Going into my 10th month of unemployment, I’ve been reduced to looking myself in the mirror and saying…”Holiday seasonal work, can you please arrive sooner?” Yes, the thought of explaining how a Blu-Ray disc works to your Grandparents at Best Buy seems like a Godsend at this point. I’ll admit, when I was first laid off from a cushy office gig last year it felt more like an early Christmas gift rather than a nightmare. Severance pay, time off and a chance to recharge my batteries until after the New Year seemed fantastic. I’d hit the ground refreshed and running in ’10! However….I quickly learned the ground was moving, covered in glass, with flaming hoops every 10 feet (even Super Mario shudders at the thought).
It’s funny, because as time goes along the stigma of being unemployed morphs for everyone.
In months 1-2 you tell people without much thought since unemployment is so common nowadays. You see it on the news, read it in the paper, and hear it from friends. Everyone is sympathetic to your plight and they truly wish you the best (while they’re glad it’s not them).
Going into months 3-4 you give the same spiel when asked, but throw in “It’s just so dry out there! I apply for jobs all the time, but rarely hear anything back”. People nod and tell you, “Good luck! I’ll keep my eyes open for you” (translation: look harder slacker)!
During months 5-6 you do everything listed before, but enthusiastically throw in “I’ve been on a few interviews, but no solid bites as of yet! Still waiting to hear back on a few opportunities though!” People nod while simultaneously visualizing you watching daytime television on the couch. Their disgust of you grows.
Months 6-8 you don’t care to explain and no one bothers to ask. You’re officially jaded by the job market and could care less to explain anything for the umpteenth time. People begin referring to you as “the unemployed one” to their friends, and conversations with them become shorter and shorter (as they fear you may request money at any given moment).No one gives a shit what you do until you find something….anything. You begin to share those thoughts as well.
The point I’m getting at being, is unemployment so widespread it’s become its own job category? Not a week goes by without me hearing about another friend or acquaintance joining my ranks, so we are obviously expanding our sector. I’ve even noticed we have our own daily routines to keep in step with the 8 hour workday. The local gym is packed in the mornings with the unemployed masses (along with stay at home Moms, old people, and fitness fanatics). The grocery store. The mall. The movies. The gas station. We are everywhere! I’ve even developed a 6th sense to help identify my fellow brethren, as we have to establish dominance over one another during a confrontation (usually done by comparing notes on who’s been out of work the longest). No different than touting seniority or a fancy job title at work, right? Either way, it’s just food for thought.
Oh yeah, while I’ve got your attention….. can I borrow $20 bucks until Friday?