I haven’t had a paycheck in over twenty years. This was a choice, mostly. I did a little freelance work when my first born was an infant but he was wildly unenthusiastic about napping on a schedule or taking a bottle so I settled in to the domestic engineer career ladder. Stepstool. Milking stool.
|I'd work for this guy|
My youngest is starting high school in the fall and I am acutely aware of my lack of marketable skills. When I opted out of the workforce, the Internet wasn’t a thing yet. I had a carphone that had to be installed, laptops hadn’t been invented, and to apply for a job you mailed out paper resumes and made phone calls.
My last job official job was in an art gallery where among other things, I reviewed artist’s work by looking at sheets of slides that were mailed to the gallery. I mailed press materials to newspaper and magazine editors. I visited artists’ studios to select work or dropped off pieces at collector’s homes for consideration. People wrote checks and we had to wait 10 working days until they cleared. Back then people smoked in galleries too, which seems bizarre now.
In the twenty one years since I retired, the art gallery as a sales venue has been all but replaced with eBay and websites, but shows do still happen. I’ve been to a handful. My money goes to other things, like graph paper, cleats, and iPads, so I’m not a patron of the arts and my gallery opening invitations dried up pretty quick.
So how does one step back in? A lot has been published about this lately, or maybe I’m just noticing it. I have zero marketable skills, at least compared to an unencumbered twentysomething with a relevant degree and practical experience. How does navigating elementary school volunteer & carpool duties translate to a W-2? I am nowhere near hip enough to be a barista or bag groceries at Whole Foods. I’m way too hormonal to be a crossing guard. I might be too hormonal to be around other people, or their dogs.
I’m open to suggestions.
Mary Allison Tierney's essay The Gingerdreadman is included in the anthology Mamas Write, available at Amazon, or your local independent bookshop.