So Long, and Thanks for All the Zebra Mussels!
I started writing RBCA when I lived in New Jersey. I felt like a displaced person, a Rust Belt refugee, and I was trying to figure out what my relationship to Cleveland was.
However, I've exhausted that topic and now I'd like to focus my life on other things.
As you know, I have been out of work since July. When it happened, I wasn't too worried. I decided that if I had no job offers, I would re-evaluate the situation in six months.
Six months later, I realized I have three options:
1. Continue to pursue freelance work (I have picked up a few paltry bits and pieces, but nothing substantial);
2. Acquire a completely new set of skills that are better suited to the Cleveland economy; and
3. Look for work outside the region again.
It's easier not to move. It's easier not to have to sell the house. Jim has a good job here. I still have hope about finding a great job here too, but I have to think realistically now. I love libraries, I love archives, I love publishing, and I'm really good at those things. When I think about starting a new career in something with a future but which doesn't interest me (like health informatics) just to avoid the hassle of selling the house and planning another long-distance move (this would be my sixth!), part of me wants to roll over and play dead.
But at the same time, when I think about the possibility of leaving again, I don't feel a sense of loss or disappointment, so much as the sense of relief that comes with admitting you made a mistake. When I came back here in 2007, I made a mistake in timing and judgment. I came back here with a skill set that didn't match the needs of the community. I came back here because I thought I could make a difference just by owning a house and shopping at local businesses. I should have waited longer, stayed at a job I loved until the right job opportunity came up here, if ever.
I won't succumb to the idea that I'd be failing Cleveland by leaving again. I'm not a martyr. I've given it two years, and two years is a long time. Cleveland and I are comfortable enough in our relationship that if we need to end it now and pick up again in ten years, we can do that. I still like Cleveland. I still want to see it succeed, and help it succeed if I can (by sending money home, for instance). But at the same time, I'm just going to have to think about other things. I can't waste my prime earning years scraping by, doing nothing, or doing what doesn't interest me.
I'll still be posting at Cleveland Area History and Rust Belt Reader, so check those out if you're interested. I may end up doing something else, too, but as far as RBCA goes, it's time to call it quits.
Otherwise, thank you for reading and I wish you all the best of luck!