2015 has been a time in my life during which I haven’t (publicly) said much. This is because I haven’t had much to say that people wanted to hear. Mostly I’ve been living the limbo that is being perpetually unemployed, yet fortunate enough to be able to live at home. With medical concerns for the extended family coming into play, I am now living in my mother’s basement. I have become, at least superficially, a living cliché.
Due to those medical concerns, I could not go out and find work for nearly half a year. When I have been able to search, the results have been. . . uninspiring. I have gone into day one of a job this year only to find out that I didn’t actually get it, but the temp agency never bothered to tell me, even though that’s what they were supposed to do. I went to a hearing while I was receiving unemployment compensation, because I played a gig and claimed the income, which is what you’re required to do. It felt more like an interrogation, conducted by a referee who was so humorless he was incapable of using the word “gig” without quotation marks.
I have been interviewed for a job that I had previously held for six months, for a company I was told would like me back when business picked up again. Somehow, somebody else was a better fit.
What I’ve learned this year (and I’ve expressed dissatisfaction with measuring one’s life in predetermined yearly increments, but it’s convenient right now) is that it’s easier to receive an unsolicited bullet than it is to get a job.
Well shit, Mark, where did that come from? And isn’t that hyperbolic? Of course it is, even for the United States. But after the events of today, and five days ago, and a couple of weeks ago, and who knows what else that hasn’t been widely reported ago, it sure feels accurate. And I guess it comes from resentment — the resentment that comes with looking at where our priorities lie, as the collective people of one nation, and being told that I’m the crazy one.
Now, how much am I to blame for my current situation? Quite a bit, to be sure. After all, I’m the one who chose to attend an appallingly expensive institution in order to study a highly particular skill set, leaving me in that bizarre situation of being simultaneously under-and-over-qualified for most work that would otherwise be appropriate for me. Certainly nobody owes me work, but I think that, after a year of following leads that went nowhere, I’m — dare I say, “entitled” — to be a little bit frustrated. And let’s not forget that if you’re not spending every waking moment of your life working, you’re a sorry excuse for a human being. Allegedly.
But I won’t let any of that stop me. I admit to feeling angry, spiteful. . . a stronger version of discouraged. . . among other things. I don’t exactly have a whole lot to lose either. So I’ll keep on trying. Trying to finally make it on my own, and trying to make other people’s lives better in the process, however I can. The power of empathy compels me. Empathy, which is far more powerful than any gun.
I will now close this time capsule with lyrics from an old friend of mine. Simple, yet potent.
Now it seems we still struggle with our dreams
But I will not live in fear like you