Friday, August 26, 2011

Diary of The Unemployed

You know how a lot of people complain that their job interferes with their life? Some could only be so lucky. It seems today, with skyrocketing unemployment and no recovery in sight, that the opposite is worse. That’s right, not having a job is getting in the way of my life.

To some, not having a job and therefore having the free time to do whatever you want seems like the perfect life. How awesome is it to sit around the house playing Xbox, drinking beer for breakfast, napping whenever you feel. Pretty cool, right?

Well not for me…

Wouldn't have been as fun it it was his daily routine...

It’s hard to enjoy free time when all you have is free time. Weekends and holidays mean nothing when you do nothing the other five days of the week. Thing is, I would love to be at a stage of my life where I can comfortably sit down for hours at a time and play video games, knowing all’s right with the world. But not having a job is like a dark cloud looming over me at all times.

Case in point, I spent the last week helping some friends paint their house. Activity and socializing… all good, right? But the whole time, especially during the downtime, I’m just worried that I should be home, lurking around the job boards and stalking strangers on LinkedIn. So the whole time, I’m jumpy, anxious, and actually wanted to break off my social contacts to sit in my tiny bedroom in front of my computer for the rest of the night. Last I checked, the DSM-IV calls that depression…

Thing is, I want to have an active lifestyle. Opportunities can happen anywhere at any moment, but I really doubt they’re going to happen if I’m trapped in my apartment. I’m checking right now… no girlfriend sitting on the couch, no employer in my kitchen, no investors in my toilet… you get the picture.

I want to see the world and enjoy it. Forget the world, I want to get around town and enjoy that. I want to stay out, go to local events and restaurants and clubs and stuff. I want to be that guy who buys his friends a round without even thinking. I want to meet new, interesting people. I want to accomplish things. And I’d like to be this productive member of society without freaking out about how I’m going to pay rent next month.

Worse than the money is that my skills are going to waste. I worked my ass off through my childhood to get into both a top undergraduate and masters program. I’m not saying I’m the one who was going to cure cancer, but I have the brains and the ambition to launch the next cool technological innovation. So sitting around being non-productive is just killing me. When I look back at my life, I’m going to want to see that I did something with it. And right now, that’s just not happening.

Being unemployed actually has a compounding effect on staying unemployed. This is a fact. Jobs are flat out telling people that they will not be hired if they’ve been out of work for X months. So opportunities are lost right there. In the digital age, without access to the resources of company, it’s easy to fall behind in this progressive and competitive environment. Even if you find something to do by yourself, without the accountability of a job you’re less likely (or able) to push your limits. So how do you recover?

For one, I’ve been taking online classes in some current technologies, like Python scripting and Data Mining. Hopefully this can launder my timeline a bit and make it look like I’m not some lazy unemployed bum. The problem though, topics like these take a long time and a lot of commitment to master. I have no idea what is actually going to help me most in my career, so where do I focus? And how can I dedicate this time (programming languages can take months to learn) when I have the dark cloud of joblessness raining over me?

Hard to look ahead when futility is waiting over the horizon… But for now, it’s either apply to jobs while on self-imposed house arrest, or live a liberated life and chance ending up living in a cardboard box.

To be continued…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I see your plight.I have an EE degree with lots of computer programming and corporate training experience. I live in the Albany,ny area and I'm out of work for years. I lost a job in 08 cause of a personal issue and can't find work since. No one would even think of hiring me now. I keep current on my skills and had a few freelance projects but I probably earn at the poverty level over the year. I'm trying to push myself to create some kind of web service that can make some money(probably the same chance as winning the lottery).

Unemployment is a RECURSIVE problem, where the more you are unemployed the deeper you dig your stack. With the belt tightening companies do now they can discriminate against people who don't have jobs(since if you are unemployed, there is probably something YOU did to get there) and choose people who DONT NEED WORK.

Learning a language on your own in this job market means crap, why should they even email you for an interview if they can get a Python guy who worked with it for the last years?

I applied at a local supermarket and I'm probably going to start working there (don't look like there are any prospects). At least I'll have some people contact there.

Honestly, I think at this point, people like us will either have to take lousy jobs or think of something entrepreneurial to do. Some guy in ALbany made a business out of shoveling dogshit out of peoples back yards, and acutally does well. Its every man for himself!

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