Sunday, February 18, 2007

Unemployment Blues

I've often heard it said that finding a job, when one is unemployed, is a job. If only that were true.

In my opinion, looking for a job is often a lot harder than working at a job once one has procured employment.

With a typical job, one has a reasonable amount of certainty that one's hard work will pay off. As long as one is employed, there is a reasonable guarantee of a paycheck every week, every two weeks or every month.

When one is unemployed, on the other hand, one can easily spend many hours trying to find work, only to turn up empty handed at the end of the week.

With a job, one may have to deal with the stress of the job itself (especially when working for people who treat one with great disrespect), but one doesn't have the added stress of trying to figure out how to obtain adequate food, how to keep paying one's bills, and how to keep paying one's rent (or mortgage) in order to avoid homelessness.

When one is unemployed, a substantial amount of time can be spent just trying to procure emergency assistance so that one can survive until one is able to find employment. And that's assuming that such assistance is available. Often, depending on the type of help one needs, the help one needs is not available.

When asking for help, rejection can cause depression, and to a state of mind which is not at all conducive to a successful job search. Even when help is available, asking for such help can be stressful and humiliating. Feelings of guilt and low self-esteem are not uncommon.

With a job, it isn't always perfectly clear what one ought to do in order to please one's boss, but it's still a lot easier to figure out what is expected of one when one is on the job than it is to figure out which strategy is most likely to succeed in terms of procuring a new job.

When searching for work, there are known strategies which increase one's chances of finding work, but there are no guarantees. One can do all of the "right things" and still turn up empty handed for any number of reasons.

I've had more than my share of jobs, and I've gone through more than my share of periods of unemployment. If I had been in complete control of my own life, I would have gotten one good job and kept it for the rest of my life. But that has not always been something within my power to control. So I just keep plugging, trying to do the best I can do in difficult and stressful circumstances, and hoping that in the end, it will be enough.

So far, I've managed to survive. But that is by no means guaranteed. And besides, it would be really nice, for a change, if I could do a lot more than just survive.

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