Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Such a Jewish psychiatrist

I have a cold and feel completely lousy, but I'm going to California tomorrow (that's going to be a fun plane ride) and I wanted to blog about a few things.

Early this morning I went to a bris -- the son of a friend of Adir and Alona. They couldn't make it, so I conveyed their congratulations. Then I went to see Dr. R, and after we discussed graduation and job-hunting, I told him I was seeing someone. An Iraqi Jew.

"So he is Sephardi?" said Dr. R.

"Yes, but that's not a problem on either side," I said. "The problem is that he hasn't been paying much attention to me lately. I used to get text messages, phone calls, and pokes on Facebook all the time. I saw him last Thursday night, and I haven't really heard much from him since -- and then, only when I contacted him. Allegedly he was working all night Saturday, most of Sunday, and was very busy yesterday and today. But he still says he's making me dinner and taking me to the airport."

"What does he do?" asked Dr. R. That made me laugh. He sounded more like my dad than my therapist.

It's always a struggle for me not to paternalize older male therapists. It wasn't hard not to paternalize Albert Ellis because 1) he was old enough to be my grandfather and 2) he wasn't very affectionate or gentle. I usually haven't had this problem with Dr. R, but for some reason I got hit with a little transference this time.

Of course, it was also a practical question: what's keeping SB so very busy that he can't even poke Ayelet on Facebook? Has he lost that loving feeling, or is Ayelet manifesting a wee bit of paranoia? Dr. R seemed to think things weren't as doomed as I felt they were.

He also gave me some practical job-hunting tips.

"You almost never give me advice," I said.

"Well, I would not advise you about your boyfriend," he said -- effectively terminating the paternal transference -- "but this is very concrete."

Dr. R's Job Search Suggestions:
  1. Take notes after every interview so you can remember exactly what happened and impress them at the follow-up interview.
  2. Set a deadline to lower your asking price. Right now, I feel I'm worth at least $45-50,000, given my two master's degrees, significant professional experience in writing and communications, moderate but extensive clinical experience (I did a little bit of everything at the ACT team), initiative, creativity, excellent work ethic, and spectacular sense of humor. But if I don't have a job offer by July 1, I'm coming down to $40,000. Maybe even $38,000, much as it galls me. Better to have a job where you're underpaid than be unemployed for a long stretch.
I've got an interview after I come back from Cali with a substance abuse treatment program that really likes me. I applied for a MICA (Mental Illness/Chemical Addiction) specialist position that they thought I wasn't qualified for -- not enough years of clinical experience -- but they liked me for a caseworker job that paid $38,000.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I like the way your organization sounds and how you approach substance abuse treatment, but I have two master's degrees and I live in Manhattan. I can't afford to work for $38K."

We talked for a while, and I told him about the substance abuse group I discerned the need for, initiated, and developed -- recruiting reluctant participants, writing up a curriculum, and co-facilitating group sessions. And how I spent 10 years as a communications professional, which he liked because they do a lot of outreach and need someone to be their spokesperson. (Hello -- PR princess here!) So he called another person, did a little wheedling, and they're interviewing me for the MICA position after I get back from California.

I need a really impressive suit for this interview. Fortunately, my aunt Luba, who lives near cousin Yaffa, is a clotheshorse and seamstress. We'll go shopping, find me something stunning yet professional that implicitly communicates my broad-ranging competence, and she can alter it to fit perfectly.

As for SB... well, I'll see him tonight and assess whether he's just giving me a ride to the airport because he promised he would.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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