I have been unemployed or underemployed since October 2018. I live in Illinois a state that is over taxed and suffers from massive fees issued by a plethora of over lapping jurisdiction. In fact legislation pending will double the registration fee for a motor vehicle, from one hundred a year to two hundred a year. This will no doubt cause massive problems, but I digress. Illinois is a state in which only 40% of adults have an education past high school, according to a recent radio broadcast I listened to this morning (Thursday July 12th, 2019). While I seek my master’s degree I wonder where I will work amid the 40% of job seekers, while competing with the other 60%. I sometimes doubt that I even have worthy skills. If a minority of people are seeking to work in a minority of positions, does the economy even offer one for everyone? or wouldn’t it be easier to compete in the broadest portion of the economy? Anyway….
I apply for careers, and I apply for work. I attend interviews and I receive denial email replies. I have updated my resume to nearly perfect and am wondering if I should include a head shot thumbnail to the top right of each page? maybe also a small head shot flip book that when flipped slowly smiles, anything to stand out. My resume has gotten to detailed and descriptive that the explanations of my duties at each employer reads like portions of my a cover letter. Feel free to read it here, head shot not yet included. It is very frustrating to be in this position.
Where are all the good jobs at, careers, new beginnings? I would like one. It goes without saying that this is a major stress on my family. I make cold calls, after submitting resumes, I review the managerial team on company websites and I identify who to speak with, for all my effort I remain unemployed. Even promising conversations over the phone yield no results. Messages are not returned. Today I will submit another five or ten applications. I need to start keeping track and following up more regularly I suppose. I see a spreadsheet being made in the future. Their is a job fare at the local community college today, I suppose I will drop by and be among to oldest person in the room, maybe I will be surprised. I still have faith.
The internet is full of recommendations on how to change careers, how to get a fulfilling career you love, and how to make extra money, a popular euphemism is known as the “side hustle” or the side gig. Also popular has become the idea of “passive income”. I really admire the childless 20 something living in a major metro area, how free, what pioneering prospects they enjoy. for the small town middle american with a wife and three kids under school age, some of these recommendations don’t seem appropriate. In regular educated fashion it seems that how you obtain employment is through persistence, through leaning on your social network. no not facebook, but the network of personal associations with working people. I am afraid that I cannot grow past my joblessness in isolation. Who do I know? Sadly, due to my years of social misfit behavior and lack of humility my social network is very small. Who do I know? Even in this department I am afraid I lack resources. I lack human capital, literally I cannot think of anyone who would help me get a job based on our association. Some people are able to call a friend and get a short term gig as a waiter, or bartender, or door man, or whatever. I am still in the formal world of completing job applications and cover letters.
Interestingly enough some managers that I call are impressed by my ability to cold call them. Yet no one wants to hire me. Is my approach appropriate? Is the applicant supposed to wait idle for a call? or be proactive? In my mind an image develops of myself, I am climbing the thousand steps of a Tibetan mountain top monastery. I have reached the door and knocked. I am unworthy to enter, someone answers, he tells me that I cannot enter until I have rid myself of all desire (or something like that). I wait at the door for days like a committed soldier, through all conditions, determined to show my commitment and willingness. Is this how I will find my next job? Should I skip the phone calls and simply visit these companies? How audacious.
What makes this process even more difficult is that over at the Teague family we only have one vehicle, so I drive my wife to work, then I take care of the three kids all day. It makes it hard to conduct in person cold calls with three kids along for the ride. In fact, Man Power, a temp service who I have political differences with (another time), but a company with which I was registered in the past, contacted me. Perhaps they have the ability to cross reference state unemployment records with their own to seek leads themselves. Nonetheless, from several years ago my information is in their data pool. I received a phone call from them, they wanted to have me visit their office and let them help me find a job. I suppose I should take them up on that offer. I told them that they didn’t have my current resume, so they told me to bring it. We set a time and date, and then I divulged that I would have my three month old child with me. The tone immediately changed. They informed me that I couldn’t do that. Reminding them that I was simply an unemployed professional with three kids, and that they sought me. They replied that the appointment would only take 15 or 20 minuets and asked if I could find a sitter. I obnoxiously replied, not for a 20 minuet appointment. Was she kidding me? She literally was creating an arbitrary barrier between my employment and her compensation as contracted human resources department for her customer companies. As if I was at the dawn of the information age, I asked her if I could submit my resume via email. She actually said that I couldn’t. Now I assume a profile of myself exists and that I could edit it if I logged in, realizing just how long ago I created it, and updating it. But she didn’t mention that. She had no concern that I had chosen an appointment time that was perfect for my routine. That it was immediately after my ex wife received my two oldest and following my delivery of my wife to work. That I had already attempted to accommodate her office amid the many schedules I balance on a daily basis. Now on the brink of using the word discrimination and becoming short with her, she suggested she speak with her supervisor and call me back. The next day I got a call from her and she simply reiterated her previous stance and hoped that I could find someone to watch my kids.
Believe me, this is a season of humility, a season of challenge and of lessons that must be learned. as with every season, they eventually pass. My oldest daughter asked me if a flower she picked would ever die. She asked if a flower not picked would live forever. I replied, that everything that is alive now will one day die. I told her that a season exists for both life and death for everything. She waved the Black Eyed Susan I picked for her in the air. This is a season of life for me, not for death. This is a season of growth and development, of building. Nothing is more full of life then when its striving, hunting, creating.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 NIV