Why can’t the holidays be everyday?

Norm can't frown and take a picture of himself at the same time.  Tomorrow he'll try to walk and chew gum.

Unemployed and all alone. And there are wolves after me.

Money issues aside, it’s pretty easy to forget about unemployment over the holidays. There’s just so much to do. And everybody who would otherwise be working is around and, barring family commitments, willing to hang out. This year, with Christmas and New Years on Thursdays, the calendar lined up nicely. Even those who didn’t get off the last week of December had two four-day weekends in a row and possibly a couple more half days. I started to forget that my wife even had a job, other than playing Prince of Persia, that is. We got to sleep late and hang out. To quote Office Space, “I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.”

But the holidays are over, and the distractions are gone. Everyone is back to work, and here I am – at home, alone and still unemployed. The cats keep me company; they’re sort of like people – little furry people who barf a lot. I can hear the neighbors clomping around through the walls. And the occasional comment or funny link comes through on IM. But really, it’s just me here.

Putting it this way sounds so depressing, so hopeless, so pathetic – like I’m the only unemployed person on the face of the planet. This, of course, is not true; that’s what I keep telling myself. The government maintains that 6.7% of working-age adults are jobless. The percentage is probably closer to 10-11% when factoring in those who’ve stopped looking for work. And the jobless masses will likely keep growing. I encounter or hear about unemployed acquaintances all the time. Some of the people I see on the street are unemployed too. Maybe the person sitting right next to you this very moment… unless you’re reading this at work, in which case, nevermind.

The jobless are everywhere. And they’ve all got at least one problem. So things could be way worse.

Sometimes I just get to feeling sorry for myself. Us unemployed types are prone to that. It’s perfectly normal, even healthy, to wallow a little, if I keep my perspective. I got a bad break or four. But at some point feeling sorry ceases to be indulgent and just becomes counterproductive. I have to suck it up, rub some dirt on it and be a man.

I frequently go through some variation of this cycle – feeling sorry, wallowing and bucking up. It’s common enough that I recognize it happening, and know how to push through. This latest bout was mild and probably spurred by the rain and post-holiday letdown. Surfacing wasn’t hard. I just rationalized my way out of it. More severe bouts can require some effort (and junkfood) to break. Whatever works…

Looking back or looking down is much easier than looking forward. But it won’t get me anywhere. That’s also what I keep telling myself.

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2 Comments

  1. JS wrote:

    Wow regarding your comment that the jobless are everywhere… I live in New York and I don’t have any friends who are unemployed. I did meet one Wall Street victim at my MBA school’s monthly alumni drinks in midtown, but he’s only an acquaintance. My friends work in health care, fashion, journalism, and yes even finance. I can’t imagine how someone can survive in NY without a job… I have a 6 figure salary and I feel really poor. Still I definitely am affected by all the doom and gloom. I doubt I will have kids before age 40, because I am afraid of raising kids without a decent nest egg.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
  2. unemployed wrote:

    i am teaching my cats to speak human to kill some time.

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink