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More time in the unemployment line

It is entirely possible that I am going about this job search thing completely wrong. I sat down a year ago and did a clean-sweep update of my résumé. I paid a professional to format and edit it, then reformatted and focused it for different potential jobs I wanted to target. So the other day when I attended the Career Center’s course on resume and cover letters, I was shocked to flunk the pop quiz they gave prior to the lecture. I am sure several of the “true or false” questions were open to interpretation. Still, it was unsettling.

This is the second of these career enhancement seminars I have taken in as many weeks. The first was insultingly poorly done, beyond bare-bone basics to “can you fog a mirror” level of comprehension. I realize the government is short on funds and doing its best to cut down on scofflaws, but do we have to dumb everything down to those who don’t have a high school diploma or GED?  The previous week’s facilitator began his class on “Finding work after 40” with the gleeful admission that he was eighty years old.  OK, I really don’t want work for the unemployment office when I’m in my 80’s, so could we move along here?

Unemployment is a strange state and I apologise to those readers who are tired of my regular references to it in my posts. It is a state of being in my life, a part of my identity, a painful reminder of fiscal health. I don’t take it lightly and I wish it were not a blank space on my life-time resume.  I have worked, many years for little or no pay in my twenties, but I worked because I loved what I was doing. In my 30s thru 50s I worked for the career, the thrill of making more and more money. Making a lot of money also entails spending a lot of money. It takes your time in exchange for currency, which you then use to pay others to do what you no longer have time for; mow the lawn, walk the dogs, watch the kids, clean the house…

I can not imagine my mother or father on unemployment. Their generation came back from the second World War and built government-funded projects like schools and dams. I know my dad had a résumé, he changed jobs several times in my childhood, but I doubt he would have done any better on the pop quiz. The system is broken.

I have a neighbor who has not held a full-time job in over twenty years. She figured out the system, has happily accepted food-stamps and her kids’ braces were paid for with tax money while I was putting our orthodontist’s kids through college. I don’t want to “figure out the system.” I want to work at what I love and be able to support myself. After being told repeatedly by my case worker that I would “never earn even close to what I used to” and that I needed to “dumb down” my résumé, I’m becoming discouraged.

We can blame the politicians, the system and each other but ultimately, a society that doesn’t promote ethics and personal responsibility is doomed. I will reinvent myself, but I fear as Americans we have forgotten how to reinvent our culture.

13 comments on “More time in the unemployment line

  1. Touring NH says:

    There are many people that make a career out of working the system. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes, but I know you are comfortable in your boots! Something will break for you, try not to get discouraged.


    1. Thanks Laura, a year feels like a long time but in the scheme of life, it is just a minute. I will find something soon.


  2. Chris F says:

    I think I’m in the same boat Martha. I’m sure my resume and my age both figure in my unemployed state. Thanks for this. Glad to know I’ve got company.


    1. Lots of company, Chris. Even as the news is reporting that older workers are more loyal and harder working…


  3. Amy says:

    I unexpectedly ended up changing careers.


    1. Change is sometimes very good, Amy. Thanks for your comment. Hope this career is one that provides you with a better quality of life!


  4. Don’t apologize for going on. That’s what we are here for. Platitudes stick in my throat because I know what it’s like to hear them. People mean well, but it doesn’t always help.


    1. Words of wisdom. Thank you.


  5. mariekeates says:

    The unemployment situation here is the UK is horrendous. I am just in the process of being made redundant for the third time, in my fifties, and quite frightened I may have problems finding work so I feel your pain. Fingers crossed that both of us find something soon 🙂


    1. Marie, your day will just be beginning when you read this but the situation we share is world-wide. I am frustrated with the “system” and embarking on creating my next job. It doesn’t appear in any “employment listing” or job description. Until we all step back and figure out how to do what we are passionate about, we will be forever rats on the wheel. I may lose everything I once thought was necessary; expensive lifestyle and home, but I will walk away with my dignity. and I will be OK. So will you, I feel it.


      1. mariekeates says:

        Good luck. 🙂


  6. Lou Giusto says:

    Hello my friend of the north, SGS just introduced your blog today and I can across your unemployment posts which is compelling me to respond. I also was unemployed for over a year and experienced many a frustrating moments, in more than one situation I was told I was “over qualified” as the reason for not hiring me, talk about a bite in the a…..
    Thankfully I have found employment working at half the pay I left behind in a previous job, the benefits are great which has helped ease the pain of the lower salary, but it has changed my mindset in how I look at things. It has made me realize how age can have discriminating effects on your daily life. Why hire an experienced old fart for $$$$ when I can hire a newbie for $? I enjoy my job, not because of the pay and benefits but because of the wonderful people I have the opportunity to work with and help with their careers. The students I interact with everyday makes the job not feel like work, but fulfills, in a selfish way, a sense of enlightenment. Find what makes you happy and satisfied and you will find your pot of gold.


    1. Lou, Welcome and thanks for following and commenting! Unemployment is a curse to those of us who have worked hard and paid our dues all these years. I will continue to try to create my new career and do what I love.


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