Posts Tagged With: adventures

The Fine Line, Part 1, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

This is a nine-page essay written by one of my friends from college. I’m going to break it up over several posts. Her essay is about the problem of men and women serving in the armed forces and coming home to find that there are no jobs for them.

“Inside the Churchville Veterinary Hospital, veterinarian Rick Parsons is busy performing cancer surgery on a 5 year old German shepherd.

It’s a bitter winter afternoon, and Parsons’ friend and accountant, Dave Young, has stopped by to go over some financial records. Stepping outside the operating room, Parsons asks his friend if he would like to watch. Glancing at the bloodstained operating table, Young politely declines.

But Young says he’s happy to see his buddy again wielding a surgeon’s knife. Parsons is just glad to see Young back handling the practice’s books.

Both Young and Parsons are part-time soldiers, majors in the Army Reserve whose recent tours of active duty in Afghanistan wrenched them from their lives in western New York for a year each, nearly destroying Parson’s veterinary practice and putting strains on Young’s tiny accounting firm.

When Parsons came home after a yearlong call-up to Afghanistan in August 2003, he was within a month of having to file bankruptcy papers. He’d been unable to find another doctor to fill in during his absence. Meanwhile, Young spent most of 2002 in Afghanistan, forcing his wife to go to work with his father to keep clients from abandoning Young and Co., the small firm he had started five years earlier.

The lives of these two officers and a half dozen of their Army Reserve comrades in Rochester offer a window into the growing strains that many warn are threatening to break America’s part-time military,” explains Dave Moniz.

Flash forward ten years and the stories are even more bleak than anticipated. An economic recession sent our economy into a downward spiral. Businesses closed, jobs were outsourced, or eliminated completely. The job market is small and the competition is high. Not only are reservists returning to civilian life, but are now in a new battle. The new battle is for the jobs they left behind.

To be continued…..

Works cited

“Back From War, Still In a Fight.” Albany Times Union [Alban, NY] 19 Nov. 2009: C1. New York State
Newpapers. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.
“Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits |” Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits | N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Garamone, Jim. “Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve.” News
Article: Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve. U.S. Department of Defense,
14 Feb. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <;.

Greenwald, Judy. “Guidelines Welcomed on Reservists’ benefits; Regulations expected to help as
troops return.” Business Insurance 27 Dec. 2004: 1. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

Greenwald, Judy. “Soldiers Return to Civilian Jobs; Veteran’s Rights Put Compliance on us Former
Employees.” Business Insurance 18 June 2012: 0001. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Geisel, Jerry. “Law Outlines Employers’ Duty; Call-up of U.S. Reservists Triggers Benefit Obligations.”
Business Insurance 24 Sept. 2001: 26. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Lenckus, Dave. “Easing Return to Civilian Life a Must; Employers urged at PRIMA to Consider
Veterans’ Special Needs.” Business Insurance 25 June 2007: 4. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov.
Greencard, Samuel. “When Johnny or Janey Comes Marching Home.” Workforce Management 90.6
(2011): 4-4. Academic Search Complete. Web 19 Nov. 2012.;
Moniz, Dave. ” Guardsmen, Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups.” – Guardsmen,
Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups. n.p., 07 Feb. 2005. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
Tillson, John C.F. “Landpower and the reserve components.” Joint Force Quarterly Dec.2004:41+. General
OneFile. Web 5 Dec. 2012
Zoroya, Gregg. “Army to Expand Citizen Soldiers’ Traning Periods.” USATODAY.COM. N.p., 30 July 2012. Web.
10 Dec. 2012.

Categories: College Life, Current Events, Life, Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not All About Me

          Recently, I was reviewing my English 101 textbook when I came across an essay titled “On Keeping a Journal” By Roy Hoffman. According to the headnote, Hoffman wrote this piece for Newsweek on Campus. As I read his essay, I was inspired to write my own; from the perspective of a middle-aged woman attending college for the first time, and about how I feel intimidated and fearful. I feel this way because in two of my classes, my classmates were children–to my eyes–on average, they are only four to six years older than my daughter is.

     It makes me feel old; at a time when they were entering kindergarten or first grade, I was already a mother. When my daughter was born, I was nineteen–only a year or two younger than some of them are now.

     It presented a gulf, in my mind, that cannot be crossed. I have nothing in common with them, except that we happen to be in college, in the same class at the same time. Ironically, when I was their age, I felt the same way that I do now.

     When I was nineteen, whenever I was in a group of people my own age, I thought:

     ‘I don’t belong here; I have nothing in common with them.’

     I thought this way, because I was raising a daughter, working, paying bills, and trying to survive. I worked, but the jobs I was qualified for—Burger King and Wal-Mart—are not the types of jobs that dreams are built on. Nevertheless, this was my life; I worked to pay the bills. The hours I was given were always just under full time; but I knew better than to complain.

     My paycheck paid the rent, put food on the table, and paid the babysitter. A car was an impossible dream. My transportation was a bicycle, which I bought from the same Wal-Mart where I worked.

     My paycheck was not always enough to put food on the table, so I used food stamps, sometimes. I hated that, but sometimes you have to do what you hate, in order to survive. Sometimes my paycheck was not enough to pay the babysitter. In those times, my daughter’s father was the babysitter.

     Unless he refused, and many times he did. Then, I was stuck.

     No babysitter meant I could not go to work. Not going to work meant I would no longer have a job. Not having a job meant I could not pay the rent. Then we would be homeless. On and on it went. This scenario played out many times, until my daughter became a teenager; she decided she would rather live with her dad, and that was that.

     I had devoted my whole life to her, and now I was left wondering “Now what?”

     I was thirty-two years old by then—and married—but that is another story. My question of now what was answered by Finger Lakes Community College. As I write this, I am thinking, maybe I do belong in this group of young people, because I have already been where they are going. Perhaps I can be another mentor to them–an equal–different from their professors. I did not see it that way before. In trying to get through college, I developed tunnel vision. That happens so often in life. So now, I am wondering: ‘How can I use what I have learned from life to help them?’ I do not yet know the answer to that question.

Additional reading, if you are interested:,2118015

Categories: College Life, Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Research, Research, and more Research…

I have been thinking about working as a virtual assistant since before I started college. I have researched it, a lot, online, and in books. I have found a lot of useful information, and now, (drum roll) I’m ready to take the plunge. However, this does not mean I am giving up on my traditional job search, because I think it would be dumb to do that, as this process could take, never mind could, it probably will take a long time. At first, I planned to file a DBA as a sole proprietor, but now, after what I have read recently, that I might be better off incorporating as an LLC. Today, I printed out a ream of forms from SCORE, and the county website. Monroe county that is, because I am planning to move to Rochester. Hubby and I have been talking it over, both the move and the business, and he thinks both are good ideas. Which I‘m glad for. Makes it a lot easier than if he didn’t.

Categories: The Self Employment Chronicles | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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