Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dead End

If you haven't read this column and you're feeling either perky and don't want to stay that way or are depressed and want more fuel for the fire, go check out Unemployment Stories over at Gawker:  http://gawker.com/tag/hello-from-the-underclass

It's an amazing compilation of letters from real Americans without jobs. How they got there, what they're doing and how it has affected them.  I deeply connect with many of the writers and sometimes have angry reactions to others. I even submitted my own letter to them awhile back. It's a grim view inside the carcass of America.

The reason I'm writing this today is that the hammer has finally fallen for me. My unemployment insurance has run out. My savings are dwindling. I just notified my credit card companies and student loan offices that no more money will be forthcoming. I'll be selling my car since I can no longer afford insurance or gas.

It's been 15 months since I was laid off. While I have a huge burning hatred for the owners of the company that laid me off, I don't blame them for my situation since then. There's no one thing or person to blame really. I could blame the government or the economy or corporatism or my parents or myself - but to no useful end.

I've done my best to be responsible since then - financially, socially, emotionally. But there's no doubt that it has taken its toll on all fronts. Intellectually, I find it truly sad. While it's impossible not to take a hit to your ego, to your self-esteem, in a situation like this, what hits me harder is that this entire country is hurting and I'm a resource that's going to waste. I'm a healthy, hard working, intelligent adult. There's no reason that I shouldn't be part of the work force.

Instead, after more than 200 applications to everyone from Microsoft to an adult bookstore, I got this from Target the other day: "Thank you for taking the time to apply with us. We are unable to offer you a position at this time, but we do appreciate your interest in Target." Which sums up everything pretty nicely.

I'm still writing fiction, and I'm happy to say that writing has become a huge part of my life in the last year. I'll probably continue to do it for the rest of my life now. But it's not going to pay the bills, probably ever. Which leads me to the last question:  What do you do when you're out of options?

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