My first thought on Friday was that the weekend is not the best time to apply for jobs, especially in a small town like Carbondale. What I can do, though, is look around and ask around. So I decided to do just that.
So far, I’ve got good news and bad news.
The bad news is that the electric vehicle tech market and therapeutic massage markets are both saturated here. About ten years ago, the automotive school at the local university, SIU, switched its focus away from internal combustion to electric. It started with just one or two people teaching electric, but the spike in demand lead them to convert the whole department. Ever since then, they’ve graduated a lot of new techs each year. That wouldn’t be a big deal in a big city, but there’s not enough demand for them in southern Illinois. They have to go to St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis, and so on.
There are a lot fewer electric cars here in southern Illinois. I’d say maybe two thirds of the cars run on gas. It’s strange seeing so many gas guzzlers zipping around, roaring and rumbling, making even the small streets of Carbondale smell like so much car exhaust. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and it was always like that. The national average nowadays is over half electric, with about two thirds of new vehicles being electric. But some people in southern Illinois resisted green tech early on because they were so into coal. They had generations of coal miners here, people who built their whole families on that way of life. And the coal and oil and gas companies kept telling them that it was the best way for them to get jobs and keep jobs in a dirt poor region. They made them all sorts of promises about clean coal, safe fracking, and so on.
But the fossil fuel companies lied, of course. They lied to everybody. And now there are a lot of rural areas like southern Illinois trying to catch up and clean up after the companies came and ruined their land and their communities. It’s sad, really. I’m not political, but I do hope they finally put some of those people in jail. They keep talking about it, and they keep fighting in the courts and Congress to figure out what we should do with an industry that basically wrecked the entire world. But a lot of them are still too rich and powerful to catch. How do you catch the people who pay the politicians to get elected?
Anyway, I was talking about my job search. I don’t know why the therapeutic massage market is saturated here. Maybe they teach it somewhere around here. I’ve seen some ads for other massage therapists and their prices are really low relative to what I’m used to in the city. I guess cost of living is lower here too. But still, it wouldn’t be my first choice. I’m trying to save up money for a new start. Doing massage here would involve building a new client base, finding a good space to work out of, and so on. It would be more of a long-term project. I might call the one massage place just to see what they say about renting space, but I’ll probably just stick with other options.
I’ll go ahead and finish with the good news. I have at least two really good leads. Alejandra told me about one and I found the other one.
The first one is quick and easy: canvass and volunteer for local nonprofits. Alejandra works at a community center where a lot of nonprofits meet or have offices. She says that at least one of them is looking for part-time people to do canvassing in Carbondale and smaller towns in the area. I used to do that in Miami so that would be great.
The one that I found is more exciting: solar roadways! I was shopping at the food co-op when I met this guy named Ermete. He told me that the first municipal solar roadways are coming to Carbondale next month and that they’ll need as many experienced workers as possible. I spent a summer doing solar roadways in New York, and that’s more experience than most people around here have since it’s new here. There are a couple of parking lots and driveways here, but nothing municipal yet. I’m really excited that I can be involved in bringing solar roadways to Carbondale! I just have to hope that this guy’s right and then wait a month to get started.
That was a really long entry. I guess I had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than write about all the things I learned over the past two days. Writing is about all I can do until the work week starts tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment. It would be good to know if anyone’s listening.