I spent a little quality time surfing my former associates and “friends” on one of the professional networking sites I belong to. It seems I don’t make good enough use of those tools and don’t leverage myself to the best degree possible.

As I cruised through my past work places, I noticed  how many past associates I’d worked with had jobs. They all managed to either retain the jobs they had or get new ones. Most no more than once, but others have hopped a couple of times. They seemed to be moving upward or at least laterally in their careers, and they kept a steady income stream flowing while they migrated from one position to another.

For a moment, I smiled to myself and wondered how they were doing, whether I should reach out to some of them or not, whether they’d be interested in making a renewed connection. Then I started wondering how many of them even remember me, how many could recall my face even if they recalled the name.

And I wondered how I’d answer the “how’s it going for you?” question which would inevitably follow the brief greetings. These are people with whom my only connection was a workplace. It’s unfathomable how fragile that connection is until it’s not there. People you thought you were close to suddenly seem very strange and new – sometimes uninteresting – when removed from the common context (or enemy) of the workplace.

It occurs to me now that they’d snicker behind their hands at me if they could see me. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been. I’m unshaven, wandering around in our home playing “writer” with a freelance authoring gig which isn’t going to sustain me, and I’ve been on unemployment for longer than anyone – me included – ever imagined I’d be. They’d perk their brows and wonder what’s wrong with me that I’m still out of work, haven’t been offered at least a contract position if nothing full-time, when all of them have their secure positions and benefits and paychecks.

I’ve wondered that same thing myself. What IS wrong with me? Why CAN’T I get a job?

I realized, looking over one profile after another, that I don’t have the answer to that question. I do what I think I can to get myself into the best position to be offered a job. I hear all about the “recovery” happening everywhere. I see others getting jobs and they’re not spending literally YEARS out of work. I see them snatched up and employed almost at will, and I sit and wonder: Why can’t I do that? What’s wrong with me that no one seems to want me?

I know my technical savvy’s not what it used to be, and I can’t do much about that right now (money). I can’t change horses mid-stream even though this seems like the perfect opportunity to do so (income requirements – money again). I can’t take a deep pay cut to get a job (guess what? right, money again). So I’m almost trapped into doing what I do for a fixed salary which isn’t a draw to a lot of companies, and can’t do much about that right now.

“Right now” seems to be interminable where my circumstances are concerned.

The story seems to end, if I draw this line of reasoning out, with my wife and kids living in either a homeless shelter or with friends of hers if we can get them there, and with me living in the car trying to find work by pounding the pavement the way things were done in the 60s and 70s. Funny, but I never imagined that would be how things ended for me, but lately, I’m having a harder and harder time getting away from it. My few prospects come far between, and they dry up as quickly as spit on a hot sidewalk. When they evaporate they don’t leave a residue of hopefulness behind; only a stain of disappointment.

But maybe the story doesn’t end there. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye, and maybe there’s something just around the corner. I can’t tell you what the weather will be like in an hour, never mind my life, so there’s no surprise in recognizing that somewhere beyond my field of vision, which is limited to the end of my nose (for more of us than would admit it), perhaps there’s a change of fortune. Perhaps out there is a chance, MY chance, the one chance I’ve been praying and hoping for.

No, maybe this isn’ t how the story ends. Maybe this story has an epilogue with a happy twist.

I wonder.


©DarcKnyt All rights reserved

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Tool

Bookmark and Share

Check out my latest book, available for download!
A Fine Cast of Characters on Amazon US (Kindle version)
A Fine Cast of Characters on Amazon UK (Kindle version)
A Fine Cast of Characters on Smashwords (non-Kindle versions)

8 thoughts on “Wondering

  1. I feel your pain. I’m in a similar situation, except I don’t have a spouse and kids. It’s hard out there, and I have those days when I wonder how things will end up.

    I wouldn’t worry so much if I didn’t have the wife and children, but I can’t imagine the prospects are fun for single people either. 😦 I’m sorry to hear you’re in trouble.

    But like you say, you just never know what’s around the corner. All I can say is we just have to keep going and keep trying.

    Unfortunately that’s all I CAN do, whether I want to or not! 🙂

    Good luck to you, J. Here’s hoping you’ll find something soon that you love and is also lucrative. 🙂

    And to you too, Grace. 🙂

  2. It’s this horrible, depressed economy’s fault. Not yours. Truly, these days hiring is a manager’s bonanza. I have several qualified or over-qualified people to choose among for every job posting. When the economy was better it was harder to find decent candidates. I pray that your luck will turn around soon!

    Thank you so much for the prayer support! We are so grateful for that! 🙂

  3. I think it would be perfectly all right if you reached out to those former colleagues and said, “Will you let me know if you hear of an opportunity with your company?” or some such thing. If all you had in common was work, I doubt they’d be any more excited than you to get cozy, so that takes the pressure off. That’s what those pro networking sites are for, no? Connecting professionally?

