Monday, July 9, 2012

The Other Shoe

I'm beginning to feel like I only write here when there's something major and/or dramatic going on. That makes me sad. I need to get back into a regular writing schedule.

As usual, a lot has happened since my last post. My trip to Washington DC was amazing. Probably the most memorable moments were getting to finally thoroughly go through the Holocaust Museum, and the National Archives. I was at the DC Memorial Day Concert on Capitol Hill, which was cut short because of weather. I was at the DC Memorial Day Parade.

The National Archives finally allowed me to really get in-depth in my family history. I stumbled upon an entire blog dedicated to the lineage of my maternal grandfather's family. The blog writers have traced the family tree back to colonial times, and one has even gone to England to visit the branch of the family that stayed in England. I learned that there are several ancestral burying grounds with my relatives buried in them. On my (adoptive) father's side of the family, I found my grandfather's World War II records, notably the rolls indicating what ships he was stationed on. I learned that that branch of the family was very involved in the Civil War - there were even newspaper articles that noted just how many people in my family died during the War: twenty served in the Civil War, and only five survived. Interestingly, my family line is not a descendant of any of those five; the widow of one of the fifteen who died, while still having his last name, got pregnant out of wedlock by a new boyfriend. Since she still had his last name, her son did as well, and that's why we have that last name. I made a book for me compiled of everything I've learned so far, and one for my mom. Both were made out of binders and I used page protectors, so information could be easily shifted around or taken out to give copies to other relatives who wanted them. They then came here for a couple of days for a mini-vacation the weekend before Independence Day.

Things since then have taken a dramatic turn, which I can only hope will be a blessing in disguise. Well, in reality, I guess things have been kind of dramatic for a while, really. I was injured at work, and had to go on restricted duty for two weeks. Two days after I was returned to my normal work duties, I was mildly injured again.

I was very fortunate during school that my roommate was willing and able to work with me regarding the rent during my reduced time working due to school responsibilities - everything from reduced rent some months, to allowing me to go rent free a couple of months. However, on Friday, he basically said that he couldn't afford to do that anymore, and was giving me until the end of the month to move out - 3 weeks from now, basically. He said that because of his working with me, he was further in debt. This frustrates me, on one hand because he was somehow able to afford a new sofa and big screen TV during that time, so he couldn't have been *that* in debt. Also, now that school is over and my trip is as well, I was able to afford this month's rent in full, and fully expected to be able to continue to do so from here out, even if only barely. So why he waited until I could afford the full payment again to complain is beyond me. In addition, one of his "friends" has been living here, presumably rent-free, for the last 2-3 months, and probably will for a good bit longer, while supposedly trying to close on a house. A friend who leaves lights and TVs on everywhere he goes (which will of course drive up the electric bill, thus making him further "in debt"), and who I recently realized actually stole most of the hydrocodone I had been prescribed for my aforementioned injury. Apparently thinking I'm an idiot, this friend then later tried to "replace" the hydrocodone by putting new pills into the bottle, which I had forgotten to throw away once I noticed the pills were gone. It was obvious that he had put more in, because the pills were much smaller than the original ones. This time I was smarter, and disposed of all of my prescription pills that weren't being used, and threw away the bottles.

Meanwhile, for at least the past month, I have been applying to second jobs, as well as full-time jobs that are more fitting of my educational level, with the hopes of finally being able to quit the corrupt mental hospital I'm currently at. They continually send staff home due to being "overstaffed", which creates unsafe situations on a regular basis. Being sent home frequently has been a big factor in my current financial state. Yet the only replies I have gotten are three, all saying I did not meet qualifications - I assume for some it's because I have yet to take my licensing exam and become an LMSW (rather than an MSW), but I know for one it's because I don't have the next level, the LISW, which would allow me to practice and bill independently, but will take another two years (at least) to obtain. My parents even sent me a check to help pay for the expensive licensure fees (which cost $230 for the South Carolina exam), but I'm so down in the hole that it had to go in my bank account because I had already overdrafted by almost $50.00.

