-looking people as I waited for a man with a lazy eye to summons me into his office.

I breezed through the interview. What was challenging was that there was a toolbox under the chair and between my feet, and I was having an internal debate about which was his good eye. Nonetheless I was offered a second interview. I didn’t know what position I was interviewing for prior to my arrival and the job turned out to be door to door sales from 11-7 pm and 9-3 pm on Saturdays. Me and my college degree felt we could do better; I declined.

That same day I received a similar call from an insurance company. I attended a “briefing” in a room with a big table and leather chairs. The fancy PowerPoint enabled me to see myself being successful there so I decided to pursue the opportunity.

I “participated in the job” for three months. I won’t say I performed it because I

This is an example of how hard I was trying compare to everyone else. Cold Calls
This is an example of how hard I was trying compared to everyone else. Cold Calls

was mostly unsuccessful in all my efforts. I truly believe Divine Intervention had something to do with it. In the whole 3 months, I likely made around $1000, which means I basically recouped all my costs and walked away with my experiences. I learned that being more professional or more intelligent doesn’t necessarily translate to success, which also means a person doesn’t have to be the smartest or most articulate to be successful. I have to pursue jobs that share my values. I also learned what it feels like when it’s time to walk away.

Now for over a month I have been back on the job market/couch. Let me be candid and say I have no faith in being able to find a good, conventional job here I don’t know if I believe very many good opportunities exist for Army wives in this town. It is hard to know how to approach this situation. Should I just take any job that fits our schedule and pays more than $10 an hour, or should I keep trying to find the next rung of my career?

Deep into the job search.
Deep into the job search.

I don’t really want any of the jobs I see, and frankly don’t see myself being in a traditional position anymore. I have come to realize that working from home would work best for me. I want to be flexible to Spencer’s schedule and make sure my work schedule doesn’t interfere with our family. For example, after being gone 17 days, Spencer comes home and says he is off work for 4 days! How sad would it be if I had to pull shifts at Popeye’s each day while he’s home knowing he will very shortly be leaving again for 3 months?

I’m not the only one who feels this way. I saw a friend yesterday and asked if she was looking for a job. She said “this sounds bad– you’ll understand– my husband is off for 19 days in December,” so she’s waiting until after that to find a job. Being with her husband during that time is more valuable than 3 months of salary, (assuming they can still pay their bills).

So the fact that I don’t want to go to work, can’t find interesting jobs, and have no faith in getting an interview if I did want to really kills motivation. How much can I be lacking in the job requirements and still apply? I should just apply haphazardly, you say? Well history teaches me that my tedious application is going into a black hole as soon as I hit submit, so I really don’t want to do that either.

I don’t have a job, I don’t have an income, I don’t have a new designer purse for this year, but I am very content. I have stopped wanting the
bag/shoes/clarisonicbrush.  I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to pursue interests in the meantime; ie: this blog. I will have a job when God wants me to have one. I believe that, and I know I have to do my part and actually look. I’m giving glassdoor.com a rest and perusing sites like powertofly.com and Rat Race Rebellion for opportunities from home. I mean, I’ve also had zero success there but I’m not disenchanted yet. I do have some other ideas for what I can do to supplement my income and network in the meantime. Also, I have signed up to volunteer with Red Cross!

The purse I was eyeing at the PX... Yaass! but ultimately no.
The purse I was eyeing at the PX… Yaass! but ultimately no.

To my fellow unemployed people waking up to the indeed.com app every morning and a vanishing bank account balance, stay strong and be creative. Joblessness seems endless, but even if the odds are completely against us, we should find a job eventually.

May the odds be ever in your favor…

No New Friends


Making friends as an adult is hard. I moved to St. Louis right after college and spent the rest of the year with basically no friends other than my roommate and a few friends from college, and a guy with uneven cornrows from across the street, if I’m being generous. Adults have several things going on and usually aren’t all like “Hey, do you want to be best friends?”

