Let me start off by staying that unemployment is never fun. If you do fun things while you’re unemployed, willfully unemployed, you are choosing to not have a job, which is different from suffering from the unemployment flu. Being willfully without a job can mean that you’re doing something creative, fun or awesome instead, like riding a unicycle next to a captain with one eye and two peg legs while sailing on the Mediterranean to the sound of a mix tape of beluga whale calls, which doesn’t even make any sense. To me, unemployment means that the “denials from potential workplaces” folder has more emails in it than your spam folder. It means that you grimace when you get any mail because of fear that it is going to require a checkbook and you signing away your savings in blood. It means that the encouraging looks from your friends and family have become derisive, questioning. “Is he/she trying?” “Their standards are just too high.” “Back in my day, you could just walk into a place and ask for a job.” “I mean, retail isn’t that bad.” “Suck it up.”
That last section is great. It really feels wonderful to feel judged by all of your friends and family who are electing to not take you seriously. It really makes you want to see them, shoot the breeze, until they have to go to work and, not so subtly, inquire into your own state. Not everyone I know is guilty of making me feel like crap, and sure, some of it is definitely comprised of me taking their remarks too seriously, but it still hurts. I have pretty thick skin, but after a while it is hard to dodge the blows. I don’t want to work in food and I don’t want to sell cheap, polyester clothes made by impoverished children. Those are apparently two standards that make it impossible to find any job, ever, because even entry level positions to anything else have a baffling 2-3 years of field experience as a prerequisite. For a while, I was looking into office positions in schools around Portland and couldn’t help but laugh when I saw 3 years prior experience was needed for a janitorial position in an elementary school. I know kids can be pretty rank, but that is just extreme.
I’m just looking for a job that offers growth. Not in a way that has me upgraded from selling women’s scarves in Nordstrom to selling shoes, or from Junior Frycook to Head Frycook at McD’s. My bad, I thought it was good to have some kind of foresight into the future. Instead? Just a lot of ridicule and commentary about how I’m not being realistic.
So, next time someone asks, “still no luck on the job front?” The answer is no. You would know if the answer was different. I know that, occasionally, the concern is coming from a good place, but it no longer feels that way. Stop making it a topic of conversation unless I invite it to be one, or you’re just being a dick. The wound is open, there is really no need to keep on pouring salt in it. I appreciate it, I do, my sanity just needs you to quit it, because it not only hurts my feelings to be judged, but you’re just telling me what I’ve heard a thousand times over. No, I haven’t even received a phone call. Yes, I’m sure the applications all went through. No, you don’t have to buy my coffee (unless you’re doing it out of a gesture of niceness and not a she-can’t-afford-it-lol-ness. Then? Then you can buy me coffee. I’ll have it black like my soul).
I’ve considered going back to school until I realize that I don’t know what I would want to go back for, which means I’d be sitting in an expensive version of my mom’s house, only where I have to buy my own groceries, pay tuition, and possibly live in a mold-infested apartment. Until I figure out what is ~right for me~, I’m not going back. That begs the question of how I’ll find what’s right for me, and, uh…that’s a bit harder, because I don’t feel strongly about a lot of things and don’t really have a “strength” for me to go on. Some people are good at science, some at history, or math, or civics, or art, or acting, or singing, or underwater basket weaving, but me? I don’t really know what I’m good at yet, even though I’m okay at a handful of things. Know what I wouldn’t be good at? Smelling like grease or dealing with ungrateful jerks who call on me for help when they need the zipper of the 20 sizes too small pair of pants that they insisted they could fit into. Isn’t knowing what you hate sort of a step closer to finding what you love? Sorta? Kinda? Maybe?
There are other avenues I’m beginning to look into, ones that will hopefully not make me shrivel into a carcass of misery, so I’ll keep you posted on those as I go along. After all, cart-horse, chickens before they hatch, etc. Don’t worry, it isn’t prostitution. To those people trying to help: thank you. You make my mental breakdowns slightly less lonely feeling. Which is good, because they happen often enough to where it makes a difference.
Well, I’ve been working on my aunt and uncle’s farm all day and am covered in enough dirt to feel like a 3 year old who has discovered that mudpies are awesome. Time for a shower and more wonderful self-reflection. Showers are good for that, you know? I know this turned out a smidge rant-y, but that sort of comes with the turf.