With all of this, I decided to expand my job search to jobs back in my hometown, so that I can move back in with my parents if need be, so that I can live rent-free, save up for whatever licensing fees the North Carolina licensure requires, and then save up to get my own apartment so that maybe I won't have to deal with roommate drama ever again. On Friday, I applied for an Intensive In-Home Therapist position in a town near my hometown. First I got the usual automated message: Thanks for your resume, you will be contacted if your qualifications meet our requirements. Then about twenty minutes later, I got an email from an actual person, saying that she has forwarded my info to the hiring manager, and she assumed I was willing to relocate since my info says I'm in SC. I replied, explaining that yes, I have family in the area and so relocation is not an issue. She responded saying that would be great, and explained that North Carolina has a provisional license status, LCSW-A, which once I obtain, I can then use their organization, as an employee, to obtain my necessary two years of clinical supervision hours to obtain my full license status, LCSW, which would allow for job promotion within the organization. She then told me the name of the hiring manager and to be expecting a call from her (which I have not received yet).

On Saturday, I emailed my updated resume to a wonderful organization I worked for during undergrad, before I moved out of North Carolina. At that time, they only had services in my hometown's county and two of the neighboring counties; now they have expanded to provide services throughout most of that entire half of the state (all that in just 5 years!). They were such a good organization, in my view, that had I not decided to move out of NC altogether, I would've stayed with them. In addition, the human resources person is a friend of the family - I grew up with her son as a child, going to the same church together. I emailed her to find out if they had any openings for an MSW working toward licensure. She replied this afternoon that she didn't know of anything, but she'd keep me in mind, and once I got my provisional license that would make me more eligible for positions. I then thanked her for her consideration, and asked if there were any Bachelors-level jobs available that I would be qualified for while I was in the process of obtaining my provisional license. She said she would check, then a few minutes later asked me to call her regarding a position. When I called, she told me about an Intensive-In Home Therapist/Case Manager position, where I would be a "QMHP" or "Qualified Mental Health Professional". I'm not exactly sure what that is (not much info on that online), except that apparently I would be adequate for that title until I get provisionally licensed. It seems like it would be similar to what I did with the foster care agency, as an internship. It would have the same benefits as last time I worked there. I would work full-time, and salary would be between $32,000 - $40,000/year -considering I only made about $10,000 last year (I pretty much lived off of student loan overage checks), that feels like quite a bit. Being single with no family, it would at least be enough for me to get back on my feet, catch up on some bills, and maybe get my own apartment. She then did an impromptu over-the-phone interview, and said I would be contacted if the managers over that position are interested in further interviewing me.

I'm really hoping one of these positions works out, honestly. North Carolina's system of obtaining licensed status seems a lot more accommodating and clear-cut than South Carolina's. If I'm understanding my research right, North Carolina's process to get licensed seems like it's a lot better than South Carolina's. To get my provisional license in NC, I would pay the $100ish application fee, without having to take a test. Then I would do my two years paid clinical supervision and would only take the test when I've gotten enough hours in supervision to be able to take it. Here in SC, it's $45 to register to take the test, then $230 to take the exam to get my LMSW, then I'd have to pay somebody else to supervise me before I could pay to take the exam for the next level. If I moved back to NC, once I have my license and a few more years of experience, I can always move back to Charleston if I want. If I don't get one of these positions, then I will be living on a friend's couch at the end of the month, which, while I'm extremely grateful and she's a very good friend of mine, nobody wants to live on a couch long-term. I am nervous about returning to my Bible-Belt family and middle-of-nowhere town with little to do, but I'm hoping the last 5 years of emotional growth will help me adjust and still be the person I want to be. Plus I have gotten a little better at finding things to do, and I'll still be around lots of nature. And I've already looked up and found 3 liberal churches I will probably try out, rather than going to my parents' church just to keep them off my back like I did back in the old days. Guess we'll see how this goes. I'm trying to be optimistic, but not so optimistic that if it doesn't work out, I'll go into one of my depressive funks.

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