Posted by: joha5 | May 11, 2010

Unsavory Unemployment

Unemployment – for lack of a better cliché – is like a roller coaster ride.  You have significant highs and staggering lows.  It can go by insanely fast or it can move extremely slow.  Sometimes you feel excited and other times you feel scared.  You are never on the ride alone, however, but when you look around and see the people who you are on the ride with it can be extremely depressing. 

For the most part, I just try to enjoy the ride as best as I can – and why shouldn’t I?  But there are some days when it just becomes impossible to do so.  Today is one of those days.  Everything feels totally in flux today.  I feel like I am out of options of where to look.  I feel like I am out of options of whom to talk to.  I feel like the rejection letters I got today don’t help anything.  And what’s more, I feel like I don’t really have much of a direction.  Opportunities for jobs and networking come and go on a day-to-day basis so I am not so concerned about that because it could change at any given minute.  What I am concerned about is finding a direction that I want to go down as I hunt for my vocational voice.  I feel like I am in an M.C. Escher painting.

Where the hell am I supposed to go?!

Make no mistake, I have direction.  It just seems that every time I try to follow a path to where I want to go I get shut out and redirected somewhere else.  It is endlessly frustrating.  As soon as I come close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel it just vanishes and I am back to square one.  For the sake of full disclosure – I have actually been offered jobs.  This is why as low as I feel today about everything, I don’t actually feel sorry for myself.  Rather, I feel frustrated in the situation I am in.  The jobs that I have wanted have not wanted me and the jobs that I have not wanted (or very marginally wanted) have wanted me.  It’s quite a catch-22. 

What I need from a job is stimulation – careerwise, financially, or educationally.  I didn’t think that this was too much to ask for but apparently it is.  For example, I feel like I could work in a job that I found exceptionally tedious and boring if it paid well.  Conversely, if the job was captivating and interesting, I would happily accept less money for the opportunity.  Anything in between would be considered.  This was my strategy.  However, after the whole market crash and the ensuing recession, things have not really panned out as anticipated.  I am forced to compete with who knows how many dozens of people for every single position that I apply for and, as a consequence, the employer sits handsomely in a very powerful position.  If I am lucky enough to get an interview and progressing through the hiring process they end up low-balling me on money and essentially tell me that if I don’t take it then somebody else will.  I want to argue but the sad thing is that this is true.

I suppose that it is just the lack of control that has really gotten me frustrated today.  I feel like my options are exhausted and that I don’t know where to turn or who to look to for help.  I know it won’t always be like this and I know that this will all be over sooner than later.  But it is frustrating.  It is really, really frustrating. 


In the end, I must remain stoic and optimistic in the face of adversity.  This will all only seem like a tiny blip on the radar in the future and I assuredly will be able to look back on this whole thing and laugh one day.  It will seem like it was all meant to be and that it was a character building experience.  I know all of this and I genuinely believe it as well.  It’s just getting through days like today that make it exceptionally difficult to envision.



  1. I think I had this day ALL of last week. This week, I’m heading back up the roller coaster’s towering ramp, but I know that the drop at the end of the slow ascension is fast approaching. For now there’s the hope that the ride will break on the way up and that one of the jobs I applied to this and last week will reply to me; but the drops getting closer. See you on the way down, but I also know I’ll meet you on the ferris wheel someday soon, where the swoops up and down are metered and go more at the pace of a balanced life.

    Your friend in the manic world of unemployment,

    • Charles, your life doesn’t go in a metered ferris wheel fashion. Your life is more like riding the bumper cars. Things go smoothly for a little while and then you have a jarring experience causing you whiplash and irritation so you drive faster and faster to get revenge only to get bumped even harder. Then the ride stops and you die. Enjoy the rest of your life!!

  2. Yeah I hear you too…I got a rejection today from a job that I was perfectly suited for and really wanted. The interview went well. And yet they chose someone else and I’m stuck in my boring admin job for which I am totally overqualified and underpaid. Frustration indeed. Hoping things look up for us!

    • I don’t know why or how intelligent and qualified people like us are having such difficulties. Seriously, it is an abomination! Things will look up for us eventually and we won’t even remember how terrible these frustrating days have been. It will be awesome.

  3. Do what I did… start up your own company!! Sell your SERVICES (not your body) and make some money!!! Someone will see your potential and hire you!!

    OR, you could move to Philly, work for me for pennies??

    • Hahaha! How is your company doing by the way?! I meant to ask you about it a while ago. I hope you are kicking ass and taking names. And as far as working for pennies, I pretty much already do when I teach now!

  4. yeah the economy is really bad. I can totally relate. Especially to the frustration and lows of the job search. Sometimes the interview goes great but somehow you’re not selected.

    • The highs and lows are pretty immense but I just cannot even imagine the high I will get when I FINALLY land a job. I won’t even know what to do with myself when it happens. Ugh…I can’t wait! But in the meantime I at least have my blog and all you wonderful and intelligent people reading it! Thanks so much!

  5. I never did like being employed. I always thought I knew more than my boss. Then for ten years I was a boss, and all my employees thought they knew better than me. So twenty years ago I became self employed. A sole trader. And I love it. Nobody to answer to but my customers.
    It seems to me that you, Jon, are a writer. You may, at some time in the future earn good money from your blogs. You may write for magazines, or you may write short stories and novels. But writing’s what you clearly enjoy.
    Have fun. Bill

    • Bill, I gotta say that I LOVE your life. It seems like you picked your path and travelled down it come hell or high water and I desperately want to be able to say the same about my life when I look back on it. I appreciate your directional advice on writing as well, Bill. I have always loved doing it and it is something that I am incredibly passionate about. It is just finding somebody who can pay me for it or who appreciates what I have to offer that is the hard part! A boy (man?) can dream!

  6. you have a way with words…it would be a pity if that did not become your vocation in some way 🙂

    • I would love to be able to use writing in my next position. It’s just finding somebody who a) appreciates it b) has a use for it and c) can pay for it! And in this kind of economy that is quite a challenge! But I’m not going to give up anytime soon…don’t you worry! Thanks so much for your really sweet compliment too. I’m so glad you enjoy what I have to say.

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