The Good, the Bad and the Unemployed

According to John Boehner, unemployed people are lazy because they’re unemployed and the unemployed are all just a bunch of lazy bums. That is why I don’t watch the news anymore. Too much of it is just focused on dumb, controversial comments that some guy in a suit made. I can assure everyone that my laziness was not a product of being unemployed, nor was it why I was unemployed in the first place.

Unemployment is an occupation that you can never really put out of your mind, while you’re experiencing it. People may complain about their 60+ hour working weeks, but at least they can put that down when they’re not working. You don’t really ever get to forget that you’re unemployed. It’s not really your fault, but you can’t help but feel a little guilty when you’re able to watch a movie on TV or play a video game, while the rest of your friends are working.

I do not feel entitled to anything. But I also cannot will myself into thinking that doing an unpaid internship for an indefinite period, would be a good idea. Though it may be an option for those who have the time and money to actually sustain it, there is just too much risk for too little return involved (remember, I already went through college). You would think small companies are the only ones cheap enough to pull it off, but names like BMW ring clear in my mind here.

I actually sat in a room with a handful of candidates as part as a group interview for a graduate job (not at BMW). There, I found myself trying to conform. They had asked, “Who has a smartphone?” Even though I don’t own one, I put my hand up along with the others anyway. “Who really wants this job?” Again, I did the same thing. Why was I waiting along with everyone else for the others to call the shots? Why was I trying to fit in? I think a few lyrics from Missy Higgins song, “Scar” fit aptly here:

“A triangle, trying to squeeze through a circle,

She tried to cut me so I’d bleed,

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Doesn’t that hit so close to home?

Doesn’t it make you shiver—the way things could have gone?

Won’t you leave me with a scar?”

 – Missy Higgins, “Scar”

I was under contract (still currently, technically) with an online transcription company for almost a year earning peanuts, while I was trying to nail down a full-time job just like some of my friends that had graduated. I learnt a lot about myself during that period. If there’s anything to put things into perspective, it’s a health scare. I was on-and-off antibiotics for several months trying to fix something that was seemingly unfixable. That was when being unemployed took a backseat and my health became a priority.

You have a lot more time on your hands— more time to think, more time to get depressed. As weeks turn into months, and months turn into a year, you tend to lose pieces of yourself in the process. Your confidence and your self-esteem are slowly shaven away with each rejection letter, or even worse… silence. They say silence is golden and that is when you hear the truth.

It’s really a numbers game. Face it, not everyone can get a job. That’s not to say that people aren’t working for something though. How do jobs even start? The government either builds more infrastructure or prints more money. But really, all jobs start from one thing: business. If businesses aren’t doing well, then there are only going to be so many jobs for the taking. The only other option aside from getting on welfare and waiting for someone to pick you, is to do it yourself.

I never did think that selling my time was a good idea and it’s not something that I would like to go back to. It could be that I’m a simple, naïve ideopraxist, but there are only two reasons why I think something is actually worth doing: money and because you want to. A dream job is one that combines both.

I decided to stop taking on work with the transcription company, because I was working harder and longer than the average person, yet earning below minimum wage. I had already learnt what it was like and decided that I wanted to work for me. No one said that realizing your dreams was easy. And it’s true. It’s quite possibly harder than selling your time or trying to gain employment. It isn’t an easy path. Making your dreams come true is hard work.

And if Boehner still thinks I’m lazy, well he’s probably never even worked on a dream before. Ain’t nothing lazy about that, in my opinion.


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