My Inklings of Coherence

Meandering to the beat of a different drummer, these are my thoughts. If you are offended or angered by this blog, or feel it is of low-quality, please accept a full refund of your contribution.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

At the back of the Unemployment line

Humbling. Frustrating. Two words that I would have to use to describe the last week. I am on the job hunt. Because of some brilliant maneuvering on my part, I find myself unemployed without any definite plans. Yeah, more than a little scary.

When all of this came down, I had a plan. That plan has begun to take its sweet time in resolving itself. What I thought would be a relatively seamless and painless transition has become very much not. Once again, things just don’t seem to be moving at the speed of Jeff. When it is so obvious that it could very easily move along the time line that I have in mind, someone or something decides that we will do it completely differently.

So here I am, having made a promise to my sweet wife and kids that I would never let them go hungry or lose this house that we worked so hard to get. Throw in the added pressure and embarrassments that this is all due to my ineptitude, things are lookin’ rosy.

What’s the plan? Well, Sunday afternoon, I hit the classifieds. There are two definite job possibilities that I have already begun to work on, but the time frame (see above) is a little longer than desired. I find three more possibilities in the paper. Now, I realize that re-entering my “field” and finding a good full-time job that will continue along my career path may take a few weeks to pan out. So I also need to find something to bridge the gap. I figure that can’t be too hard. I’m a smart, responsible, drug-free, hard working guy who has experience doing several things. I should be able to find something pretty quickly, so long as I don’t set my expectations too high. Just something to endure in the short term. My first lesson in humbling myself. I realize that I got myself and my family into this situation; I am going to have to endure some things to fix it.

And so, it’s off to the “temporary employment agencies”. I have learned that these places usually fall into one of three categories, none of which were especially encouraging for me. First, you have the agencies that specialize in secretaries, admin assistants, exec assistants, etc. These people are looking for experienced typists, filers, and payroll and accounts payables folks. Oh, and they usually are looking for females. Not that I want to turn this into a gender equity thing, nor do I want to be accused of being a male looking to take away even more jobs from females, but I would be terribly surprised if any of these agencies have ever placed a male in any of these positions. Second, you have the agencies that specialize in sales positions. But the rule is, you have to have experience in sales to get any of these positions. Yeah, I know, the vicious cycle. Third, you have the unskilled labor agencies. These are the folks that advertise for the ditch diggers, warehouse workers, the truck loaders, etc. Their trick is that you need to be pretty mechanically inclined (i.e. having driven a forklift, some kind of technician, drive a full-size truck, etc.) Seeing as how I am a male with only white collar experience and not in sales, my prospects seemed to be dimming. But you know what? This is for survival and I need to humble myself and put in the leg work. So, by Tuesday, every agency in town had a copy of my resume.

Then came my next humbling experience. In need of immediate cash, I fell back on an old college trick: plasma. For about two years in college, I was a regular at the plasma donation center. I, along with many of my classmates, would spend the 3-4 hours a week, laying in a bed, watching a movie with blood being drained from our arms, and then collecting our $50. When you are in college, $50 a week can go a long way. And even though I was 4 years of full-time professional work removed from starving college days, $50 would still go a long way.

Unfortunately, my plans to quietly re-enter the college plasma scene were nixed when I found out the college plasma place was closed. Luckily, there was another center open on the other side of town. So off I went.

Now, I don’t want to sound racist, classist or any other kind of –cist, but this was a humbling crowd. And I’m sure I raised some I brows when this big white guy, dressed in a shirt and tie, fresh off dropping his resumes off for $40K a year jobs, shows up at the plasma center. But you know what, this is what I had to do for my family.

I know, I may be coming off a little disgustingly self-righteous and playing the martyr card a little too much, but you go through that and tell me what I’m supposed to say. You lay there with you college degree, work experience and realize that you may be lying next to somebody who is going to use the $30 to go buy crack. Then, go apply for jobs at Wal-mart, Target, Albertsons and various labor unions, where you have to list your previous employers, your duties and responsibilities and your pay. Then turn in the application and watch the lady’s face read it and just look at you like you’ve either got three heads, a liar, or a complete incompetent. Then tell me that you can think of anything other than, “this is for my family and I need to do whatever I can for them.”

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