The news program was good, useful, and also utterly lame at the same time. I'm seriously glad they did it - and I know for sure that there were people there who got some great information. The topic was "beating the recession", see, and attending locals were encouraged to ask questions of their own. So I did. And the answers I got from the panel of experts have still left me pretty much flabbergasted.
At the risk of outing my identity, I'll give you the question and then share with you the answer I received.
Q: How do I re-invent myself (aka going to school for certificates and degrees) while still paying bills, finding a new job, and paying my mortgage?
Kindof a loaded question, really, and to be honest I wasn't really expecting a big eureka moment where I'd hear someone say something I hadn't thought of. Turns out, that's exactly what happened. I was not expecting to hear the following:
Panelist3: There are always sources of income which you may have not thought of. For instance you can always grow your own tomatoes and then sell tomatoes to your neighbors. Or, maybe you want to rent a room in your living space to a student! There are all kinds of untapped resources at your disposal.
Panelist 5: I'd like to add that as soon as you get that new job, don't leave their tuition reimbursement programs untapped. So many companies are eager to get their new hires trained up, so make sure you take advantage of those avenues as well. Finally, don't forget that there are many scholarships available to you for not only academic purposes but also which can cover living expenses.
Now, gentle reader, if you're anything like me - your brain locked down when it read/heard "selling tomatoes to your neighbors". I hope you'll forgive me for a heartfelt WTF on that little gem. Seriously? Tomatoes? WTF? I'm 32, married, and live in no slight proximity to any kind of neighborhood that would make renting to students even a consideration. And so now I'm going to plant, raise, care for, harvest, market and make a heafty profit from selling what people can pick up at the grocery store for roughly $1.00 a pound? Seriously? To pay... my mortgage? I love my neighbors and all, and I know they think that my beloved husband and I are pretty neat people too - but I don't think they'll pony up $500 for any of my tomatoes no matter how fancy, shiny, bug and pesticide free they may be. Even if I put a brand name in sharpie on the bottom someplace.
Yup, I may be a bitter, lonely, depressed woman - but I'm putting that little piece of advice firmly in the "total crap" column. And I'll do it in an offended huff. In case nobody has noticed, it's not really 1940 any more. Like, not even barely. I'm all for growing your own produce and playing "garden" in the back yard when space, time, and funds permit. Absolutely. Knock it out. Cucumbers, pumpkins, raspberries, corn, and a potpourri of herbs... it's all good kids. But let's face facts, I could sell watermelons by the side of the road and probably gross a fair $50. You know... for the YEAR! and that's only if I sell 'em in a bikini to that rare niche market that buys watermelons from creepy bikini clad thirty somethings looking lonely and depressed at the side of the road.
The other advice was - well it wasn't a news flash, but it sounded particularly scholarly while I sat there still reeling from the suggestion that tomatoes were the solution to my problems. He was right, scholarships and student loans and tuition reimbursement programs are all excellent ways to launch a re-invention campaign... something I hope to do anyway this year. Soon as I get a job that affords me the time and funds to pursue such a campaign.
And there we are, gentle reader. Economy is in the shitter, my little space ship is running on fumes, and I'm three months away from tomato planting season. It hasn't snowed in years, gas prices are on the rise, and I can't think of anything tasty to make for dinner tonight.
All that and I still don't know if I'm going to work tomorrow. *le Sigh*