On Father’s Day I will enter my second month of unemployment.
My wife is about to kill me. Apparently hours and hours of hanging out with me is not a good thing. My constant presence has greatly disrupted the frantic yet manageable routine that has become our lives over these past few years. And while I do enjoy the opportunities I now have to deliver the occasional squeeze smoosh or do nothing but savor a well-written and challenging book, I confess I’m getting sick of my company too.
So I scan the Employment Weekly. There is this or that job fair where applications are being taken and initial interviews granted for people experienced in welding or brazing or machine operating. I’ve operated machines. I really don’t want to do that again.
There are professional positions for people with degrees. I’m close. If I can manage to make it through my second year of Spanish, and squeeze in a couple more upper-level philosophy classes, I’ll graduate sometime in 2009 with a double major in English/Creative Writing and Philosophy. Let’s raise a glass to my pathetic and naïve hope that some snazzy, gilded document will be worth more that the paper it’s printed on. Still I study. Think. Ponder. Press on. Write papers.
And try to figure out, in these middle-to-late innings of the game of life, what the hell color my parachute is.
My resumé is a patchwork quilt of shot-in-the-dark pit stops. (For those of keeping score, that was three clichés in one sentence.) There are human service positions in group homes, nursing homes and developmental centers. There’s a ten-year career in radio as an operations manager, music director and on-air personality. There’s my stint in manufacturing, building circuit boards so you can sit in your comfy, air conditioned home and watch the sun scorch your grass. Only no one’s buying ACs anymore, or so they tell me, so I’m laid off.
I remember a time when I felt confident enough to go after what I wanted. Now I’m resigned to taking what I can get. I put myself in this place, snapped the lock closed with my own apathetic hands, and now I fight the chains. Yes, the ring of brass eludes me simply because I’ve given up reaching for it.
Can I do this again? Start over? Take the scraps of my labor and fashion something new?
I fear I don’t have that much imagination left . . .