October was a real up-and-down month for my little family unit here in the Land of the Vikings….so much so that I was actually quite happy to see it end in spite of the unusually wonderful weather that came with it. Here’s hoping that November turns out to be a little more tranquil…though given my looming freelance project deadline, I somehow doubt that’s going to happen.
The ups and downs have pretty much all been connected to employment issues, which are especially nerve-wracking for me given the precarious financial situation my family endured during my teenage years (courtesy of my father’s advancing alcoholism). We survived it, but the experience left marks on me and my siblings…and we all display varying degrees of "weirdness" about financial security matters because of it.
With that said, we’ve recently some Good News and some Not-so-Good news, so I’ll start with the latter. Dr. Darling has been doing project work for college credit (like she needs more of that!) for the last 10 weeks at a highly regarded laboratory in Copenhagen. Unfortunately this lab, though impressed with her research results and very interested in pursuing them further, does not (despite wishful thinking on the part of her colleagues) have any money in its budget hire her to continue the work. Quel surprise! In fact, they are supposed to be cutting their full-time staff by one in the coming year.
However, they remain interested in providing scientific sponsorship for a post-doc if Dr. Darling can secure a grant that will cover everything else (living expenses, basically). So even though the project is technically over, they are continuing to work with her on writing a grant proposal. And in the meantime, they’ve offered her a chance to fill a month-long gap between lab techs…which was quite cricket of them since it will allow her to continue her experiments for a bit longer and earn a some money at the same time.
Of course the competition for grants is pretty fierce, and it will be late Spring (at the earliest) before we know if Dr. Darling gets one or not. This means my status as the main provider is going to continue for awhile. ACK!!!
The Good News (which makes the Not-so-Good-news a little easier to swallow) is that my company has FINALLY gotten off the dime and begun negotiating with me for a regular contract. (I’ve been working on series of temporary project contracts for the past year, something that’s quite common in Sweden.) The only catch, if you can all it that, is that they want me to study some more Swedish. Which is actually quite reasonable…especially since they are willing to pay for classes and/or give me comp time for the hours I have to spend in class.
Needless to say, securing a regular position is a MAJOR relief since it will give us a level of financial security that we’ve not had since I gave up a great job in the U.S. and moved to Sweden (three years ago). Project contracts can be lucrative enough, but loan officers and potential landlords do not look very kindly on them since they are not a "permanent" source of income.
So our first order of business after the new year will be to find a larger, more centrally-located apartment with a garage underneath it for the car we will now be able to buy. Which means I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get a Swedish driver’s license, something I’ve avoided so far because of the time and expense (another story for another day)…and oh, have I mentioned that we don’t own a car?