Friday, June 25, 2010

An Opening the Size of a Bread Basket

I had one of those  job-seeking days that motivational speakers like to hold up as a model: networking meeting in the morning, interview in the afternoon,  trip to the gym mid-afternoon, and a glass of wine with an old friend in the evening.  Most of the time I manage to do one or at most two of those things. But not all of them combined.  What followed was unpredictable. The next day I hit the doldrums. I suppose I had it coming. I looked at the parking attendant as I walked to the gym and thought how lucky he was to have a job. I smiled at the woman behind a glass booth who took my parking ticket and wanted to trade places. The interviewers of the part-time job I had gone to suggested that I check job possibilities on another web site, which I took as I sign that I wasn't going to be invited back.  How positive and upbeat can one person be about not having a job without falling apart every so often? There must a corollary for that sort of thing. The bank called for the umpteenth time about my mortgage restructuring, offering me an escrow account for the privilege of my being considered, and allowing me to pay $300 more a month than I am currently paying.  I needed to wallow in self-pity, to moan to my cat every time I lifted up my head from the computer. If nothing else, I had earned it. All my going to meetings and making phone calls, really, what good had any of it done me? I remained in my pajamas the entire day and did nothing, crawled into a hole and stayed there until I got dressed around 6pm, put gas in my empty tank at a pricey station near my house and drove to an event.  On the way back, the sky was fingerpainted in orange. I sat on the couch and listened to dogs bark.

So what happened to my support system?  I had landed in an area that hadn't been zoned for despondent job seekers. There's a first time for everything. The next day I managed to pick myself up with several cups of coffee and opened the folder that I had set up several weeks ago. I sighed. I remembered my burst of positive energy that had led me to Costco to get a new black printer cartridge. Here were the names of individuals from green-based companies.

So didn't I hear one of the career consultants say at a meeting several weeks ago that networking alone wasn't going to get the job, cold calls were the way to go? I dialed the head of the company. A real voice answered the phone. I gulped.

"Hi, I'm one of the many unemployed who's looking for an opening the size of a bread basket. I'm calling to see if you can use my services." I could hear that he was hooked. Oddly enough, the voice on the other end of the phone waited for me to continue. I explained my background.

"We just finished a large project," he said, almost apologetically.

Then in a burst of resourcefulness that came from some unknown place deep within the recesses of my memory bank, I said. "Is there a list you can add me to in the event that another project comes up?"

He said, "Why certainly. I'd be glad to." I felt better, refueled for my quest, a saga on YouTube with foootage of me sitting in front of the computer screen with my cellphone to my right, the landline to my left, bubble voices overhead flying out in 3-D, The Beatles' A Yellow Submarine in the background, episode 1, 2, 3, following into infinity, cutting my Shepherd's Pie into increasingly smaller squares. I need so little encouragement to keep me engaged, to keep me going.  I'm also a cheap drunk. So what's on the menu for tonight? I didn't feel like cooking. Horror of all horrors. Microwave popcorn.

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