The Grass is Always Greener…or is it?

I’ve been trying to find some paid work. For most of last year and this year I have been preparing for a piano exam–my Amus, or Associate Diploma in Music (Piano). I was supposed to sit it 28 years ago, but finished school first and stopped playing altogether for a long time. I decided to do my Amus mostly because it was unfinished business, but my teacher said ‘they’ were crying out for piano teachers in schools and there was also a shortage of accompanists. This gave me a more concrete reason to put myself through this exam, which only has a 20% pass rate and costs $258 just to sit.

Well I passed, but the work that was supposed to come with it hasn’t yet materialised. I’ve contacted a few schools and sent my resume out, but so far I haven’t heard anything. I’ve also applied for a job as a laboratory assistant, hoping my previous experience as a nurse would help. No word yet. Next month I’m doing a short course in venepuncture in the hope of getting a job with one of the pathology companies taking blood. This course costs $530. I have a bad feeling I’ll end up spending money and never earning any.

The irony is that every night my husband comes home from his job, one that sees him gone from the house for twelve hours a day Monday to Friday and which he mostly hates. He is not a corporate animal. He likes to roam the countryside. His dream is to just set off one day and keep walking with no particular destination in mind. He comes in each night, kisses me and asks me how I am. “Still unemployed,” I reply. “Let’s swap,” he says wistfully. How stupid that we both want what we don’t have.

I don’t feel any real need to ‘get out if the house’. I’m very content here, tending my garden and my chooks. I’m aiming to grow as much of our fresh produce as I can and at the same time reduce our consumption as far as possible with three teenage boys. I’m a bit Amish in that way. But for some reason if it doesn’t earn money it is not valued. And I’m sure there are thousands of people at work right now looking out the window at the sunshine and wishing they were anywhere else. I know I used to when I was locked in the climate controlled atmosphere of a modern hospital. When people ask me if I work and I say “no” they sometimes give me an odd look and I know some of them go away thinking “What does she do all day?” Others hear I have three boys and say, “Goodness, that must keep you busy”, and exclaim over what an achievement it was to pass my Amus when I have a family to look after.

It’s actually somewhere in the middle. Yes, raising a family is a lot of work, but nowadays if you’re not doing a paid job as well people are surprised. And yet if your job was as a paid housekeeper for a family, no one would expect you to take a second job, or wonder what you do all day.

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