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Gainless Employment :-(

I've been hunting for a new job since the start of October.

It started out as a light search two months ago, but I'm now searching really hard, and I'm starting to be worried.  The economy's bad, and it's not a good time to be hunting for jobs.  In theory, I'm in the one sector that has growth potential — computers, especially web programming — and I'm highly skilled and well-educated, but those facts don't seem to be helping much.

My current employment consists of a lot of consulting work, and some sales of some software I wrote.  That was fine when I was a bachelor, but now that I'm married, I'm earning for two, because my wife got laid off in July and hasn't successfully found full-time work yet.

It's not like I'm asking for much; I'm a talented, skilled professional, darn it, but I'm willing to work for peanuts just to get off my feet:  Several folks in the industry think I'm worth about $75K/year, so I started out hoping for $70K/year with benefits, and I've watched my price point slide from $65K to $60K to $50K and now I'm getting close to being willing to settle for anything over minimum wage.  (Okay, I'm not <i>quite</i> that desperate yet, but ask me again in a month...)

We're already not buying Christmas gifts this year, and we've cut back on everything.  We don't waste money:  I'm half Dutch and half Jewish!  We haven't bought electronics of any kind in over a year, we haven't bought clothes, we have a small 900-square-foot apartment — we've been thrifty.  But even so, thanks to my wife's lack of income, her (large) student loan payments, the rising cost of everything (including our depressingly large health-insurance premiums), and my current meager income, about a week ago we hit negative for the first time:  We owe more money than we actually have.  I don't know how I'll pay December's bills when they come around, much less my $1000 quarterly tax bill in January.

So the upshot is that lately I'm highly unambitious about art and writing and life in general.  I'm doing little else lately but job-searching and hearing "You're a great candidate" but never hearing anything beyond that, and I'm feeling generally pummeled by the world.  Maybe this'll seem like nothing in a few months, but right now, I'm at the bottom of a pit, and the narrow shaft of sunlight that's sustained me is thinning by the day, soon to vanish altogether.