In 2009, like many people, I fell victim to “economic downsizing”. My job, at the time, involved developing online home business opportunities, which ultimately would be sold over the phone to vulnerable, gullible, and most likely elderly, “entrepreneurs”. It wasn’t the most honorable work, but times were tough. I foolishly left my previous job without having something already lined up. Prior to that I had never been jobless. I thought someone with my skill set could land something right away. Turned out, I was off by 3 months.
Anyway, things at this new job seemed to be going great. The company just began implementing my latest get-rich-quick program, and it proved to be very salable and lucrative for both the company, and surprisingly, the customer. I had been receiving praise left and right from all the higher-ups, I was starting to be asked to sit in on the management brainstorming sessions, and I was regularly invited to join the bosses for drinks after work. All signs pointed to an inevitable raise and promotion.
About a week before Christmas, I was called into the owner’s office; 100% sure this was going to be the Christmas bonus / raise / promotion / ‘Thank you for the New York Cheesecakes you gave everyone for Christmas’ meeting. Feeling excited and confident, I joked as I walked into the office and sat down, “So this is it? You guys are finally firing me? Ha ha ha!”
The problem was, no one else was laughing.
Thinking back on that moment, my little joke probably resulted in the fastest exit interview ever.
“Um.. actually yes we are.”
I soon found myself being escorted from the building, and once again out of a job. This time, however, my unemployment lasted a whopping 7 months. During that time, I diligently applied to over 200 positions ranging in pay from $9/hr to $30/hr. With jobs scarce and applicants saturating the market, I was only able to land about 15 interviews. Of those 15 interviews, I was offered only one position with a company that provided no benefits, no sick pay, no vacation, and paid 25% less than I had been making. I took that job.
A year later, I’m still working for that same company; barely making ends meet and hoping that I never have the need to visit a doctor. From what I still see on the job boards, not much has changed in the job market. So for now, I’m kinda stuck here.
I know I should be grateful that I’m no longer unemployed, but sometimes I think the Universe is laughing at me. Today, I stopped into Circle K after work to pick up a snack. While waiting in line, a brand new, $40k, white Ford Explorer, with custom chrome rims, pulls up in front of the store. A young man gets out of the driver side wearing a white-on-white, flat-brimmed Yankees cap (spun to the side), a white tank top, and white jeans sagging below his ass, exposing his boxer shorts. He’s is in the middle of a call on his cell phone as he walks into the store. Not bothering to lower his voice, he gets in line behind me and continues his conversation about his new job:
Yeah, dog… I been had my orientation already. … Word, dog! … Yeah I’m just waitin’ on my fuckin’, uh fuckin’ ummmm National Security Clearance badge n’ shit! … Yeah, dog, I was scurred bout dat shit too cuz my credit is fucked up, and dey look at dat shit! … Yeah dey check yo record too, dog! … Nah, I ain’t got no felonies, dog! … Nah, man I wasn’t convicted fo dat shit, and dey lowered the charge on dat other shit, so I’m cool, yo. … Yeah, so once I get my clearance badge, I’ll be workin’ up at The Honeywells n’ shit.”
Now I have no idea what position this young man landed with “The Honeywells,” but I do know that while I was unemployed, I applied to Honeywell multiple times for an Office Administrator position, and they didn’t even respond to my resume. I also applied to the Scottsdale Police Department as a Dispatcher, and I didn’t pass their background check because of a past-due credit card from college 14 years ago. Apparently National Security Clearance isn’t as strict as Scottsdale PD.
Young man, best of luck to you in your new career.