December 24, 2008

Unemployment Blogging, Day 3

Christmas Eve, so of course there's nothing times nothing to do re: job hunting, so I am going to enjoy the holiday as best I can. May you do the same.

But of course I couldn't write a Christmas post without including this timeless holiday classic:

Why Chinese Food Is Like Linux

Fascinating talk by Jennifer 8. Lee about the origins of Chinese food in America -- and around the world:

December 23, 2008

Unemployment Blogging, Day 2

Part of the problem with being laid off just before Christmas -- besides the massive crimp it puts into your celebration of the holiday -- is that conducting the normal activities of a job search is stymied. First, you have parties to attend, food to prepare, last-minute gifts to buy, etc.; and second, pretty much every business is taking the next two weeks off or else operating on a severely pared-down schedule. Thus, my efforts to get back to working have taken on a "hurry up and wait" character.

December 22, 2008

Unemployment Blogging, Day 1

Or: What it feels like to be a statistic.

Being laid off, to paraphrase John Updike, is a sacred state; it clarifies the mind and pulls you out of the often stultifying routines of everyday living and working. It is also, as is the case with any contact with the divine, rather terrifying.

A synopsis: After graduating from the University of Maryland, I went to work, not at a government agency or a nonprofit (as you would expect for someone with a Master's in public policy), but at a grocery store. As a cashier. Granted, it was an organic grocery store, so it had some cachet, but that hardly helped to soften the blow of seeing all my job leads and interviews failing to pan out. It was, however, a living, something by which I could support myself until I got something better. This state of affairs persisted for seven months, during which I existed as if in stasis: neither moving on nor growing accustomed to my situation; wondering how long it would be until I would have a honest-to-god profession, not a job I could have done in high school; always chafing at the fact of never having enough money. Then, this past Saturday, I was let go. So much for my plans to turn my experience into a best-selling memoir; seven months isn't nearly enough time to establish the necessary street cred.

I take solace in the fact that I am young and well-educated, and supported by my family, my partner, and her family; that we are living through a world-historical economic crisis, which has afflicted the just and the unjust alike*; and that, as I've said, a drastic change in one's circumstances often forces you to respond more acutely than otherwise. For example, I seldom get as personal in my blogging as I am doing now; and perhaps making myself the subject of my own writing, alongside the old standbys of politics and culture, will be illuminating in some way.

Or not; I honestly have no way of knowing.

* I'll leave it to you to decide which of those categories I belong in.