    I’m sure I could, if any of them were in positions to know. Most of them work in the same areas I do and they don’t have any more access to the jobs than I do from Monster.com or similar. It would be more likely to be beneficial if I knew managers or something. But I can reach out.

  4. Darc…why are you put-off by reaching out? Surely you can spin yourself into a valued position. That reminds me, are you focused on a certain job? a specific job? a specific industry? a specific pay grade?

    If so, don’t do that. Think ‘Marketing’

    Expand your reach. Make a list of your attributes, do some free-thinking here by not limiting yourself to your past work experience or positions. Think globally so to speak.

    For example: you’re an IT guy right? that’s one. you’re a writer (fiction/nonfiction), that’s two. Didn’t I read somewhere that you are religious? By that I mean…you know what I mean. That’s three. I know you’re a woodworker person or have been one in the past (think about woodworking and writing together), that’s four.

    Are you getting the drift here? I bet you could make a list of 10 different things; things you’ve actually done, things you know about, studied, researched, etc…

    My point is: don’t be myopic. Take a inventory of what you ‘can’ do for someone. And, BE BOLD!

    Great advice, Garry! Thanks! I’m not limiting myself to one specific kind of job, but I have sort of limited myself in industry, I think. I’ll see what else is out there and find out what I can do. Thanks again!

  5. Why be so certain who these former coworkers of yours know? You haven’t seen them in a long time. You don’t know who their friends are, who their spouses’ friends are, who their brother works for. Networking exists for many reasons. One is to get a job. Just the other day my neighbor who I barely know overheard me mention where my husband works. He asked if it would be terrible of him to ask about jobs where my husband works. Of course not. My husband looked at his resume, saw that our neighbor did in fact have skills his company could use, and dropped his resume off. I don’t know if it will lead to anything because competition is fierce, but it couldn’t have hurt.

    I agree, if I weren’t certain not of who they know but who they ARE I would reach out. Is there a chance they’ve changed since I knew them? Yeah, of course. But people don’t really change unless they have to, and knowing them (at least to the degree I did), they can’t (not won’t) help me.

    And I guess some people will wonder what is wrong with you, but I suspect most people will just be worried they aren’t but a few steps behind. Lots of people are stressed about staying employed–There but for the grace of God go I. And plenty of people would want help, and so are likely to help you make a connection if they can.

    You’d think that, wouldn’t you? I’ve found some of them are very proprietary about NOT sharing so they aren’t any more at risk. That’s the same mentality that drove some woman to accuse me of sexual harassment to get me out of line for a limited number of full-time openings. She got one because I wasn’t there anymore. That’s the kind of person I’m dealing with.

    And if they can’t? Well, okay. Keep reaching out. The drowning man doesn’t get saved by the sea simply lifting him up and placing him safely on the shore.

    Not that you are drowning! But you get the idea.

    And when I hear the word recovery these days it usually is modified by the adjective–jobless. So. You are not alone. Probably lots of folks in similar situations who are keeping quiet so as not to be embarrassed. And lots of those people you used to know who have jobs may not get paid enough, may have sucky benefits, may be terrified of losing their job, may be making their job sound better than it is.

    You have published a tech book! That’s a big thing.

    I’d like to think so, but it’s not paying the bills or getting me job offers. 😦 (I was sorta hoping for that last one.)

    Good luck with that next corner you’re about to turn.

    Thank you for being optimistic. 🙂

  6. Dude…it’s hard out there. My husband is going through the same thing. He was so depressed when he got laid off that he didn’t even look for jobs. Then he’d look for a while, nobody would respond, and he’d sink deeper and give up. He’s been on that cycle for coming up on 2 years now. I don’t know what to say other than I feel for you.

    I’m sorry for you and him too, V. R. I know how hard that is, and I struggled with it (depression) off and on too. I’ll be out two years next month. 😦 TWO YEARS. I wouldn’t have thought it possible.

    I like to think that yeah, there’s something great right around the corner, and it’ll come around when you least expect it. Keep your chin up kiddo!

    Thanks! You too! Tell your husband I’ll pray for him. It’s very hard to deal with.

  7. Two years is a long time, and I’m sorry it’s been this long. Something will turn up, but I have to agree with your friend Gary who posted… you need to look at the bigger picture, expand your horizons, and don’t limit yourself to one venue. When I was in college, my instructor made us create what is called a “Skills Inventory”… I still have mine, and I add to it from time to time. It helps when rebuilding a resume, and it helps sometimes to make you realize “huh, maybe I could do that.”

    You could be missing out on a number of other opportunities if you never look into them. And hell, maybe you aren’t qualified at all for something, but apply, it could work out for you! Some companies prefer people with “some knowledge” over those who are well versed, so-to-speak, easier to mold clay to your liking, then to carve out a rock my friend.


    Ah, thanks li’l Bumblebee. I appreciate the encouragement. 🙂 *hug*

Hey, what's up? Tell me whatcha think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s