Part of a series of posts from my old website archives. Enjoy!
page 2: what’s on my mind
Unemployment is a bitch.
It ravages the mind. It ravages the body. It ravages everything in your life you hold dear. It changes your feelings on everything.
Most people, after losing their job, quickly find work somewhere else. Sometimes, it’s in the same field. Sometimes, like now, it’s in a line of work completely different.
Therein hides the bitch.
I have discovered, yes it is true, that I am too picky. I am much too picky. Several opportunities have presented themselves to me, and I passed them up after a small amount of thought. “I don’t think I’ll be happy with it.” “I don’t want that kind of work.” “I’m waiting for something better.” Picky. This is the very reason why I was forced to come home after living decently for fifteen months in Greensboro, North Carolina. After losing my job there, I spent all of two months unemployed, broke, and depressed. I met a hell of a lot of good people during that time, but I couldn’t survive. I came home.
I’m home now. There’s nowhere else to fall to.
Previous jokes and comments aside, Texarkana is not a ghost-town. There are webwriting jobs to be had. There are system maintenance jobs to be found. There are entry-level positions available at a lot of companies here. It’s not barren. Conversely, it’s not a bustling just-about-to-explode growing metropolis. The demand for people who can do these things is smaller than the number of people who can do these things. Those who apply may possibly get those jobs, but Texarkana works on the incumbency system: once you finally get a job, you sit there and refuse to budge. People get jobs and they stick with them. Not too many positions fall off of the Old-Boy Network table.
I’m having a time dealing with that. Do you need somebody to do n? “No, uh, not right now.” Are y’all hiring anyone? “No, uh, not right now.” Why not? “Eh, it’s the slow season, but come back in September we might have something.”
That’s too long from now. Creditors don’t wait.
Unemployment is trashing me, and hurting me in a big way. I’ve been very down for a while, and that’s a hard thing to live with. For the past few weeks, I’ve had the heartache of dealing with what’s wrong with me and why I don’t have a job yet. It’s a time when your own personal worth is based on your ability to support yourself. It’s called being a grown-up. My pride is hurting, and my self-esteem is on the skids. I feel I’m two inches tall. What’s wrong with me? Where is my motivation? Who is to blame?
Ah, there it is: BLAME. In my mind I see countless people I have known look at me and speak comments like “It’s your own damn fault. If you wanted a job bad enough, you’d have gone out there the day you lost your job and found one. But, it’s five weeks now, and you’re still not working. You must be a loser bum.” I also see countless people, in my mind, saying “Well, it’s hard working a job you hate, so go out there, try your best, and you’ll get that dream job.” I’m stuck in the middle between the hard-asses and the dreamers, and I’m feeling two inches tall.
I lost my job because of something that I was as a person. I lost it because of a personality trait I have that doesn’t reflect too well on my job performance. It says something about me as a person, about my sense of responsibility, and I want to change that. I think about myself and list off countless reasons why I have this personality trait and count off even more ways to change it, countless more solutions I somehow choose not to follow. It’s something that I can change and it’s something I cannot change. I’m not a company man, but I’m a good worker. I work hard, I do my job right the first time, and I do it the best I can. But it’s not on their time. Somehow, it’s not up to their expectations. If I’m habitually late, there’s nothing I can do to get back into my employer’s graces except become habitually early.
That’s something I’m working with. That’s something I’m dealing with. Going to a job is a big thing to me, and it’s something I approach with a small amount of daily fear, dread, and hatred. The type of job I may be working is inconsequential: in my whole life of working, I have had only one single job out of all of them I enjoyed going to, and still, even then, I hated going to work. Putting myself on someone else’s time-clock is not something I’m comfortable with. Dedicating a large portion of my time to putting money into someone else’s coffers does not bring me any joy, especially if it is a job I care little about, have no interest in, nor anywhere where I can convince myself that I’m doing something worthwhile, interesting, or (gasp) fun.
This is what I would like. It’s my goal, if you will. Understandably, that may not happen for a long while. It’s my dream job, but I have to pay bills now. If I can get a tech job, fine. If I can work with something resembling a keyboard and a monitor, fine. If I can be somewhere that will pay me decently enough to catch up and maintain my monthly payment responsibilities, fine. I have to have a job NOW.
This daily reckoning with myself is growing old. This daily reckoning is wrecking me, and it’s something I have to push past to get anywhere in my life.