Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wherein Andrew Whines

You might have noticed that I don't have a "personal" tag for any of my posts. That's because I fully intended to keep this blog free of my personal life. There are privacy concerns, to be sure, but mainly I just didn't want to talk about things like that. I was worried about boring you, and, frankly, I was worried about boring myself.

Well, I'm still worried about that, but it's late (or early) and right now I just want to write something.

I spent about an hour tonight trying to fall asleep without success. The idea that kept bouncing around my head was the realization that I couldn't remember the last time I had a good day. It's a small thing, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember the last time I had a legitimately good day.

Don't misunderstand. My life is hardly a blasted hell scape. I've had very few truly bad days since I lost my reporting gig back in January. (Yikes) I've got a pleasant roof over my head, food to eat and more than enough money socked away. I recognize that my life could be a lot worse than it is.

And yet, it cuts me that I can't recall when I last fell asleep in a good mood. Even in my situation, unemployment is a drain. The funny part here is that the day-to-day reality of my unemployment isn't unpleasant. I wake up. I surf the web and apply for any jobs that look remotely appropriate. I have lunch. I surf the web some more. I read. I watch TV. I surf the web some more. I update this blog. I eat dinner. I surf the web some more. I go to bed. Repeat.

Hell, some people would prefer that to work. No responsibility, no real stress. I get to keep up to date on political developments. I get to argue about the Braves and the Gators.

But by the end of the day I'm stuck with the realization that it's been a mental slide since those moments when I first checked my email. See, that's when I have a vaguely plausible belief that I'll find something life-changing in my inbox. A new job, the dream job, could be waiting for me. It's very exciting.

And after I sort through the inbox and discover no offers, the nothing that is my day can truly commence. I've peaked at 11:00 am.

If most of my days are uneventful, it just makes the few crummy ones all the worse. To give you some idea of the variety of jobs I'm applying for at this point, I'll tell you about a banner day I had a few weeks ago. In one afternoon I applied for a public affairs job at the FBI, a "communications specialist" gig at Boise State University and a straight reporter position at The Washington Blade. The Blade, by the bi, is a gay newspaper.

Against all logic, I actually became rather enthusiastic about the prospect of working in Boise, Idaho. A year and a half ago when I graduated from college, the idea of taking an office job in Idaho would have been laughable. But now, after about six months of unemployment, an economy in the tank and my chosen industry slowly dying, hey, Boise State seemed pretty damn cool. I worked in Baker County, Florida, after all. Boise's a real city with restaurants and movie theaters and a university. I'd get a chance to do some writing; press releases, internal communications, articles for those silly alumni magazines with names like Boise Today and Buckin' Bronco!. Not a bad job, all things considered.

I found out Thursday that I wasn't getting the job; the good folks up there were nice enough to send an email to the rejected, which is an appreciated courtesy. I also received a rejection letter from The Lawrence Journal-World later in the day.

It was strange, how much that bothered me. A job in Idaho and a newspaper position I had forgotten I had even applied for combined to throw me into a funk. Not a "find the closest thing to a cliff in Kansas and throw yourself off it" funk, but definitely a "spend 15 minutes reading the same sentence in the book you're holding" kind of funk.

I guess I never really thought of myself as unemployable. I had a lot of advantages growing up, not the least of which being two parents who considered a college education to be a standard cost of raising a child. I graduated in December 2006 and had a job offer by late January 2007. I started that in March 2007. About six months later, exactly on the timeline I had imagined in my most optimistic projections, I had the chance to interview for a fantastic job at another organization.

For obvious reasons I won't mention what organization. But the job fell through, and, after a series of boring events, I lost the job I had.

That was in January of this year. And I haven't had a good day since.


Anonymous said...

I'd sympathize, but I've got a feeling I'll be in the exact same position a year from now. So yeah.

Don't be afraid to write about yourself, incidentally. I'd read it.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there, CuffBuff. I know the feeling. I was in the same position, more or less, when I graduated college. Eventually, somebody will pick you up and, if you're reasonably talented, you'll distinguish yourself and move up.