Friday, February 25, 2011

Tales of the Unemployed

Today I sent out a total of 10 resumes/job applications to 10 different companies. That's a good day. A few weeks ago I sent out 22 in one day. That was a great day. Most weeks I get between 2-4 applications out in a week. I've been doing this, looking for a job full time, since I was released from my job at the end of April last year. I've actually been doing it for longer because my last job was a temp job that lasted 2 years and after I had been working there for a year I realized the management had no intention of bringing me into the company as a regular employee, so I started looking for a different job then. For twenty months I've been on a constant job search. For all the cover letters I send out through the mail, I keep a copy for myself. I have a stack now that looks like a novel.

Yesterday I went to a Career Expo. I try to take away something positive from every experience I have. I can usually say that if nothing else, the experience was worthwhile because I learned something new, met someone new, had a good time, got to experience something exciting, etc. I hate to say this, but yesterday's experience was a complete waste of time. Several of the booths were occupied by colleges looking for students; I already have 2 degrees and I really don't want to spend any more time in school. Most of the employers were looking for very specific individuals: people in the medical industry (nurses, e.g.), people in the transportation industry (truck drivers). There were also three casinos there and though I'm not against gambling, it's not a place I would like to work. Oh, the Navy had a booth, too. There were only two employers that were worth my time to talk with. The first one told me they only accept applications online. That was no help to me because I've applied with them online twice. The second told me that they only accept applicants through a particular temp agency and work on a temp to hire basis. That wasn't really any help either because I'm already registered with that temp agency (it's one of 3 I am registered with and call on a weekly basis).

I was really depressed when I left that career expo yesterday. I've seriously been looking for work for a long time now. I'm still young, college educated, and have a life of experiences that would make me a valuable employee at any company. Yet, I can't even seem to get an interview anymore, let alone a job. Last spring I had a job interview with a company where over 900 people had applied. I was one of about 30 people who were invited in to take a test and have an initial interview. I got a second interview and the people at the company informed me that I had the highest test results of everyone who had been tested. One of the people I interviewed with told me straight out, "You got an interview because we wanted to see if you were the real deal and not someone who just got lucky." I asked him afterward if I was the real deal and he said, "Yes." I didn't get that job and found out later that it was probably because of my experience working in radio and theatre; one of the interviewers doesn't like people who are "entertainers".
I keep clinging to hope, but as the days have turned into weeks and the weeks have turned into months, I find myself struggling to cling to hope. I've done all the things I was supposed to do. I've even done some things I wasn't supposed to do, but tried anyway because sometimes "thinking outside the box" brings better results. Yet, there has been no results. In my adult life (I had an old soul before I ever hit puberty), there have been times I've really struggled with the darkness. The past few years have been really difficult ones and it just seems that I can't get a break no matter what. And the unemployment eats away at my soul like a cancerous worm.

I try to look on the bright side of life. I can still go to church where I like. I can still read books, watch movies, visit with friends. I still have freedom. But, when you've been in the situation I'm in and it's gone on for so long, it's really easy to lose sight of the small things that are capable of bringing such joy. Instead, you see the rising gas prices, something you watch on a daily basis anyway, and think, "Good Lord! What if I don't find a job soon?; how will I be able to afford gas?" You hear the clock ticking because unemployment compensation only lasts so long. You're living expenses are already at a bare minimum and you keep wondering what are you going to do when the "charity" (that you didn't want to accept in the first place) runs out. Contrary to what they might say publicly, places like Wal-Mart and McDonalds don't people like you because, as they've told you to your face, "You're overqualified." You read economists who say that "the economy is slowly recovering" but you know that's not true because you've been searching the help wanted ads and the Internet for over a year and there are the same number of listings now as there was a year ago. It's hard to keep hope alive when you're in such a situation.

But, somehow you do. You keep pressing ahead. You keep looking and searching and praying. You fan that flame of hope because that's one light you don't want to ever see extinguished. You keep telling yourself that something has to give, that the damn of blessings have to gush forth soon. When you tell yourself this, you feel a flicker inside and it gives you the strength to keep pressing on. As Andy says in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." Amen.


Sarah Says said...

Good luck with your job search, being out of work for months at a time really has an affect on your morale and how you feel about yourself. Bummer about the lame career expo as well. No bueno.

TV said...

Thanks for visiting, Sarah. The career expo was a bummer. Thanks for the link, though those are things I am already familiar.