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Cog in the wheel

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It's month five after the pink slip, and still no job. Not only do you have no job, but there are no calls, and the e-mails you get in answer to your inquiries are on auto pilot. "Thank you for your interest in our opening. We've received such an overwhelming response that we're no longer answering each letter individually."

No one is interested in your master's degree. No one cares about the time you've spent earning your stripes in the ditches of corporate America. Your years as lead editor of a major corporation's Web site don't mean a thing. The blood you poured into two failed dot-coms doesn't impress anyone who has hiring power.

Month. Five.

Unbelievable. Month one would have hurt two years ago when jobs were as easy to come by as newly minted millionaires. Week five would have been unthinkable, unless it was your own choice to take a break. Yet here you are.

How did this happen? If you had stayed at the major corporation rather than jump ship for the uncharted yet promising waters of the dot-com revolution, your savings wouldn't be gone, and you wouldn't be lying awake nights wondering where to store your television, sofa and stereo when the bank repossesses your house and you're living with the dog and the cat in your car (which is paid for, thank God).

You forget for the moment when you hated life at the major corporation and how you left because you knew if you stayed, every ounce of creativity and initiative you had would be used up. You forget, because what you had there was security. And now you're jobless, pouring supermarket-brand coffee into your mug every morning because you can't afford the luxury of the Kona you used to send for from the Big Island.

In the background the television's on and you're listening to shows you didn't even know existed three months ago. Elimidate? You don't dare admit to your friends that you've gotten emotionally invested in which guy the airhead from Southern California goes for.

You're amazed at the number of scams there are on the Internet. "Work from home" this and "work from home" that. Even one that invites you to help the poor and needy and make $5,000 a month doing it. Yeah, right. How did they get your e-mail address, anyway?

Or maybe you're being too picky. Why do you have to get a job in the field you spent six years and $75,000 getting educated for? In your mind you hear Jon Lovitz' character on Saturday Night Live--the goofy guy with one huge eyebrow--telling some woman over 30 she'll never get married unless she "lowas" her standards.

You press on. You get out of bed, take a shower, walk the dog, drink your supermarket-brand coffee, and sit down to check your e-mail, hoping to hear from one of the 150 hiring managers who got your resume last week. But who's counting?

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