Dispatches from the Suburbs of Hell

Heaven is for the obedient. Hell is for the wrathful. What of the ones in between? We wind up in the Suburbs. Our sin is individuality. Our punishment is boredom. But at least we're in good company.

Location: New England, United States

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Long Dark Night Begins

Unemployed again, jiggity-jig.

Of course, this time it wasn't my fault. Really, it never is. I have been the victim of layoffs in most of my career changes, and this one is no different. With the exception of one firing which was really for the best, I've always ever been laid off from a job.

Doesn't make it any easier, though. Fault of my own or no, the fact remains I am unemployed. For the short term, I am okay. I have severance, I have savings, and I have unemployment insurance. And I am actively hunting for work. The problem with job hunting, though, is that it's a lot like fishing. Skill and technique aren't so important as is patience and luck. You send out your resume and you wait for a bite. And not to toot my own horn, but I'm quite hire-able. My recruiter said so. I have faith and confidence that I will be tapped for a decent job soon. It's just a matter of time...

It's the time I have an issue with, though. Once again, it's comparable to fishing: there are bursts of activity interspersed with long stretches of WAITING. I hate waiting. I mean, what are you supposed to DO? This is why people bring beer on fishing trips, I suppose. Only it won't do for me to be stinking drunk between interviews. I've tried that; my liver still isn't speaking to me.

I saw this most recent layoff coming, fortunately, so I was able to emotionally prepare as best I can (which is only so much, as anyone who's been laid off can tell you). I made a vow that I wouldn't wallow in self-pity. I was determined to make the most of this time. To keep my mind and body sharp and healthy. Continue my exercise regimen. Get some reading done. Get back to writing. Do some research. Keep myself busy. Stave off the rising tide of madness.

Best laid plans, alas. For the most part, I've been hanging around the house playing Dark Alliance II and listening to punk rock (I drank all my alcohol the first week, so...). I keep telling myself that, dammit, I need to get back on the path! I don't want to be a useless lump! I need to stay sharp, and not go insane. I fear my body isn't as gung-ho about this as my mind is...and that worries me. Maybe my head's just not in the right place right now.

It's a sobering thing for those of us who believe in an ordered universe to be thrown for such a loop. To realize that cause and effect are not absolutely predictable things. To realize that competence and diligence do not guarantee gainful employment. That you can do everything you were supposed to do, that you can play by the rules, that you can excel at everything you apply yourself to, and STILL lose your job, through no fault of your own. That NOTHING is certain, in this economy, in this WORLD. The point makes itself evident: the days when a person could have a career are gone. People aren't staying at companies for 25, 30 years, moving forward and upward until a genial retirement. That time has passed. Nobody stays at a company that long any more. COMPANIES don't stay in business that long any more. Maybe there is no longer any such things as a steady job, or a solid future. Maybe there is no moving forward; maybe there is only an endless cycle of hirings and layoffs, of working at a place for a year or two and then getting tossed out. Maybe there is no point of worrying about the future, because there IS no future. There is only more of the same.

...these are the places my mind goes when I don't keep it distracted. All the more reason to get back on that path.


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