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Sheila Blanchette Headshot

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Tomorrow I have an interview for a part-time accounting job. I know, what am I thinking? I just left an accounting job in December. I published a book, sold the farm, hit the road with a friend, left my husband behind to join me later and moved to Florida. After four years in a cubicle, I was often close to tears by two in the afternoon and popping Xanax just to get through the day. Truly, what am I thinking?

I am thinking you can run away from home but the bills follow you. We have reduced our overhead significantly by selling our drafty, 300-year-old house but there's still health insurance, car insurance, electricity, food, blah, blah, blah... you know the drill.

So I was browsing around Craigslist yesterday and sent off a few resumes. Then I put on my sneakers and got ready for a walk. My phone rang, that new blues ringtone I switched to the other day. At first I thought, whose phone is that? Oh right, mine.

"Hello?"
"Hi, is this Sheila?"
"Yes it is."
"We got your resume and would like to know if you can come in for an interview tomorrow."

What the F***? I just sent that five minutes ago. Nooooo!

Seriously, I realize I am lucky, in this economy, to be endowed with so many marketable skills. I am not complaining. Well, maybe I am complaining. A little bit. I am highly qualified and very good at doing something I hate doing. Is this what they mean when they say you're between a rock and a hard place? Because that's where I think I am.

My book is getting some traction, I am working on the sequel, I am blogging for The Huffington Post. My Twitter followers are growing and I set up that awesome Pinterest account.

I haven't forgotten the awful feeling of anxiety I had in that cubicle. The time sheets we had to keep for the boring work we did -- three of them: one for HR so we could get paid, one for every minute we spent on every task we did all day and one for special tasks we were supposed to be improving upon. It was called tracking and it got to a point where I was looking over my shoulder like a deer during hunting season. I started to get snarky. I suggested we needed a category for time spent just tracking ourselves. My boss didn't think this was funny. I finally came up with another image that made me feel slightly calmer -- Winnie the Pooh and Piglet following their tracks around and around a tree.

"Tracking something," said Winnie-the-Pooh very mysteriously. "Tracking what?" said Piglet, coming closer. "That's just what I ask myself. I ask myself, what?"

It worked for a day or two but then I was back to being the deer in the headlights. Jumpy, edgy, depressed, a crazy lady.

As Sophie says in The Reverse Commute: "Accounting is the slow march of death. The work just marks the passage of time from one month end to quarter end to year end. Every year the work's the same, it never changes. And your life marches on."

Or to paraphrase Kevin Bacon when he was talking to Julianne Moore about resuming their affair in Crazy, Stupid, Love: "When we were seeing each other, I used to love coming into work. And I asked five other accountants if they ever felt this way and they all said no."

This time I am keeping it to part time. I am only willing to work three days a week. Of course, this most likely means I will not attain the holy grail of American life. The all important health insurance. But I could supplement our income with enough money to pay the $1,300 a month it is costing us. Always thinking responsibly, that's me. How I would love to be eating bon-bons and shopping at Saks, getting my nails done and doing pilates. Feminism didn't quite work did it?

But the biggest concern is, I need to write. I need to make this work. And it takes a lot of time, especially now that I have so much writing going on. One step at a time. I haven't gone on the interview. But I'm writing this blog. Subversive you say? Possibly. Isn't this what we tell our teenagers not to do?