Friday, August 31, 2012

Living with Unemployment

Every morning, I wake up, throw on old clothes and trudge towards the kitchen, where I boil my morning pilaf. The rice and lentils are taken from those child-sized sacks intended for restaurateurs, the morbidly obese and those, like myself, who are tasked with rationing foodstuffs before they pinch their final penny. I chuck in hand-torn chunks of broccoli, ginger granules, garlic and salt. The broccoli is my contemporary idea of luxury. The spices are gifts of charity from my new roommates. Thus, breakfast on a budget.

Job application time follows and continues until sundown. Constantly reading from the computer screen eventually pops the blood vessels in my eyes, blotching the whites with a warning-color red.

The phone occasionally interrupts the destruction of my eyesight. When it rings, I lunge for it, in hopes to hear the reassuring words of some gentle, confident employer, offering some dream job involving cuddling puppies or public advocacy, or both (potential program: Pomeranians in the Park?). Instead, it’s usually Mom, asking if I’m still eating.

During one recent phone call, someone – not Mom – nearly lured me into a scam. A Mr. P- was offering a security position in the Nelson Building: front desk work, greeting people, giving visitors passes and directions, etc. The position presumably paid $18 an hour. Yet, I was required to pay $100 up front for three days of “security training.” In my rash excitement, I agreed to an interview, but fortunately, thrill succumbed to thought: if they required mone
y for training, I figured, couldn’t they simply deduct that money from my first paycheck? In the immortal words of Karen Dunbar:

I felt embittered. I don’t think it kindly to swindle anyone, especially the unemployed, the poor and the otherwise vulnerable people who would apply for that sort of job. Furthermore, from an occupational standpoint, I find such dirty work redundant: isn’t that what Republicans are for?

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