Unemployment… To be, or not to be “unemployed”

The past few of months have been somewhat frustrating.

I “separated from employment” in early September from a large corporation. Not a bad thing… As I keep reflecting upon what is important, spending my life at work is not what I would consider important. Especially considering the conditions I was working in. Rumor has it, it hasn’t gotten any better. Big surprise… NOT!

Yes, we have bills to pay. We do need to bring in enough income to cover the bare necessities, but over the years I have learned that I don’t need as much income to cover what is truly important.

I have been working with unemployment (ESD), doing what I need to do, looking for work in my career field and filling out all of the required paperwork. Being “unemployed” is hard work. It has been frustrating and defeating at times.

Occasionally I have picked up random contracts and for a short while I worked a PT job. I have reported all of my income and apparently when I became injured in October and quit my PT job (not in my career area) I have somehow disqualified myself from receiving unemployment benefits… Even though I cleared the work with the powers that be at ESD. Oh well, my request for reconsideration is in and we’ll see what happens next.

In the mean time, I’m figuring out how to pay my bills. Considering whether it would be prudent to accept “any position” in order to make ends meet or go full out into self employment and really get our plan into place for moving back to Alaska. Either way, that will also disqualify me for unemployment benefits… Darned if I do and broke if I don’t.

That is what I mean about the choice to be “unemployed”… I mean that only in the socially accepted sense of the word. Or, how society has defined “unemployment”.

I have never been unemployed. I’ve been between jobs two other times in my life but I’ve never stopped working, and I’ve always been able to support myself (and others).

I have an opportunity to do some contract work and expand out the territory for a local non-profit. I’ve picked up a few gigs there already. Really fun work and quite satisfying, it has been difficult at times. People are not all that responsive but those that are have been good to work with. There is a learning curve but it is getting easier.

Fred is unemployed as of Saturday, that was his choice. He’s putting in applications closer to home and hopefully he’ll find something he enjoys that doesn’t eat up his paycheck with fuel to get there.

I think we both are less willing to tolerate poor work environments and want to do things that we find fulfilling. Not sure if it is age, experience or just a new found lack of tolerance for being unhappy in a place where you spend eight hours of your day. No one wants to be miserable and exhausted.

Right now Fred has been working on a chainsaw carving in our front yard.


I can’t wait to see the finished product. It is so exciting to see him create something out of a stump! And with a chainsaw no less!

I am also looking into going back to school (again)… I have a Bachellors and a Masters currently, but am looking at an AAS in Environmental Horticulture as preparation for our move back North.

We have to think about the future and how to prep for a completely different lifestyle. We have to think about what we can do for income in a place with very little opportunity for employment and with subsistence as it’s main lifestyle.

I should be able to practice different techniques down here so that I will at least have some type of clue how to grow things when we relocate to Angoon.

If it all works out, I should be able to go to school and still work as a consultant/contractor. I’ll know more how this is going to work in a few weeks.

Mostly I need to get super motivated and start getting our stuff sorted and culled, work – of course, and then add school to the mix.

It isn’t as if I haven’t done all this before… Onto the next evolution!

~ Molly

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Posted in AK - Preparing for our future, Angoon, Life Changes

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