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Fear, Loathing, and Unemployment

June 28, 2011

You miss one hudred percent of the shots you don’t take. So don’t take any. Or aim carefully. Or shoot like mad hell and hope for the best.

The cigarette smoke idled in front of my computer screen. I took another sip of hot chamomile and tried to ignore the 3:30 A.M. at the corner of the screen, hoping something would work. Insomnia rattled my brain all the night. The spectres of anxiety could be eased by a few beer, but a few more beer would be a few too many. Then I’d just be an unemployed drunk.

The bats that hounded me were the fear of being unemployed past another month, the loathing of maybe having to resort to welfare with a university education, and the stigma of already being unemployed for a few months and working in unrelated fields (making me an H.R. nightmare).

I take some solace in that at least I’ll do anyhing for a job. Mainstream media propagates the myth that anyone my age is self-entitled, lives at home, and is unwilling to put in the work. I must be some kind of superhuman. Lately it’s been construction labour jobs. Yet, I think it’s that attitude that’s hindered my progress. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

You can’t wait for the perfect job.

The last job interview was something like, “Wow, you have so much varied experience.”

There’s only one thing I’ve been consistent with, and that’s writing.

“This job only pays X. How do you plan on getting by?” I was asked in another interview. That really was a question.

I just put a 10 foot by 10 foot cedar deck on the eleventh-floor balcony of a condo downtown. We walked the two-hundred pound sections up 4 flights of stairs and then dropped them ten feet to the deck below. Whatever pays the way. Like Ralph Ellison said, “You can’t live by your wits.”

So, what do you do when you can’t sleep, and you feel paralyzed? Read blogs. I read blogs and became enlightened. Unemployed people blog a lot.

Unemployment is a depressing time. After a year it becomes impossible to get hired because H.R. people don’t want a liability. You lose faith in yourself and what you have to offer. It is demoralizing. Everyone has advice on how to find a job.

So, it must be you, right? You are a wholely unlikeable person. You smell like week-old fish rotting on the dock next to a jar of assholes. That’s why you can’t find a job.

You are unmarketable and you have an English degree. Woe unto you. “Woe to you scribes…” (somewhere in the Bible).

Or perhaps, as I read from this really neat blog, written by Archemdis:

The world is not letting you choose what you want to be anymore, it is telling you what it needs and if you choose to study something else then you will need to be very lucky if you get hired after you complete your studies.

This topic of this blog post is interesting in what he states. I had never thought of that. I thought I’d go to school and invent myself, but the more you think about your education and what doors are opened by it you realize maybe it was the other way around the whole time. Most Entrepeneurs didn’t finish graduate and post-graduate studies. They did it.

This brings up two interesting themes I’ve found. One relating to school. The other relating to action.

I chose to go back to school to try a different career. I found I shouldn’t have gone back to school at all. It was a waste of my time. I only did it for an internship. An internship that taught me a lot but hung me out.

Archemdis  writes that school is meant to keep you busy. Sure, I felt that way in school. Unless we were discussing something really cool, like Milton. Those discussions were fun because no one cares about crusty old literature outside of academia.

I read further and found a blog that touches on both, and in its harshness really illuminated how rethinking you goals can paralyze you. I always think maybe I just I need to go back to school. Maybe I need a marketing certificate, or a management certificate, or any number of certificates that make me more marketable. No way. This blog made me rethink why I believed that. The blog was,

Careers With An English Degree: How Reading Books Can Paralyze You After Grad School

It laid out why school makes you think you need more of it. You get stuck in a cycle of waiting. You become accustomed to waiting. Learning is a process of repetition but of also trial and error.

In First Nations Education, a study I completed in university, I learned that traditional education focuses on letting the child learn by doing, and therefore he will learn his way of doing it. The 25/25/50 rule goes against everything Western education has inculcated in us. Read the blog about the 25/25/50 rule.  It’s basically 25% reading, 25% study, %50 do.  Western education dictates you can’t do anything unless you have a certificate saying you can do it.

On the Career Professionals of Canada blog I found a great article, Why Capable People Can’t Get a Job. Even if you smell like fish guts, maybe being unemployed isn’t abnormal.

What is normal is not having a job.  What is abnormal is having a job, even for professionals, despite conventional thinking to the contrary.  While most professionals are accustomed to being employed, little do they recognize their good fortune in having a job, especially one that is personally fulfilling.  They only realize this when they become unemployed for a while.

The blog lays out some interesting job hunting tips like where to look and how to deke gatekeepers.

And finally, I read something that made it clear. Job hunting is demoralizing, but don’t let it take you out. Work Coach Cafe has some advice to stay positive, When you can’t find a job…do you forget how good you are?

The post addresses how job hunting eats at you and perhaps some creativity is needed in continuing.

I write even if I don’t get paid to because I enjoy it. The blog article, Careers with an English degree, points out that you should just publish an article yourself. Job searching is sadistic. After a few months and  bouts of insomnia, the job boards look like they are really not looking for you or your qualifications. Yet, you must have something to offer.

Hey, if you read this and need a copy writer or editor hit me up. I’ll even work gratis, since I’m not working at all.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ramona permalink
    June 29, 2011 1:22 pm

    Hey Jeffrey, if you are seriously hoping for a copy eidting /proofreading job, you need to fix your typos. Or get a fresh eye to peruse your copy. The hiring people at those places are brutal.

    • jeffdoesread permalink*
      June 30, 2011 11:08 pm

      Is that supposed to be funny? And thanks.

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