One of my good friends, Allison, moved to Chicago this year and has been suffering from friendlessness alongside me. One day a girl in Panera gave Allison a cookie she had acquired for free, and at the end of the visit, Allison extended friendship, which cookie girl accepted! They met for drinks for a solid two hours the following week.
I was encouraged by her success and the next week I gave a girl with a baby attached to her my number in the Commissary. She had struck up a conversation about corn oil, and complimented my Cardinals shirt so I thought she was nice. Since I spent most of my life living in a small town– Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which is where Gone Girl was filmed– I don’t know how to spontaneously have fun so we have not hung out yet. I would invite her to have dinner and drinks, but I was unwilling to sacrifice hanging out with my own husband at the time. (Judge me! I AM a newlywed and my husband will be away soon.)

I actually found out I had a cousin here right before I moved!
I actually found out I had a cousin here right before I moved!

A couple weeks ago, I told my husband that I don’t see myself ever having a bunch of friends at this duty station. Fortunately my adolescence of inept social skills has prepared me for this very isolation. I don’t exactly feel lonely–just bored. I have made friends with about 5 women since I have been here. Unfortunately, three of the women live about 40 minutes away. Since I don’t have a job, I’m not able to build functional relationships that can also serve as friendships through work. Basically, I’m just here. Fortunately my husband is a pretty good best friend, but he can only actively listen for somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes.

Reasons Its Hard

Age

As much as I have found watching my neighbors walk in and out of their houses titillating, I haven’t been able to make friends with any of the ladies. The ones I have met are too young for me. It’s not that I can’t have young friends, but apart from the fact that we likely have different approaches to life, I don’t think they can relate to the desperation for companionship someone my age may feel. They usually don’t make it easy to create a friendship, from my experience.

Hyper Focus

Is it possible that military families are more focused on the survival of their family units than other populations? Is it possible that this results in decreased sight of those around us? Or is this just what it’s like to be married?

Spouse’s Peers

My husband joined the Army at age 26, which is older than most people who join. This means his immediate coworkers are younger, single men, or, younger men with children. This means his battle buddies haven’t provided a good friend pool for us as a couple. In addition, I have only met a few couples our age married without children. That isn’t saying much because I haven’t met many people. It might be in my head, but having children seems to affect what kind of relationships one cultivates.

Joblessness

I’m being dramatic by saying “joblessness,” but not having a job severely decreases the amount of relationships in my life. It’s not even that you become best friends with all your coworkers, but they are at least humans you can talk to on a regular basis! Once while Spencer was gone, I really thought I was going to spend a whole 24 hours without speaking to anyone, but was redeemed by someone who came to check for mold. At work, I made a couple of significant relationships, but didn’t find anyone I wanted to hang out with. Nonetheless, being present at a place other than my house on a regular basis at least offered the opportunity of going through the functions of a friendship. I have only spoken to one of my coworkers since I quit.
A unique experience as a military wife is having my husband gone for weeks on end while I’m home getting sucked into the dark side of YouTube watching pimple-popping videos. (Shout out to Dr. Sandra Lee!) This is when being

Food can be a best friend.
Food can be my friend…

unemployed and friendless is the hardest. Living over 11 hours away from all my friends and family means I am utterly alone. I can’t exactly complain because I am far from the only one. I am an outgoing person so I really feel for other women who find themselves in my situation without the social skills I have. Some women even move back home to their parents when their husbands deploy and I can’t blame them.

I almost forgot about the blind friend-date I went on last month. A Facebook friend suggested I add her friend who was moving to my base. Six months later the friend suggested we go see ‘Dark Places’ together per a Facebook post. First of all, don’t let this terrible movie deter you from Gillian Flynn’s books, including Dark Places and Gone Girl. Second, this girl, whom I have never met, invited me to her house, 40 minutes away to watch this movie. It was onDemand because it was too terrible for theaters. I went. That’s how desperate we are. Fortunately, she was super cool.

I think everyone who has moved to a new town as an adult can relate to it being hard to make friends. I actually don’t know if all other military wives have a hard time making friends. They probably get better at it with experience moving around. It’s also probably safe to assume it is easier to have something in common with people if you have kids or A JOB. I just feel like I’m in this weird place in our Army life because of being both jobless and childless at 26. I am working on the job piece, but meanwhile, I’m cool with my husband being my best friend.

