There is no other activity so exactingly orchestrated in modern western life to make a person feel so worthless, hopeless, and alone as looking for a job. Honestly. It's worse than looking for an apartment (which is just a contest of who gets there with the money first), or breaking up with someone (which allows you to blame someone or something other than your own personal failings), or a death in the family (which isn't personal at all, outside of that whole contemplation of mortality thing). At this point I think I've held more jobs than most people ever even apply for; I've applied for at least ten times that many and quite possibly more. So I'm beginning to consider myself a bit of an expert on this particular flavor of hell.
I guess I'm stuck in the same predicament that many people my age - the twenty and thirty somethings of today - are now facing. Hey, look at me! I have a college degree! It's kind of like saying, Hey! Look at me! I have two feet! The applicant that didn't meet the qualification would be the much more rare specimen; it will glean you little more than a pat on the head and a "don't call us, we'll call you." Then of course we have the concept of "downsizing" and a major recession to deal with, not to mention the fact that there now approximately one gajillion young, bright, overeducated people out in the big wide world competing for anything and everything that will get the rent paid and provide health insurance.
And before you get started, no this isn't because I live in New York. Yes, there are more people here competing for each job. There are also about forty times more jobs as the next largest city you can name on any given day. Really. Go look at Craigslist if you don't believe me.
So there's this vast sea of well qualified, well educated, well heeled, often attractive young people jumping up and down waving resumes and yelling "pick me!" And then you have me. I am such a textbook case of being my own worst enemy that I'm considering offering myself up as a test subject... for cash, of course. You should have seen me at the headhunter today. I may as well have written "I don't want to be here" across my forehead. Every cell in my body rejected the place, the idea, the fact of enlisting these people to get me a job that I DON'T F*CKING WANT. Yes, oddly enough, spending the afternoon begging people to get me something the very thought of which makes me want to set myself on fire makes me somewhat unhappy.
I want to be able to pay the rent, and keep my studio, and eat and have electricity, and take a class now and then, and buy clothes every once in a while. I don't want to prostitute my soul and my mind for it. But where's my way out? Where is secret option number three? A cabin in the woods and subsistence farming? Living off of credit until I go bankrupt and take Jonathan with me? Suicide? The first one I'd do in a heartbeat if it didn't actually cost copious amounts of money. The next two aren't what I'd call practical or sustainable or desirable or anything good at all.
* * *
12:30am on the day that we like to call "today", Tuesday, July the twenty-ninth of the year two thousand and eight but what in reality was last night, found me crouched on my kitchen floor gobbling tofutti cuties. Do they make it better? No, not really. But inside of their creamy goodness, there is nothing else. There is nothing but sweet and cold. There is just me and the chocolate ice cream and the cookie bits clinging to my thumb and forefinger. Like smoking, it has a centering and focusing effect. It is a happyplace, one that I went to thirteen times last night for lack of better judgment. It would have been fourteen, if Jonathan hadn't intervened. There was of course also the real dinner, and the drinking. I find solace in imbibing, in consumption. In the simplicity and self involvement of it. Of course, when it's all ice cream it makes me sick.
* * *
Later. I've had a nap. I've re-worked my resume now, into something the headhunters want to see. Take out paralegal, emphasize assistant and support to the senior partner, use bullet points, and for the love of god don't make it longer than a page (even if the second page is only references). At least, I think I've made it what they want. I don't really know what they want, or what anyone wants, which is I suppose the essence of the problem. When it comes to so many things, I just don't get it. This is, for instance, why advertising makes no sense to me.
So I guess I'll go on their goddamn interviews. Assuming of course that they manage to get me some. One lady that I talked to today kind of 'got' me right off the bat, mentioned first a place that was "very laid back" and then something at a museum; her I liked. This other dude was all, I have something at a corporate finance place downtown. I really wanted to tell him I'm probably not your girl, but I'll jump off that bridge if and when I come to it and we get to interview scheduling phase.
This afternoon there was also the phone interview with the small web design company that shall not be named - learned that one the hard way, didn't I long time readers? Anyway, I hate phone interviews, and because I got stuck at the agency for so long I ended up having to do it in a Starbucks on 41st Street. I didn't bomb it like the one with GreenCorps - oh god, was that a massacre. But whether or not I did well I have no way of judging. I'll just have to wait until tomorrow and see if I get a call asking me to come in for a real interview. I did what I *hope* is the right thing and sent an extremely brief email tonight, thanking the girl I spoke with for her time today and saying I look forward to hearing from her soon. That's what you're supposed to do, right? I swear I read that in a book somewhere...
My confidence is, to say the least, shaken. It's not being helped at all by the fact that I don't actually want to get a job. I need a job, I have to have a job, I will take a job, but I am full of so much trepidation at the idea of re-entering this world, the one I left because it was killing me. See, I left because it was killing me. And now I'm back, knocking at its cold hard doors, asking to be let inside for a few more licks. Thank you sir, may I have another? I haven't been to the studio since last Tuesday; already the soul and the important things begin to die...
But now for the delivery Thai that's just arrived. Giant vat of soup and gianter plate of curry fried rice with tofu: Here! I! Come!