Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get?
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.
“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.