Monday, June 23, 2014

Realizations, with bullets.

In applying for dozens of jobs, I realized a few things. Here they are, with bullets.

  • My laptop's software is severely out of date. I'm not entirely certain that I'm not working with the same level of technology as I was in 1996, borrowing my roommate's Brother word processor.

Dramatic reenactment
  • There are a surprisingly large amount of people who wander around downtown in my neighborhood in the middle of weekday afternoons. I mean, allowing for some staycations and students, overall, doesn't everyone have jobs???
  • I have to start giving myself props for my ability to speak and write eloquently, even when I am talking utter and complete bullshit. I am honing this skill in spades throughout job applications and cover letters. Truly, this is one of my gifts. If I were a sociopath, I'd be remarkably successful. Normally this kind of self involved thought would disturb me but I'm just glad that I'm good at something. I literally just came up with a teaching philosophy statement that I pulled from the nether regions of my butthole. Or maybe I gleaned it from various online samples, I don't know. Related question: Why is it not possible to answer questions honestly on job applications? Instead of employing my mad writing/lying (wrying?) skills, I could simply say, "I am not in any way passionate about this part time job I'm applying for but rather I am desperate for a source of income and would do a good job under those Pavolvian circumstances." Frankly, that should be good enough. Too much emphasis is placed on the expectation of "passion" on the part of the employee. Can't you people just be happy that your applicant NEEDS MONEY and will work as hard as they can in order to get money?

  • Even in bulleted format, I am capable of going off on tangents.
  • I just spent 3 hours, I repeat THREE HOURS filling out an online application for a PART TIME JOB. I get the vetting process and that they won't hire just anyone but I feel like a significant part of my brain has died. 
  • I really advise against job seeking and online dating simultaneously. It is an exercise in masochism. 
  • I need to go outside to take a walk because my butt hurts and I feel deflated. I just realized that butt and deflated were used in the same sentence. Maybe I need a nap.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Various levels of fidelity

Oh, hello!

I am still unemployed. However, despite this uncertain, cloudy sensation of SO MUCH TIME PASSING, it has in reality only been 20 days. Thankfully, my freakouts have become intermittent as opposed to constant and gnawing. As of today, I've applied to 48 jobs. I have gotten no callbacks. If I wanted this kind of silent rejection, I would have gone into acting. Or been a real writer.

I've been doing my ever loving best to fill up my time in such a way that I don't feel like an utter dirtbag with no job. It helps that I have a part time job to fill up the hours on certain days. I've started an exercise program and I finally got around to getting rid of that old laptop that has been in my possession since 2007. I took a bike riding class last weekend and I have been practicing singing at the top of my lungs during the quiet afternoons in my apartment. The conversations I have with myself have progressed from scintillating to slightly disturbing and Facebook has become a tether to the working world. (You guys are just like me, always online but at least you are getting paid for it!) I'm all caught up on Orange is the New Black, Law and Order SVU, Kroll Show and Inside Amy Schumer. I've read like, four books and endless piles of magazines. I have enrolled in a thumb twiddle workshop and gave myself a part way decent pedicure. I take 6 supermarket trips during the week instead of my usual 3 and my emails to friends have become luxurious, self indulgent opuses that I usually get so embarrassed by that I end up deleting them and sending pared down versions with the bare minimum of "I'm doing just fine, yes. I am totally NOT daydreaming that I'll sprain my ankle but have no health insurance to fix it properly and walk with a limp the rest of my days, no. But yes, I'll totally take you up on your offer of dinner and lunch and drinks." (I honestly have the BEST friends ever.) I'm spending way too much time poring over job ads that say things like this:

"Comfortable in an agile environment of rapid iteration and experimentation, prototyping at various levels of fidelity."

as a requirement. And asking myself "AM I comfortable in an agile environment of rapid iteration? Should I put THAT on my resume?" I've been hanging out for hours with Jeff Buckley and Frank O'Hara and Wes Anderson, wondering if it is at all ironic that back in those not so long ago days when I was working 6 days a week, 13 hours a day, ALL I dreamed about was the ability to do exactly what I'm doing now which is a whole lot of bullshit nothing and doing it with abandon, accompanied by a cloying worry that I'll start talking to myself in public like Jasmine, only not as blonde and in a decidedly less designer homeless outfit.

Future me?

I'm tempering my free time with invented tasks of decluttering, organizing, writing, wining, channeling, planning, driving, walking and oh dear god I just need a job. I'm getting all Colonel Brandon up in here. "Give me a task or I shall go mad." My career is like Elinor, thrashing around on the bed of a really bad head cold.

Before he was the Governor, he was Colonel Brandon. Either way, he had jobs.

Look, all I'm saying is, please hire me. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Dischargers

There are times in my life (lately with alarming frequency) during which I'll realize what date it is and find my brain in a groggy, disconnect, as though I have just woken up from a late afternoon nap, confused at the darkness outside. It could be morning, it could be evening. I feel panicked that I am not doing something I should be doing or meeting someone I've made an appointment with and in complete disbelief that I've arrived at such a late date in the year, utterly without ceremony or even an x-ed out calendar square to mark the days that came before.

If we are friends on Facebook or in real life, you'll know already that I was let go from my full time job after six years. Well, about 5 years and 361 days. The rumor mill was on hyper grind the past six months or so and each day as we got closer to the end of the semester, the more broken down and piecemeal our futures seemed to get. People were stressed, nosy, snarky and back-stabby. On more than one occasion, I heard tell of people crossing the great divide of that great divided building to come into the library to speculate about how we should all look for jobs. We were dunked, forcibly inside an ice cold tub of speculation. I tried to allay it by staying in my little windowless office for six months but it came to me. It floated on the echoes of all those gossipy sirens, marooned behind their desks with their little singsong desires to see people crash into the rocks with all their belongings in a lidless cardboard box. Toward the end there we may as well have started a pool; at least the ones who got voted off employment island could have had a monetary prize to take home and cry into.

In the end, I was one of ten who got called up to a room with two young executives who had business cards and business suits and business eyes. I saw them and just thought "You are the Dischargers." They could've been comic book villains, thwarting everyone who is too comfortably settled in their job with separation agreement and a cackle. They wore grey suits and wedding rings and slick hair and clean-lensed glasses. They spoke in hushed tones and, had my life been the movie I've always suspected it was, the song playing in the background of this scene would have been "Karma Police". It would begin at the most appropriate lyric:

Karma police, arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He's like a detuned radio

And, after just one jargon filled, initial here and here, we're really sorry but it isn't you it's us hour, I walked out of that room with an escort. It was a long walk. I'd been punctured in a small but significant way and I felt myself deflating in the silence of the elevator. I threw all six years of my things in a box and as I said goodbye to my coworkers, I cried, but only because loss is always unexpected, even when you see it coming. 

I suppose it is a rite of passage of sorts, getting laid off. I hope this works on a quota system because mine is filled. I'd love to expound upon the next phase of my life but there is only a big old TBD stamp on its face, obscuring all the relevant text. I've sent out a million resumes, gotten in touch, lit the fires. I still have my part time job which is populated by the nicest, most generous and caring people I've ever worked for and they have given me extra hours and expressed concern about how I'm doing on a daily basis. Long term, I just need a job. It doesn't even have to line up with my career, such as it is/was, it just has to line up with my direct deposit. And now I wait.