I thought the pit of despair was literally, like, just a pit. Now I know that’s just fallacy—there is much more than the pit of despair—there are also the chair of despair, bed of despair, shower of despair, toilet of despair, kitchen of despair, and barstool of despair. This unemployment shit? It’s a bitch, yo.
Look, we all know it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there (or as my sister says a doggy-dog world). The only question is which dog ends up with a happily engorged belly and which becomes Alpo. Lately, I’ve been feeling like the latter dog. At my age, trust me, there is no joy in being jobless.
When you’re young, of course, a stint of unemployment is like damned sunshine in the sweet sweet summertime. No rules, restrictions, curfews. As long as you’ve got enough bread for a sixer of Special Export, an Arby’s roast beef sandwich, and a little gas in the tank, it’s smooth sailin’, Jack. But when you’re older, this crap gets old after about…oh, five minutes.
I mean for Pete’s sake, here’s my typical day. Sleep WAY too late, so late I end up tired! Stay in bed with bed-head and check iPhone Scrabble games. Check email accounts to see if there are any fresh rejections (positive anticipations are perhaps needless to say long gone). Itch anything that needs scratchin’. Scrabble. Lay on bed and stretch out some (yes, in bed).
After a while, even this gets tiring, so I wander out, pee, brush, shave, shit, shower. This feels good, as does fresh pair of underwear. Grouchily meander down the stairs (which feels like the Bataan Death March) to make coffee and whatever breakfast I can muster. Retreat to air-conditioned bedroom, as I live in a climate where it’s too hot to live.
Scrabble check. Email check. Blog views check. If you too are a blogger, and have as few subscribers as I do, you know that in real time this can be very, very depressing indeed.
By now it’s nooner, and I gotta get down to some business. Scrabble check. Okay, now I mean it. If I just get some tunes going should be good. Okay! Starting to feel it!
Run through same job sites as I do everyday and amaze at how little is new. Look at resume for reassurance that I’m a worthy candidate. Apply to a few things that seem off the mark or below me, fairly certain I’ll hear nothing and confident I’m probably better off. Write something to take my mind off things.
Determine hunk of writing is piece of shit. Scrabble. Look at more job postings. Organize or update jobs search files. Think back to childhood, when jobs didn’t matter. Indulge feelings of longing in a brief moment of silence.
Strum guitar. Decide to put on pants or at least shorts. Put on shorts and fresh t-shirt. Instantly feel more employable. Look at a few more off-the-mark postings. Eat lunch (if saltines and peanut butter count). Check email. Move any rejections to appropriate spot on job leads spreadsheet.
Realize day is getting away from me. Ponder what activity will give me maximal feeling of productivity or at least small shred of self worth. Do that activity. Question value of said activity. Ponder having beer, but conclude 2:30 is too early unless there is NFL football on television.
Begin random, unsatisfying internet surfing (like the old commercial, I “reached the end” of the internet long ago). Read “Freshly Pressed” and feel either inspired by the powerful ideas of others or pure bitterness regarding their intellect and insights (it’s a crap shoot!). Actually consider logging into Facebook. Reject impulse.
Think back to the days when you could “pound the pavement” for a job instead of meandering around the void that is the internets. When if you wanted to, you could reach right out to Rhonda from HR and politely inquire as to the status of your application.
Realize how much I like working, even with pants requirements. Consider doing something physical. Reject impulse as it is clearly too much effort. Mentally beat self up for laziness. Ponder whether this is at least small form of cognitive exercise. Crack open beer.
And that’s a wrap!
Now, I know parts of this might strike you, dear reader, as enjoyable or desirable what with the underwear living and the cold beer, but man, this sucks! I started this search out like a hungry Rambo armed only with a 16-inch bowie knife and an insatiable appetite for gainful employment. Now I feel like an overweight fisherman plunked down somewhere on Lake Nowhere, hoping something employment-ish impales itself on my listless hook before that spot between my plumber’s crack and t-shirt bottom gets any more sunburned (and of course before the beer runs out).
And it’s not like I’m unemployable. It’d be one thing if I was a no-skill, three toothed Cletus more interested in sexing farm animals than finding work. But I’m not (three toothed)!
I am indeed well educated and trained. I’ve made real contributions to my community. Just not lately, in this sweltering heat factory of a country, and not in my skivvies.
I know something will come along and at that point I’ll be right here to complain about the old jobby-job. But for now, this unemployment shit? It’s a bitch, yo.
Author’s Update: the encouraging beep of an incoming email message came in just as I was finishing writing this. Subject line was something about Social Security, and below is a photo of the critically important text. Pondered clicking on the clearly virus-carrying super link just for something new but was too bored and unmotivated to do so.