Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So How's The Job Search Going, You Ask. Part III.

Meters swum in July, Swim for Distance Month: 37.5 (with two days to go)

Playing in the Background: Rain, apparently. Unless the squirrels are throwing acorns at the chimney again.

In case you're keeping track, August will be Month Five of the grand unemployment adventure. As far as the TDI is concerned, though, it's only Week Thirteen. This means I still have thirteen weeks of unemployment payments to go, which, if I use all of them without any breaks, will take me right through late November and into the Christmas seasonal employment rush. So doing okay there. Course I'd prefer to go back to work way before then. Joan would probably also prefer that. I think unemployment is harder on the spouse of the unemployed person than it is on the unemployed person. Sure, you gotta deal with that "what was wrong with me in the first place" thing and the "why doesn't anybody want me" thing, but the spouse, God help her, is placed smack into the middle of a situation that is A. unstable and B. she has no control over. Course none of us have any control over anything, but at least we get to feel like we do once in a while.

This is probably the longest I've been out of work since college, when I distinctly recall spending most of one Christmas break at home watching the "screaming dog of the day" $1 rentals from the local video store (most of them scummy horror films with the occasional blowing-things-up-for-no-reason actionfests) because I was the only one who didn't have a job. And yes, this does suck, but the suckage is only in moderation. Plenty of things suck worse. If you wanna know how worse, pick up the book Columbine by David Cullen. I'm reading it now and, yeah. That sucks worse. Hard enough to go through high school at all but imagine being the survivor of a school shooting and having the media follow you everywhere you go for the next two or three years until you either graduate ("an astonishing success after such tragedy") or fail to ("another victim of the inexplicable violence"). Eesh. It's my new Book o'the Decade, so check it out. Of your local library. Or wherever.

I had an interview today with a recruiter (yes, another one; I think there's like 50 in town all trying to fill the same 3 jobs) and left very reassured. She told me she had a woman last week with identical credentials to mine plus an M frickin' BA, and said woman hadn't had an interview since April. I've had scads of interviews; therefore, I am doing something right. The competition is just really frickin' fierce right now. Firms are interviewing nine and ten people just because they can. In making the decisions, it sometimes comes down to irrational things like looks and handwriting. (I'm not kidding. Someone Who Would Know told me this.) Since I don't look like Marilyn Monroe and my handwriting is, uh, interesting, I'm out of luck if they're going by that. But who knows if they are? Ya just don't. It's a jungle out there.

That aside, though, I've come upon some truisms about the whole looking-for-work thing. Item One, it does not benefit you whatsoever to take a full-time job you don't want unless it has health benefits. If it does, taking it for that reason is probably okay, because health benefits are expensive. Otherwise, though, you're just making it difficult to keep looking (which you're going to do because you don't want the job.) Unless paying the mortgage is becoming impossible (which it isn't, in my case), it's better to find a part-time job or a temp gig so you have time for interviews.

Item Two, if you can, take a part-time job or a temp gig so you have time for interviews. (Nice segue, huh?) In Texas, at least, having a part-time job does not disqualify you for unemployment benefits. There's some formula by which they continue to pay you a lesser amount, and don't ask me what it is but it's on the TDI web page someplace. If you make too much money in a given week to qualify for an unemployment payment, they'll just postpone your unemployment benefits for that week. Which is how I got to 13 weeks when I've really been out of work for 18.

Item Three, I can't afford to think about any of this stuff. Not how long I've been out of work, not how much longer it's gonna take me to find a job, not how I'm going to pay the bills next month. If I do I will make myself crazy and there are plenty of things out there to make me crazy without my help. I gotta concentrate my mental energy on What I'm Doing Today. (And "How am I going to pay This Particular Bill?", which, remarkably, hasn't been a problem yet. And shouldn't be as long as I continue to take em one at a time.)

When you think about it, none of us should be wasting mental energy on the future anyway. As Mariko put it in Shogun (another Book O'the Decade if there ever was one, but I read it years ago), "There are twenty tomorrows between that day and this one. Anything can happen on any of those days." That philosophy is both shockingly Buddhist and would fit in well with the whole Twelve Step thing. One day at a time and all that. And the most important thing to do at any given time is what you're doing at that moment.

But I will still make this prediction: I predict that in the immediate future, I will get up and make myself a quesadilla. Oo, I'm right. That's a hit!

2 comments:

Dave Cullen said...

Thanks for the rec, Jen. I sure appreciate you spreading the word.

Good luck on the job search.

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