THE BLOG
03/16/2012 01:45 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Pick: Have a Wedding, or Keep Your Job

I'm employed on contract. I'm thankful for this. But when this contract ends, what will be next? What if my luck runs out and I can't find anything? The thought of unemployment fills me with anxiety, and a fear I feel in my bones. It's unknown territory that I'm not anxious to discover.

AP

In this uncertain economy, how does anyone plan for the future? That's the question I've been asking myself for a while now. I've been working on various contracts in different departments of the same company for the past five years, always facing uncertainty. There was a brief time last year when I had a full time role, and I was elated -- until they decided to restructure the role, and I was suddenly without a job.

Suddenly I was looking for another contract to cling to. Luckily, with so much contract experience in so many departments, I was fortunate to find something temporary rather quickly. But what's next? I honestly have no idea; it depends on so many factors.

While I realize I should be lucky to even have a job at all, the uncertainty is what weighs on me constantly. When this contract ends, what will be next? What if my luck runs out and I can't find anything? The thought of unemployment fills me with anxiety, and a fear I feel in my bones. It's unknown territory that I'm not anxious to discover.

As a woman, it feels particularly stressful because you can't plan ahead. No one is going to give you a maternity leave in a contract position -- there would be no job to return to. But how long do you wait before you try for kids? How can you move into a bigger home than your current one when you don't know if you'll have a job in six months? Is taking a vacation wise or irresponsible?

It's impossible to know one way or the other. I was laid off from my last job a few short weeks after I returned from my honeymoon and now when I look back and think about my honeymoon, that's all I think about. I feel like I very nearly dodged a bullet that they didn't decide to restructure my jobs a few weeks beforehand during the wedding.

Despite the support of my husband, I don't like the idea of him having to carry the burden of one income for two people. It makes me feel like a liability instead of an equal. And even though he doesn't feel that way, I do. I often wish I could go back in time when there used to be money and jobs, (was there ever such a time?) It just feels like every year, everywhere there are cutbacks: of employees, of salaries, of funding -- of everything. People used to get excited by the prospect of a raise, and now most people are relieved to just be keeping their jobs, will that feeling ever end?

There's also the matter of skill set. Despite a college and university education, job wise I have a particular set of specific skills, and not much experience outside of that. So if you can't find a job in your field, and start to look outside of it, you don't have the experience. That is the employment paradox: all employers want experience, but you can't get any experience if someone doesn't hire you. I'm sure everyone has experienced this in their professional life at one point or another.

I know bad things happen. We have to keep going, and there are certain things you can never plan; it's a huge weight to carry around -- the uncertainty, the "what if?" How can anyone plan a head when they don't feel secure? Will it always be this way?