Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Coping for the Long Term

I think I might have mentioned that I'm one of the long term unemployed? At least once or twice anyway. Back in January 2009, I wrote a diary at The Seminal titled I Am Unemployed but Not a Statistic. I wrote it in one of my bouts of frustration, the day one of the many news reports came out on the "Unemployment Rate" as reported by Reuters (link in the linked diary), back when the official rate was 7.2%. Now the most recent report I can find quickly online says it is 9.7% for March 2010.

Much as I may sometimes want to, it is impossible to live my life in full-on outrage mode, railing at the Gods/Fates/Furies all the time, everyday. It does absolutely nothing for me except raise the blood pressure unnecessarily. So I find ways to cope. As we all do.

One of my coping mechanisms is surfing the web, staying up on news from a variety of sources. Or laughing at the latest ramblings from some member of the beltway punditocracy. Laughter at absurdities is actually quite cathartic sometimes.

Another way I cope is listening to music. I've loaded a lot of my CDs on my laptop and set the play to random so I just float along and listen to whatever pops up. I get surprised sometimes as I do forget exactly what I've loaded. I do think I have a nice mix of genres though it can be a bit jarring to go from Cab Calloway to Dr Demento to the Neville Brothers to Frank Zappa to Little Feat to Guy Clark to the Allman Brothers. But that's what happens when you let the computer pick the order.

Probably though, my biggest coping mechanism is going back and re-reading many of the books I have in my personal library, especially those that are often defined as "great literature." Kipling is always good to re-read as is Shakespeare, and Bullfinch's The Age of Fable.

But the reality is, I'm just as likely to pick up and re-read some of Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders or Crystal Singer books. Or Piers Anthony. I might pick up and read some more from Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. Or many of the other Science Fiction and Fantasy authors or anthologies. The Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors have always impressed me with their inherent optimism with the premise that we do actually manage to migrant from Earth and out to the cosmos. Whether it was Asimov and the Foundation stories, Frank Herbert and the Dune series, Gordon Dickinson's Childe Cycle, or Joe Haldeman's Forever War.

If I'm not feeling in a mood for the optimism, I often pick up some anthologies from the old Black Mask Magazine and find some dark, noir based detective stories. Or some Mickey Spillane, John D. MacDonald, or Dashiell Hammett.

Over the years, I've gotten jobs through most every way possible. I've answered blind ads in the newspaper, I've used head hunter agencies, referrals from friends,, and job fairs. Each morning I check my emails for the results from my current Monster search. Mid-afternoon I get the e-mails from Yahoo/Hot-Jobs. I don't even bother to apply unless I feel there is a better than 90% match between my skills and the job being advertised but even if I think I'm a 100% match on the skill set requested, the odds are long on finding something. Frustrating to say the least but I do understand as I've been in the hiring manager position in past lives.

I know that eventually something will break in the employment situation. I have no idea when or how but it will. I tend to not push and tell the universe that "I want thus and so position" as whenever I have done so in the past for specific projects, it always rebounds against me and that wonderful project I pushed to join, winds up falling apart.

So Universe, Spirit Masters, Fates, Furies, Whomever - I'm out here and ready as I'll ever be. Coping my way along.

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