Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Behcet's disease and economic reality

The economy is tough for everyone these days, and the type of work that I do (medical writing) is facing hard times. I have a good full-time job at a behavioral research company, translating medical research into information that "real people" (not doctors) can understand and use. But like most other companies, the place where I work is searching for ways to keep going when there are fewer opportunities -- and less money -- coming in. So far my job is safe, but there will probably be layoffs on the horizon.

My Behcet's book sales aren't faring any better. And my husband's business closed in 2008 after 18 years.

So now I'm selling what I can from around the house, and doing freelance medical writing in my "spare time," at night and on the weekends, to try to pay the bills. What have I found out by getting this extra job?
  1. That the competition is so fierce for freelance writing jobs right now that there were 20 candidates in the room at once at my last interview, with another 20 people joining in on a conference call. I refer to it as my "cattle call" interview. This was in the Boston area a couple of months ago. I can only imagine that it's worse now.

  2. I've applied for many other freelance jobs since then. There are so many candidates that companies don't even bother to tell you anymore if the jobs you've applied for (and in some cases, interviewed for) have been filled.

  3. Behcet's doesn't care about your work situation, and whether or not you need to have a job. As of this September, I'll have had Behcet's for 30 years. Thankfully my symptoms have lessened from the hard times I had in the first 10-15 years, because I don't think I'd have a chance of maintaining this schedule if my health returned to the way it used to be. I can live with the undercurrent of basic BD-related crap. It's not fun, but it could (and has been) worse.

  4. In the end, you do what you have to do to keep going. I thank God that I have a job(s) right now, and keep my fingers crossed that I won't have to join the huge numbers of unemployed people in the U.S.
I still have a lot of plans for Behcet's-related booklets/books, but it's stopped being a priority for me right now. That makes me sad, but I'm hoping to be able to get back to it when things improve -- and when I can (hopefully) stop doing this extra freelance work.

At least I'll still be able to offer info through this blog, and through the different BD support groups that I belong to.

Here's looking ahead to better times for all of us.