Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Fired Up

It’s a challenge, when you’re unemployed and actually relied on your income for your life essentials, to wake up every day and explode with joy and optimism. The news doesn’t help – hitting you with mixed messages – GDP UP! Retailers are worried about holiday sales! The recession is over! Unemployment in Missouri remains flat! Meanwhile you network and apply for jobs and try to figure out how to crack through the HR Linebacker who arbitrarily (or not) determines whether (or not) you get to interview.

And then you meet people who give you The Look, when they hear you’re out of work. I think the only thing that keeps me from punching The Look off their faces is that I do understand it comes from a place of sympathy, but fu-uck. It rolls pity, despair and pessimism into a tortilla pinwheel of bitterness, and makes you want to cover all the mirrors in the house and wait for shivah to be over. (no, I’m not Jewish, but I could be.) Really? You, who are employed, are going to look at me like I’m Eight Belles and waiting for my overdose of barbiturates and think that’s gonna help? OK, obviously you do, so this is my Public Service Announcement to all of you: IT DOESN’T.

Ask me what I did, what I want to do now. Do you know anyone in your circle who needs those skills? That’s the best response. Give me your email. Send my resume on to them. (And for those who have done this for me, Bless You. You are heroes and on my Jen Got A New Job Party List. Yes. I’m optimistic enough that I have, already, considered the party I will have to celebrate once I’m re-gainfully employed.)

JWo caught the movie “Fired!” one day and told me I needed to see it. So I set the DVR, and once it was recorded? I let it sit. Because I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it – there’s a certain camaraderie out there among us all, and there are a lot of us, just from advertising alone. I’ve even made some new cool friends and reconnected with old ones because of the shared boat. But sometimes it can also feel a bit like salt in the wound, when someone gets to leave the boat, you wonder how/when/why/where your stop will come, and do I really want to watch famous comedians and people bitch about how they lost their jobs and have since gone on to fabulous Hollywood lifestyles? I’m not even trying to have a Hollywood lifestyle. My blog is as famous as it gets, and unlike some, I don’t pull down half a million or more doing it. So, I let it sit. And then, one afternoon, I watched it, and immediately wished I’d seen it sooner.¬† It really is good. And the biggest surprise, was that I found myself moved to angry, agreeing tears with none other than Ben freakin’ Stein, someone I consider to be waaaaaay over there (gestures Stage Right) from me on the political scale. So moved, in fact, that I transcribed what he said, because I couldn’t find it anywhere already, and by god, it’s passionate and I couldn’t agree with him more:
“The real problem is an ethical problem. It comes about when the workers are laid off, their pensions are terminated, their health insurance is terminated, and then the management reorganizes the company in bankruptcy¬† and walks away with hundreds of millions of dollars while the ordinary rank and file has been laid off, fired, their hopes and ambitions and aspirations destroyed and that is happening all over America and its sickening.”

“There’s something extremely unappealing, about saying we’re trying to stay competitive, therefore, you’re fired but I get a hundred million dollars.”

“It is disgusting, it makes me want to vomit that we have people in Iraq and Afghanistan laying down their lives for a just, lawful, compassionate America, and here at home the looters are running wild. That just makes me sick, and I think there should be a stop to it … it disappoints me very much that Mr. Bush, whom I like very much, is not taking major steps to reform the bankruptcy process so that people cannot put a company into bankruptcy, destroy the lives of the employees and then walk off with hundreds of million of dollars in stock, that is a very very bad situation.”

— Ben Stein, in Fired!

So, off I go, to check in at the unemployment office, where I will go through a ridiculous government-created mouse maze to prove that I am a real human being who is unemployed, because writing out my name with a two-inch pencil and turning it in to one person, who then sends me to another line to put my SSN into a keypad, and I’m directed to a bank of computers, where I’ll punch in my PIN, on the same website I can access from home, and wait 60 seconds for the computer to process my information, all of this will allow me to keep receiving my unemployment checks, which will tide us over until my boat stop arrives.

This time, though, I’m taking some hand sanitizer with me. And that, my friends, shows us that in every situation, no matter how mundane, demoralizing, or trivial, there are lessons to be learned.

1 Comment

  1. sue

    Thank you for this post. I think some times people are too embarrassed to talk about how they really feel about it all. Although we are ‘self employed’ and aren’t going to be fired from our farm, I see it with my family and friends all the time and my heart goes out to you. It has to be nerve-wracking and ego-wrecking to have to deal with this. I so agree with Ben Stein, too. You are so talented… I have every faith that the next great job is just around the corner for you.

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