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.

1 comment:

  1. Very sorry to hear about your losing your job, Isaac.

    You should check out Trader Joe's: they're usually hiring, and their business is only going up in the recession.