A moment of ridiculousness on our cruise
A moment of ridiculousness on our cruise

8 Reasons This Bride Gained Weight

memecenter.com
memecenter.com

At this point, my wedding dress is 20 lbs in the past. No, I didn’t lose weight for the wedding because I planned the wedding in 3 weeks. Things have just changed and I don’t know that I could have anticipated how those changes would affect me!

I think we have all been critical of someone who “got fat” after marriage, but it’s not as simple as letting oneself go because they don’t have to try anymore– there’s so much more to it, and I get it. I’m that person right now, but the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Here is my admittance.

  1. I learned how to cook.
    Before marriage, I could basically just make roast chicken and other remedial

    shepherds pie
    Mmm, Shepherd’s Pie

    dishes. I ate a lot of rotisserie chicken and steamed vegetables because it was quick and cheap. I now make real, full, “delicious” meals. Since I don’t have a job, feeding my husband is something I take pride in. I think my soldier husband deserves better than a bland chicken breast and broccoli. I have not improved with the chicken breast, sad to say.

  1. Lunch Dates
    I rarely ate out for lunch when I was working because paying for lunch for no good reason is a waste to me. When I was single, I basically grabbed whatever

    It seems like we will order any fries with cheese on them.
    It seems like we will order any fries with cheese on them.

    steamed vegetables I had in the fridge and threw in some rotisserie chicken and ran off to work. I definitely wasn’t having lasagna and garlic bread, which is what I fed Spencer (and myself) today… He comes home for lunch every day and usually has something good to eat from said improved cooking, and we usually eat together.
    In addition, when we go out to eat, it’s a date. (I would not admit that to my husband.) This means I’m not ordering salad since it’s a meaningful occasion.

  2. Peer Pressure
    My husband was previously a personal trainer, so he’s a person with self-control. My self-control used to be just not bringing things into my house. Living with another person means living with another person’s food preferences, and carbohydrates.

    Duck Donuts
    Duck Donuts

    There’s also the fact that I used to be the only influence in what I ate, but now if my husband wants to stop by Krispy Kreme on the way to church, you know I’m having at least one, even if I wasn’t even thinking about donuts before we got to the store.

  1. Unconditional Love and Acceptance
    This one’s a B. Because my husband is actually a good person, he isn’t critical of my appearance. As a result, having everything tight is less of a priority to me. Even though I’ve gained 20 lbs, he thinks I look great. I actually asked him to shame me for my food choices; no luck there.
  1. Lack of Social Parameters
    I was the only Exercise Specialist at my last job, which meant people were always talking to me about fitness and commenting on what I ate at gatherings. It also meant, that I generally tried to eat better than them out of principle. As a rule I declined to eat carbs in public, but now there is no public for me. Just me having breakfast, lunch, and dinner in front of the T.V. at my own house.
  1. Decrease in Work-Related Physical Activity
    I used to teach bootcamp Monday mornings at 6 am, Zumba on Wednesdays, and  two personal training clients, which involved some physical activity with the demonstrations.

    My last Zumba class
    My last Zumba class

    At this point, some days I don’t even leave the house. I would estimate our half of this duplex is a little more than 100 square feet, so I probably used to get more steps in walking from my car to my office and back than I do in the course of a day at home. Basically, on physical activity alone, I’m miles behind where I was back in St. Louis.

  1. Snacks
    Since I didn’t (and don’t like grocery shopping), I never used to have a lot of snacks in my house. If I wanted something fattening, I had to go to the store for that specific treat. Since I’m obsessed with making my husband happy, I try to keep the pantry stocked with things he would like, and then while I’m at it, things I would like…
  2. Bae = Before All Exercise
    There has been not a time or two that I traded in my workout for time sitting and watching Shark Tank with my husband. It doesn’t happen as much since I am unemployed at the moment, but our quality time influences me at the gym. It took a full 6 weeks before I could get to Crossfit on Saturdays at 10 because I was reluctant to give up hanging out in bed.

     How could I leave???
    How could I leave???

    There were also times when I was      working that I had to skip the gym in order to take care of dinner. I didn’t have a job long enough to really choreograph my husband making good meals so that I didn’t have to worry about this. He helped out sometimes, but I don’t know if I would call it “cooking.”

