Tuesday, July 22, 2008

what am i here for?
blatherings from the unemployment line...

what are we here for?  that's a question for God.  not you, dear reader.  i imagine you are pondering the same question in some way, be it a physical asking or a cellular one.  so i invite you inside it as well. what are we here for?

my most immediate response to that question is... to create art as a manifestation of love.  i know, i know.  but really.  that's what i believe i'm here for.  the thing is... as i try to keep my art more than a murmuring in the back of my mind, a more blaring question becomes apparent.  how am i supposed to create art if i can't pay my bills?

i've been unemployed for a month so far and it's been okay... kind of.  i've been looking for a new job since the day i became unemployed, if not well before (truth be told).  most of these days, i've felt relaxed, held up by the pats on the back and the patronizing "don't-worry-you'll-find-something's".  but i feel like i've submitted more resumes than aol.com sends out promotional CDs and still no REAL bites.  my joblessness is finally wearing on me.  it's the first time i've not had a job and it wasn't my choice.  and i know lay-offs happen all the time, but since college, in my fifteen years of working, i've never been... well... jobless.

and today, what feelings of respite i may have had transitioned into indomitable restlessness.  i found out that the one job i was waiting to hear from; the one i thought i was UNDOUBTEDLY suited for, decided they were" seeking a candidate whose experience more closely matched the job requirements."  (recruiter jargon for "thanks but no thanks.")  i try to convince myself, using all of the wisdom and cliches i can conjure, that something better, greater, more fitting is waiting.  (right?)  when one door closes, a window opens.  blah, blah, blah... 

i play them like mantras over and over again.  i affirm and re-affirm myself in the face of this rejection.  (i'm smart, talented and darn it, people like me!)  but it's tough.  because the reality is that i read every day about the looming recession.  i could barely afford gas when i had a paycheck.  and milk, on some days, is more than $4 a gallon.  with no income, these things can feel a bit more paralyzing than the passivity of "such is life."

i'm fighting the malaise of unemployment, trying to feel empowered in understanding the jog trot of the determined but unemployed.  on a daily basis, i create my workspace of a bistro table in the WiFi-friendly cafe up the street where I peruse craigslist.org and monster.com, online classifieds and the seemingly endless pages of company job listings.  i am in search of the job that's searching for me.  but today, with the news, i felt a shift.

i went into this search a month ago, resolute that i would meticulously make application, regarding only those positions that deserved my time and attention.  the chosen ones would be looking for the kind and caliber of professional i believe myself to be.  they would offer benefits, a open, good-natured working environment and a good work/life balance.  the kind of company you'd find at the tops of lists like best places to work, highest employee satisfaction and places you'd trade going home for.  (the offering would look so good that the salary didn't require a mention.)

but resume upon resume, rejection upon rejection... hourly pay is starting to sound pretty good.  and, well, i can put off going to the doctor until Obama gets in office, right?  who needs vacation time?  401k?  

what am i here for?  to create art as a manifestation of love.  so i am working on the unfinished screenplays.  listening to lots of impassioned art through live (and recorded) music.  i'm working out and dancing when i can.  and in this moment, i am creating art with every coffee shop moment.  with the call and response of job solicitations and answerings.  with the joy and pain of acceptance of situation and rejection of failure and circumstance.  making lemonade is an art.  mixing the sweet and sour to make something delicious.  i am reminding myself of it daily/hourly/minute-by-minute.

onward and upward...