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.