I want to note that in Spring of 2013 I made a post on my old blog about struggling to lose weight. Several people suggested I had an eating disorder. I didn’t then and I do not now. Sometimes, we just want to eat an original glazed AND an apple fritter more than we want to wear a crop top. I accept that this will not be the last time I gain or lose weight. One thing I believe I have done right is not get this “problem” out of perspective. I weigh more and I’m slower at the gym, but I have not been happier in my adult life. I am losing weight now because I need to have a healthy lifestyle, but being “fat and happy,” or “fappy” as Channing Tatum calls it, was good for my health, too.
In May, in a fit of delirium, I joined a Crossfit Gym. I go there 5 days a week, and I have also broken down and started counting calories with Myfitnesspal. Tracking my diet is what has enabled me to see that I’ve been eating like a clown. I would recommend the practice to anyone else wondering why they weigh more than they ever have each time they step on a scale.

Dependent + (becoming) the Size of a Hippo= Dependoppotamus

The dreaded Dependopotamus, or– more dangerous– the Dependosaurus, has been known to exist in military households around the country. This is the name given for a woman who has succumbed to consuming BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and food at such a rate that she has lost her feminine shape and appeal; presumably, she -or he- doesn’t do much around the house. After my 20-pound weight gain in this short 10 months, I have some empathy toward these women. I can’t imagine what having kids would have done to my calorie count. But while I can relate to these women, the Dependasaurus is my personal  Indominus Rex. The only animal I want to be likened to is a fox.

How did your weight change after your wedding??? Or after you started a completely different job? I know I’m not the only one in this!

Life on Base/The Real Life Dharma Initiative

I live in a Fort. I had imagined it as two sheets strung up between a couch and a chair with a fan blowing the walls out, but it is actually a permanent fixture. I live on an Army base. It’s really referred to as “post,” as “base” refers to Air Force installations, but we are all too ignorant to know that.
To gain access to the base, one must present their military ID and pray they look natural enough to avoid a “random” car search. Actually, I think they are random.
My initial impression of the base was that it was drab. Basically all browns, cream, and green. The street signs are brown. My house is brick with brown shutters.

If you watched LOST, you will have an idea of what I mean by saying living on base initially felt like being apart of the Dharma Initiative. It’s a self-sustaining entity with erie uniformity, complemented by hundreds of soldiers in uniform. I could pretty much do everything I needed to do without leaving the base; church, buy a Coach bag, bowl a frame. The other Dharma-y thing is the music that plays at random times of the day over the loud speakers. I don’t think the DI had loud speakers, but I bet The Others were all getting messages by something similar. And then going through the gate and having soldiers hand back my ID and say some colloquial phrase to which there was no natural response; “Airborne!” Lastly and most annoyingly, there was the full month of bombs or dinosaurs collapsing in the distance so that our windows shook. “The Island” didn’t have wars, but imagine frequent plane crashes and hatch explosions.
After seven months, I don’t notice those things anymore. This base feels more like a community or town. I like the fact that being familiar with this place is esoteric to military families. I also like the fact that I’ll know what to expect when we head to our next duty station, because the bases basically have the same things, except at smaller bases, people get out of their cars and stand at attention when the music, Reveille, plays over the speakers!

Although living on base seems to be the equivalent coolness of living in the dorms after sophomore year, we appreciate the convenience of it along with the fact that we don’t have to mow our own grass. I see my husband more than most wives see theirs because he can come home for all his breaks during the day. We are both high and low maintenance enough that having our yard taken care of and not separately paying rent, water, and gas and electric, is worth living in an old duplex that is almost identical to every other house within a 1-mile radius.
Even though there will always be crime, I feel pretty safe living on base, which is part of why my husband chose for us to live here. He was concerned about me being in an unsecured neighborhood when he’s gone, but I just moved from St. Louis, Missouri… I don’t care for having to show my id all the time, or that fact that none of my civilian friends can just drive up to my house, but I admit that makes me feel safe as well.
For the readers who aren’t familiar with military installations, what did you expect living on base to be like? For my fellow “basic” civilians, what was your first impression of living on base?