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Worldwide Ace » Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get?

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Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get?

27 January, 2009 (09:02) | Work

willworkformoney

My heart thrums. The seconds are counting down. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

I know I can do this. I know I can finish before the deadline.

My fingers start slapping away. My veins pulse with adrenaline. It’s what I like to call magic time, when the impossible becomes possible and everything works.

In an hour or two, my project will be done. And it will be done well.

I love working under pressure. I love having a deadline I have to meet. In school, I often would wait until the last minute to do things just for that feeling.

Now, there’s no pressure. And yet, there’s stifling pressure.

“So how the job search coming,” everyone asks. As if the economy isn’t in a downward spiral with unemployment ravaging federal funds with abandon. Even busboys can’t keep their jobs right now.

“It’s going,” I reply, not wanting to bitch and moan.

“Any interviews?”

“Not yet.” Not even a call back or an email from a real person, I think to myself.

“Have you tried [insert website here]?”

“Of course I have,” I lie. Maybe I actually have tried. At this point, I can’t even remember where I haven’t been.

When I started applying for jobs, I spent all day every day dropping applications, making phone calls, and searching the web for every job site out there. I apply four 40 jobs my first day.

But there aren’t really any good job sites for what I do. Monster.com is completely unintelligible for technical media people like me. Craig’s List has sketchy jobs and writing jobs, but no one seems to respond and there are fewer and fewer jobs each day. The number of jobs listed that require your own studio of expensive equipment is insane. Must have car. Must have camera. Must have macbook pro with Final Cut HD.

As the recession deepened and the number of places I hadn’t looked for jobs, the number of apps dwindled right along side.  I can’t even properly fail without an opportunity to fail.

Being unemployed is similar to being self-employed. It takes confidence, conviction and determination. It takes motivation. I don’t seem to have any of those anymore.

Many people succeed by following routines. I wake up relatively early. I go for a jog, grab a shower, get some breakfast and I catch up on the Internet. That’s generally as far as I get before my routine collapses. I tell myself to apply for jobs and keep looking, but after 15-20 minutes and 40-50 listings that don’t fit me, I find myself clicking the Stumble button. On a good day, like today, I end up writing instead of stumbling. On a great day, I find a job or five worth applying for that I hadn’t applied for already.

Regardless of what type of day it is, by lunch, I’m out of things to do. My dad recommended I cold call companies, mentioning how they interest me and how I’d like to know more. Maybe they can point me in a direction or tell me who to talk to. But the dozen or so I’ve tried have all blown me off, which is disheartening and depressing.

Tomorrow and Thursday, the University of Colorado is hosting its job fair. I’m planning on going, but the 3 hours of bus ride in single digit temperatures is discouraging me. It doesn’t help that my bank account is empty and I don’t have any cash for bus fare either.

People tell me to keep my head up. Something will come my way. I’m starting to doubt that.

Encouragement is supposed to help keep spirits up, but all it does is make me more depressed. Suggestions remind me that no matter how much I may want a job—no matter how hard I’m trying—I’m not even close to getting one. I know in my heart that people want to help, but it feels like mounting expectations making it that much more likely that I’ll fail in everyone’s eyes no matter what job I get.

This morning, I applied for a job as a police dispatcher. If I get it, it’ll likely mean working graveyard shifts, weekends and holidays. But the pay is good. And the benefits are good. I don’t really want to be a police dispatcher, but at this point, what choice do I have? It’s not like my degree is worth much.

On the upside, at least it’s a job that’ll apply some pressure.

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  • Paula

    Hey, Ben (is it?)

    I really liked your comment on Efrain’s restaurant – is it really that good? I am writing so I can procrastinate another few hours on an important task I do not want to concentrate on…

    Yes, the job market sucks, and no sense in false optimism. Sure I have advice but you do not seem to want any, so none from me :-). You might want to know that your website does not show the whole sentences on the right… I am not an expert, but have a decent monitor, so they should show. Just a random comment, not a criticism. My daughter codes manually, so I caught a snippet here and there.

    Have a ggod day and good luck with the job search!

    PH

  • Paula

    Hey, Ben (is it?)

    I really liked your comment on Efrain’s restaurant – is it really that good? I am writing so I can procrastinate another few hours on an important task I do not want to concentrate on…

    Yes, the job market sucks, and no sense in false optimism. Sure I have advice but you do not seem to want any, so none from me :-). You might want to know that your website does not show the whole sentences on the right… I am not an expert, but have a decent monitor, so they should show. Just a random comment, not a criticism. My daughter codes manually, so I caught a snippet here and there.

    Have a ggod day and good luck with the job search!

    PH

  • Anonymous

    I do think Efrain’s is that good, but I don’t know if I’m in the majority. I have a fair number of friends who’d agree with me, but that’s hardly enough sample size for a true conclusion.

    I’m not sure what you mean about sentences not showing up. If you have your monitor set up at a low resolution, I could see how that might happen, but you should be able to hold control and use your mouse wheel to zoom in or out to get everything in view. What browser were you viewing in and what’s your screen resolution?

    Thanks for the well wishes.

  • I do think Efrain’s is that good, but I don’t know if I’m in the majority. I have a fair number of friends who’d agree with me, but that’s hardly enough sample size for a true conclusion.

    I’m not sure what you mean about sentences not showing up. If you have your monitor set up at a low resolution, I could see how that might happen, but you should be able to hold control and use your mouse wheel to zoom in or out to get everything in view. What browser were you viewing in and what’s your screen resolution?

    Thanks for the well wishes.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no doubt that you need to find paying work and that looking for paying work is, in itself, a full time job. But whether or not you have to grab something like the dispatch job which is not in your chosen field, you can still keep your skills and contacts alive by doing some non-paid or spec stuff for various local media. Those things don’t pay money but they are good to keep yourself in front of people in your industry and to have something to show that you’ve always been serious about working in media when the job market recovers. How about producing some stuff and putting it up on PRX? There are probably other channels as well.

  • The Old Bear

    There’s no doubt that you need to find paying work and that looking for paying work is, in itself, a full time job. But whether or not you have to grab something like the dispatch job which is not in your chosen field, you can still keep your skills and contacts alive by doing some non-paid or spec stuff for various local media. Those things don’t pay money but they are good to keep yourself in front of people in your industry and to have something to show that you’ve always been serious about working in media when the job market recovers. How about producing some stuff and putting it up on PRX? There are probably other channels as well.