“So, what do you do?” If these words inspire fear and trembling, you, like me, might be job-hunting.
As you may or may not know, I spent 3.5 years of my life and a somewhat extensive (for Canada) student loan on graduate school. Having completed my Masters in Clinical Counselling, I am now ready to take on the world.
Since job-hunting can be a stretching experience, I thought I’d write about it. ‘Cuz that’s what I do when something is hard or exciting or strange or hilarious. And then I remembered, I have written about job-hunting! In my pre-blog days, I used to type pithy posts and save them to my folder where they never again saw the light of day. But today, I’ve dug this up from the archives to give you a glimpse into Amelia’s Brain on Unemployment, circa 2010.
This gem is from Year 1 of married life, in which Varun graduated from University at the height of the recession and spent over a year looking for a job, while I worked as an intern for campus ministry. When my contract ended, we were both unemployed. That was the summer of resumes and learning to iron and ultimately, moving across Canada to our new home (and job!) in Ontario….
Did you ever wonder why Mr. Roger’s went to car factories and bakeries and music stores but he never took you to visit someone who’s unemployed? You might have thought this is because he wanted to inspire you to work hard and develop skills and if you saw the good life of the unemployed who watch the Price Is Right all day, you’d never finish kindergarten. Probably it’s because he didn’t want to depress your socks off by showing you that after years of recess and algebra and history classes, there’s a chance you might not get a job at the bakery, or even as a Mr. McFeely doing speedy deliveries.
After being unemployed for 5 official business days, I feel at liberty to reflect on the topic. My expertise comes not from my own experience, but from my husband’s 369 days of unemployment. You see, I would say that unemployment is harder than working. What?!, you say. While it’s true that you can make your own schedule, sleep in and eat instant noodles whenever you want, having a job has its perks. Income, for example. And, as much as I crave flexibility, having a regular schedule does wonders for your sleeping and exercising habits. And let’s be honest, how much Youtube can you watch? (A lot, I know. But 369 days worth?)
But really, the worst part of being unemployed is the noise that is as constant as a dripping faucet. It’s there at parties, while out with friends, while checking job postings and especially on the 1st of each month. This, my friends, is the noise of responsibility. It’s the voice that whispers, “It’s 8:31 am, what are you doing in bed?!” and, “Rent’s due, again? Wow. Time flies”. You see, the difference between a planned in-between-jobs vacation and being unemployed is just that: plans. When there’s money in the bank and vacation on the calendar, we’re happy to prop up our feet for weeks without feeling restless or guilty. But give yourself one day on the unemployed roster, and you’re up to your neck in guilt thicker than gravy.
I have to say though, mad props to my husband for his persistence. As I type this encouraging and helpful diatribe he is warm-calling CEO’s at companies for which he’d like to work. This man is a champion. In fact, he’s a genius at job-hunting. After only 2 days I realized my ineptitude and turned to him for resume and CEO-stalking tips. I wonder if he shouldn’t open up a job-hunting business, he definitely has the requisite experience in searching…
In all seriousness, I have a whole new respect for those 9.9% of Americans and thousands of others who are unemployed. Although we spend our days sending out resumes and “working”, I think physics makes a good point by calling “work” force multiplied by displacement; this means that any energy exerted that doesn’t result in movement isn’t “work”. Likewise, the job-hunter spends hours exerting energy and at the end of the day hasn’t seen much movement. But, luckily for these job-hunters, Youtube has enough Star Trek episodes to fill any void of frustration.
Wow, apparently Amelia’s Brain On Unemployment (2010 Edition) was way better at Physics than the 2015 Edition is. Because that last paragraph was a doozy.
At any rate, my thoughts and feelings this go-round are quite different. For one thing, my affinity for Star Trek has declined markedly. For another, I’m working part-time so ‘unemployed’ is not the most accurate term. I’m also experiencing this time of job-hunting as one of opportunities; life is so very full of friendships and learning and serving and growing. It’s turning out to be a season of asking questions, exploring my identity and being brave. Perhaps this calls for a follow-up post…
But for now, I have job boards to search and a chocolate chip cookie speedy delivery to make.