Monday, July 12, 2010
Now one might ask, how is applying for a job enough to drag you away from your witty repartee? If you’re asking this question, undoubtedly you collect a check from an employer on a regular basis. However if you are unemployed, as I have been consistently for the past seven months, and partially for the past year, you understand this dilemma. Because when you are unemployed and applying for jobs, every interview you go on is like trying to pass an incredibly tiny chance through and even more miniscule vessel of hope known as “getting the job.” There are times when I feel I’d be more successful trying to teach manners to New York City subway rats, however until the MTA decides to pay me for this service, I’m holding out on my rat elocution course.
Don’t get me wrong, there are perks to not having a job. I never have to deal with rush hour. I’m in excellent physical fitness, because one of the top pastimes of the unemployed is going to the gym. I’m the family pinch hitter, and if ever there needs to be a relative present at some obscure graduation/party/funeral/birth, I am on the top of the list of people who no doubt can go. Personal hygiene becomes very personal, and I have saved loads on laundry simply by wearing the same thing every day. I have a great tan. My hair is super conditioned, because I can waste hours pilling my hair with herbs and essential oils to get the Rapunzel locks I’ve always dreamed of.
However, all these perks are painfully dwarfed when it’s the 1st of the month. Rent is due. My bank account is left sobbing and shaking in the corner after its fiscally raped of the majority of its contents. Not having money is an interesting challenge that only really bothers me when I check my mental list of items I want but I cannot have right now. And they’re not even crazy things like a leer jet or a toilet made of marble. I’d like a bike so I can get to the gym easier. A corner shower caddy so I don’t have to delicately balance my many shampoos and conditioners on the bathtub ledge. A proper bikini wax so I don’t have to torture myself with a home sugaring kit I bought on a whim.
Do you feel sorry for me yet? Good. Send me money.
Honestly, most days I have a good humor about not having a job. I know there’s a good chance one day I will be sitting at my desk job pretending to work while posting passive aggressive complaints against my boss on Twitter. I’ve personally have found it terribly entertaining to answer people bluntly when they ask, “what do you do?”
“Nothing. I don’t have a job.”
People fumble and blush as if I’ve just told them I’m a peg-legged stripper. Let me say this – what you do is not who you are. And if you don’t love what you do, then what you do is irrelevant. Not having a job, or not having the job you want, is a stage that inevitably the majority of people will go through. And that’s okay. For the first time in my life, I’m really experiencing failure and rejection. Before deciding to pursue what I really loved, I was accidentally experiencing success in a field I had entered because I wanted to move out of my parents’ house*. Mysteriously enough, “not giving a fuck” was really appealing to potential employers. With the exception of one, every job I ever interviewed for I got, which brought me to a grand total of five jobs in about two years. This really should have been a red flag, but it wasn’t until my last job where they asked me to work at 3:30 in the morning that I decided I had reached my breaking point. These mofos were crazy, caring about something that I personally found irrelevant and unfulfilling. So I got out, and decided to do something I love instead.
Of course, doing something you love is incredibly difficult. That is why you need the love, to push you through all the Nos, hell Nos, and oh fuck Nos. So I have been spending the past seven months going through the seven rings of hell and familiarizing myself with all the different forms of failure and rejection one must endure before you get to wherever you’re supposed to be. Its character building and humbling, and also depressing and maddening, and I’m sure in this economy Klennex sales have to be doing exceedingly well. I know I keep two boxes in my room, anything less and I’d be sleeping in a water bed. But I hear salt water can be really great for oily skin.
See what I just did there? I turned my pity party into a heartwarming tale of hardwork and triumph. And I’m going to go ahead and put a cherry on top of that “it’ll all be okay one day” sundae. Below is a video of JK Rowling’s speech at Harvard’s 2009 graduation. She talks about the importance of failure. If you ever plan on failing in life, and you should, her wise words will help you push through the pain.
J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.
*I won’t say where I worked because I’m paranoid and fear one day I may be scratching at a can of cat food with my alien claw and realize it’s time for me to get a job by any means necessary. Lets just say I worked in entertainment, and it was far from entertaining.