Wednesday

Unemployment is scary and I am lucky

If someone had told me in mid-August when we found out that we were moving to Chicago that it would take 157 days to start a new full-time job, honestly, I might not have been able to pull the trigger. It took 2.5 months of looking while I was still in DC, and another 2.5 months once we got here.

I've been thinking about the entire job search process so much lately (obviously), specifically how much I relied on my social and professional networks to finally land a new gig. Even more specifically, how fortunate I am to have a relatively vast network.

Unemployment is scary  

Having an emergency savings account is no joke. Looking for a job wasn't an immediate emergency for me. I didn't suddenly find myself unemployed. I broke a contract with an organization I liked, and moved across the country. It was my own "fault." This was more of a slow-burning emergency.

Generally financial folks recommend saving three to six months of expenses. This is solid advice. It could take that many months to find a new job. Try to squirrel away a little bit of money every month. Who knows, maybe someday it will even give you the confidence you need to leave a job you don't love.

I am lucky

Being able to call-in favors and ask for introductions is how I ultimately got my foot in the door of my new organization. I'm at lunch with Evan, whose sister, Brooke, is roommates with Nicole, who used to work with Mari, who currently works there and kindly sends my resume to the hiring manager.

Don't even get my started on the black hole that is online application submissions. Did anyone even read the 20+ cover letters I wrote? Sad face.

I'm lucky that I know a lot of people from all over the country and across many industries. This gives me an advantage - and it's part of my privilege.

The opposite of this advantage is community disadvantage. Many people who grow-up in neighborhoods of high poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, etc. can't take advantage of the network that I was born into.

What I'm trying to say is that my job search made me more empathetic to the struggles of the under- and unemployed. Can we all agree to give people a break and maybe admit that some of us do have a leg-up on the competition. Can I own the fact that I have an edge over another candidate who grew-up poor, went to a commuter college with a loose alumni network, and has massive amounts of student loan debt?

So what? Can I help it my parents are functioning, sane, middle-class folks who asked me what I learned in school every day? I can't.

But I can acknowledge this privilege, and be grateful, generous, and kind to others.

Post-Bay Swim tip


  1. Bag Balm is great, but it melts in the heat. As in, it will melt all over your bag if it's not in its own bag.

Monday

I did it!

I did it - I swam 4.4 miles in the Chesapeake Bay! The water was 76 degrees so I opted out of wearing a wet suit, which was the right decision for me. I felt really well-prepared and the race was nearly over when I was ready to be done swimming. 

Here's a video that a teammate sent with some highlights from the Bay. 

Results are available here. I'm thrilled with my two hour time and 30th place overall finish for women. 
My #1 fan!

The great ladies of the Flying V!

Wednesday

Resting - 4 Days until Bay

Last night at practice I swam only 3,000 SCY and felt tired. Coach Max advised that Bay swimmers get out after 2,500, adding that, at this point, you won't get in any better shape or lose anything.

My plan is for 2,500 this afternoon with a friend, off on Thursday, maybe another 2,500 in Michigan on Friday, and off on Saturday.

Tuesday

Wake on the Lake

My incredible cousin, Tommy Steele, is training for a 24.3 miles swim across Lake Erie! Called "Steele's Wake on the Lake" this intense swim is making my 4.4 miles in the Bay seem pretty doable. Also, clearly a lot of good swimming genes in the Austin clan!

5 Days Until the Bay

DCRP teammate Michael and I went to the Bay Ridge neighborhood in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon after practice and got in 1.25 miles along the shore. Couple take-a-ways:

  1. It's salty, but not too bad and didn't bother me.
  2. My wet suit felt great.
  3. It really does feel like you're swimming in a washing machine.
  4. The Bay was warmer than the pool I swam in on Saturday morning. I would really love to wear a wet suit on Sunday, and am hoping yesterday's rain cooled it down just enough to keep it below 78 degrees.  
  5. I'm a lot less nervous now that I've actually done a little swimming in the Bay. 

Friday

A Swim Meet! and 9 days until the Bay

Two weeks after the Bay Swim, my masters team is hosting an indoor meet. All area swimmers are invited to participate in the 33rd Annual Long Course Swim Meet on June 27! More information is available here. Not as fun as swimming outside at Hains Point, but the pool is much nicer and faster.

Wednesday

Fueling for the Bay Swim

11 Days until the Bay Swim

In my Googling I also found the great post, How I Fueled to Swim Across the Chesapeake Bay. It talks a lot about hydration, which I'm worried about. [Truth, I'm nervous about most aspects of this race.] Increasing salt intake in the 24 hours leading up to the race is not something that would have occurred to me, but it makes sense. I will also add a sports drink, which I rarely consume. The Fueled post is really thorough, and I will definitely reference it again in the next two weeks.