Wanted: Suggestions for a new job
What kind of job can a guy like I do that doesn't require much (or any) use of my hands, doesn't require another 2-8 years of schooling and pays enough for me to live off of, even if not at the level I was while working as a software engineer 3 months ago?
As many know, I've been having some major issues with my hands for the last many months and it now seems safe to say that the carpel tunnel surgery fixed nothing and only made things worse overall... the next step is to see a rheumatologist, someone I'm scheduled to see a week from today (I'm told it is a miracle that I was able to get an appointment with one only a month out).
The way my luck has always run is that when I have a problem, it's never a simple fix. For as long as I can remember I've never had a problem where the solution has been 'just take this pill', 'install this patch', 'make this slight modification' and given events with my hands, this issue is shaping up to be similar and chances are I will not walk out of the rheumatologist fully cured and healed.
When I first left my development job back in February, my expectation (and that of my doctor) was that I'd be able to go back to work very soon after... just days later in fact, sadly that doesn't seem to be the case and it's now time for me to start looking for alternative full time employment (either temporary or permanent) so as to get me by.
This all began with me having a problem doing much in the way of typing or mousing at the PC, which seemed to be an extension of a long running problem of certain kinds of clutching (pens, pencils, or any other small instrument). About the same time I had a problem at the PC I noticed that almost* any kind of clutching became uncomfortable and then finally painful be it a steering wheel, cell phone or even a tv remote... so any kind of job where my hands have to do any clutching would seem to be out.
For the first 6 weeks after surgery I had a weight restriction from my doctor of lifting no more than 6 lbs (with my hands) which was no problem as I made it a point to carry bags (ie at the grocery store) with my wrists... unfortunately I still have a bit of a problem lifting anything more than 15 lbs, partially due to pain on the palm of my hands but also due to a massive reduction in muscle strength in my arms (which is funny considering I didn't think I had much there before surgery)... which means that any kind of job requiring lifting or pushing is out as well.
Teaching a bit more at my part time job is an option that I'm pursuing however am very concerned given the need for demonstration in a programming class which didn't feel all that good in my class back in November or more recently in April.
What does that leave? Phone bank operator or receptionist? Sure I've got a good voice, however I suspect that there'd be plenty of button pushing required.
I suppose there is always modeling or acting. Ha!
There is always governmental handouts isn't there? As far as I can determine, I do not qualify for state based unemployment as I am not 'physically able to work in your usual occupation or in other work for which you are reasonably fitted', nor do I qualify for SSDI as I have not been out of work for more than 6 months and I'm not likely to get a doctor or two to certify that I'll be unable to work for at least a year.
I'm honestly out of ideas and dare I say it, am starting to get a bit concerned as the financial pressure of having virtually no income, mounting medical bills, maintaining health insurance under COBRA, continually putting my student loans into forbearance and living on credit cards is starting to take its toll and I need to find some income sooner or later.
Anyone have any ideas?
*The funny (and sad) thing in all of this is that the one thing I've found I can clutch for extended periods is an Xbox 360 controller… just so long as I don't hold down the Left Trigger button for 3-5 minutes at a time... and unfortunately there is not a lot of money to be made playing the 360 without other typing involved (ie reviewing games and/or filing bug reports).
Note: Like my last extended blog post, this post was written over the course of a few days so as to reduce pain and discomfort.