There were three things I wanted to do once I graduated and I had the time to do so; a) go to Vegas; b) go on a cruise; c) go to Europe. Of course, do do any of the aforementioned, one needs money and because I am normally fundamentally unlucky, I’m not one to enter a lottery and win copious amounts of money. Thus, I resorted to thinking, “I shall work somewhere, and then I shall earn the money to go places and do things.” I figured that since I graduated and earned my semi-coveted degree, and I was not tied down to strictly ‘summer’ positions, I would have no problem finding something at least semi-decent. That was almost three whole months ago.
Actually, it was even more than three whole months ago; I’ve been applying for full-time jobs since February and March of this past winter, in hopes of securing myself something that paid well before the end of the school year so that I would be able to graduate, and then start working. I forgot though, there’s a recession. And that made all the difference in the world.
Unemployment, for those who haven’t ever lived it (as in, not by choice) is a bore. Actually, that’s much too weak a word to describe the tedium that weighs down on my empty, meaningless, lazy life. It’s like a permanent case of Mono. You wake up every single day, and see the sun, and hope that with the light of a new day, promise will shine down upon your lost soul and grant some kind of sought-after hope. However, it usually ends up that you (well…. me) end up wandering around the city for the bulk of the day, meandering in and out of various shopping malls, stopping for drinks and snacks at various coffee shops, listening to songs on shuffle, going to movies you can’t afford (lots of movies… some more than once), and… what else do I do? Sometimes people ask me what I did the previous day. And I don’t even remember. For the purposes of writing this, I was trying for a moment to remember what I did yesterday; honestly, I don’t remember. When I’m not doing something social or going to a concert, I’m doing nothing with nobody. I just sit around and hope that someone calls. And then Friday at around 5 o’clock rolls around and I know that the week, just like every other week, has been completely fruitless and completely lost. And in five years, I will look back and wonder exactly how I spent my summer. Some people go on vacation in the summer, some people go to school…. because I don’t work, I can’t do either of the latter. And so this time of my life, in the future, will remain a complete blank; a whole lot of nothingness.
And that’s not to say I haven’t tried to get a job. If anyone’s tried, it’s me. I apply for at least five jobs a day, every day. And I’m not talking solely $20/hr government office jobs or secretarial positions in high-rise office buildings. I’m talking retail positions with totally crap hours, Starbucks, makeup counters. Anything that I can feesibly do (ie: I can’t mentally or physically be a waitress because I’m a flighty klutz, and I don’t do fast food or grocery stores… come on, you wouldn’t do fast food or grocery stores either). I apply at boutiques, gift shops, clothing stores, shoe stores, offices, department stores, chain stores… and my phone just sits there totally dead, because nobody wants to hire me.
Let’s analyze why for a second. One one hand.. I have a VERY good resume. I have volunteer experience, ten years of job experience (yes, I’ve been working since I was 13), I have a bachelor of arts, I’m a five-time scholarship nominee, and if anyone asks, I have a great GPA, thus proving that I have mad skillz at studying and applying myself and showing up for class. So theoretically on paper, that all looks good. But — for some positions, like management or social services, it’s not good enough because those employers want specifics; degrees in related fields for example, or experience in the “social services field” (something that I long to have, and WILL have… but not at the moment). Or else — they look at my resume and think, “well she’s got a lot of experience and is clearly very smart… obviously she’ll leave as soon as something better comes along so we can’t hire her; we’ll hire that high school girl instead.” So when you’re either under or over-qualified for everything, you’re stuck working about 10 hours a month at a part-time job you have that’s getting just a LITTLE long in the tooth for your liking.
There’s this scene in the film Fantasia 2000, the “Rhapsody in Blue” Al Hirshfeld-penned sequence, when all of the main characters are dreaming about what they want more than anything in life; the little rich girl longs for love from her parents; the construction worker longs to play drums in a jazz band; the little down-and-out man in the fedora longs for a job. I’m the little down-and-out man in the fedora!!! If I could have anything in this world, right now, I would put aside previous dreams and longings that I’ve had and ask for a job! Anything passably enjoyable that pays any amount of money! I want to work! I want to go into work everyday, half-dreading it, half-understanding that it’s my duty to be there! I want to serve customers with a fake smile while feeling superbly awkward inside about doing so! I want to hate on my boss! I want to look in the bank and see deposited paycheques!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT A JOB! I WANT TO WORK! More than anyone! I’ve never felt this way before. It’s like desperataion has taken hold of me and I feel like if I don’t get a job and make my own money soon I’m going to go absolutely MAD with boredom and meaninglessness! And because I’m holed up all the time doing nothing with nobody, I have no inspiration to write, no time to ponder my thoughts precisely due to having too much time to ponder, no appreciation for my days off, no money, no experience, no way to go to Vegas, no way to go on a cruise, no way to go to Europe.
I hate my life, in short. I mean… I don’t. But I hate this part of it, the part that needs income to enjoy life more than I already do. The part that today, wrote TEN pages about how I would decorate Alumni House if I lived there for no apparent reason at all, other than because I was bored. The part that doesn’t recall what I do with my days because all of my days are one long poor day. The part that freeloads constantly because I’m in a hole of despair. I’m losing hope. There isn’t hope anymore. There is only me singing Woody Guthrie songs in the gutter with a hat of pennies and an old pair of dusty spats.
When I get a job, if I ever do, I swear I’m NEVER going to take it for granted. I’m never going to legitimately complain or try and find ways out of going to work. I’m going to march in there every single day with a positive attitude and go above and beyond as much as I possibly can in order to really FEEL employment. Because I haven’t felt “real” employment since the summer of 2007, something that I DEFINITELY took for granted then and never plan to ever ever ever again. I will bloody well work overtime if that’s what it takes. I’ll work on boxing day. I’ll work through Christmas! I’ll do anything! ANYTHING!
Friends… a word of advice; to those of you who work seemingly dead-end jobs that you hate, for those of you who go to work complaining about rude customers and slave-driving bosses and bitchy co-workers… you have a JOB. And a job is like a magic winged key or a magic potion or a relic or a spiritual talisman that offers life guidance. In other words, it is something that I am jealous of and hold very sacred and you should too, and you should never take it for granted. It’s your ticket to doing so many things in your life and I only wish I could have what you have. Please go to work and think of me, who has no work and could bother to sit around typing this for a lack of something better to do. I used to think I was lucky to have so much free time but I was so so very wrong.