Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prospects Are Dim

This weekend -- August 19 to be exact -- I will have been away from full-time employment for four months. That is 120 days. 2,880 hours.

During that time, I have concentrated diligently on re-finding full-time employment. To that end, I have answered more than 100 Internet postings for jobs in my field, corporate communications, marketing, writing, PR, etc.

In response, I've had exactly four interviews. Two were by phone. To which there was no follow-up face-to-face interview.

One resulted in a first interview, which failed to get me the position.

The other resulted in three face-to-face interviews, all of which resulted in my not getting the position.

Job hunting, I've determined, is one of the most soul-sucking, psychologically crippling, professionally humiliating exercises on the face of the planet. Adding to the entertainment is the knowledge that the longer it goes on, the more you get the unique thrill of watching your savings ebb away to nothingness.

Nest egg? Cracked open months ago! We're now slurping the yolk, sopping it off the plate as if we're holding an piece of economic rye toast.

Retirement fund? You're next, meaning that we'll be eligible to retire, oh, somewhere around age 105.

The pursuit of employment basically comes down to this:

Hi, Biggity-Big Corp. (BBC). I see by your ad you want someone with exactly my qualifications. To launch my candidacy, I've got to survive your electronic screening process, which is basically a computer program designed to look for keywords you've pre-entered -- marketing, writing, editing, success, management -- as essential for your opening. Ping on enough of those and I'll advance to the next level.

Where I'll then be subjected to automated searches on esoteric concepts such as social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization, best-practice communications counsel, strategic advancement, skill leveraging, and stakeholder maximization.

And then and only then do I stand a chance of human interaction in this search, albeit over the phone.

And glory be! Should that go well, I'll stuff myself into a suit (have these pants gotten tighter or did I pack on a few pounds from the stress of being unemployed?), drive like mad to the BBC headquarters (Mapquest directions clenched in my teeth), wait in your antiseptic anteroom, and, at the appointed time, finally shake your hand and look at you eye-to-eye.

A period of waiting follows. And waiting. And waiting. During which time I am knock-knock-knocking on other doors, hoping to advance with some other Biggity-Big Corp.

If all of this sounds incredibly time consuming, it is.

It is said that looking for a full-time position is a full-time position. If that's true, the pay sucks. And there are no benefits.

Actually, that is not entirely true. There have been some benefits to the mountains of time this period of unemployment has afforded me. True, none of them involve a traditional paycheck, at least not yet. But hope springs eternal.

The most significant plus to this little adventure has been the additional time with my family. Being summer, I am now home with my girls in a Mr. Mom arrangement, as my wife earns our daily bread working as a bank teller. I am, thankfully, able to supplement her income (and our Unemployment Compensation) with my musicianship, which has had me covering for vacationing accompanists as requested. The time home with my girls has been enjoyable; I know that I will never again recapture them to such an extent in their present realities: Sophomore in college, Sophomore in high school, and sixth grader.

In addition to looking for work and attending to parenting duties, I have spent this summer:

  • Putting the finishing touches on a music composition that has sat fallow since 2010, with the eventual hopes of getting it published
  • Embarking on an e-book publishing project
  • Fantasizing about burning off my former boss' eyebrows hair-by-hair with a hot poker
  • Attending to a number of household repairs and fix-its that have been hanging around
  • Placing an American Kennel Club (AKC) rally obedience title on our dog, with the goal of further competitions
  • Training in earnest for the 75-mile bicycle trek for charity, for which I volunteered to ride
  • Serving as taxi-driver to my non-license-holding offspring, supplying transpo to movies, mall trips, and swimming outings
  • Wasting far too much time on Facebook
  • Fantasizing about burning off my former boss' eyebrows hair-by-hair with a hot poker
  • Volunteering for some copywriting needed by my church
  • Volunteering an additional night as an assistant at a dog training class
  • Fantasizing about burning off my former boss' eyebrows hair-by-hair with a hot poker
But as I watch daylight recede in the mornings and evenings, I realize that the summer is quickly ebbing away. With September in the wings, it is time for the girls to return to school.

And me to return to the world of the working.

I'm trying to keep a positive outlook on this dilemma. To trust in the Lord. To remain prayerfully faithful and faithfully prayerful.

But I may have been talking to the wrong guys.

Rather than the Lord Himself, it may be time to ring the bell of St. Anthony, finder of the lost.

Or, when I'm feeling really blue, St. Jude.

Patron of lost causes....

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