There are few things more soul-crushing in this world than job hunting, except for maybe dating. Both are total dog-and-pony-shit-shows, where rejection and indifference are omnipresent and approval is so rare as to take on mythological proportions.
Based on what I know of my area’s job market at the moment, I’m unmarketable by just about every conceivable metric for anything worthwhile: no college, no driver’s license, no specialties, and too old to work for peanuts.
I’m sitting here, trying to compose a new cover letter for myself, and the question keeps popping into my head: how do you pitch yourself as being worth something, when you’ve spent a sizable portion of your life feeling like you’re not worth anything, and you have the data to back it up?
Sure, I’ve been able to spin my shit into sugar periodically, mostly with innovative resume design and a bit of smooth talk. It’s enough to get me through the door as often as not, but the problem is, everything falls apart under scrutiny; in addition to my aforementioned underqualifications, I’ve been fired from four out of the last jobs I’ve had, including the one I have now. There’s just no way to euphemize that. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Getting my current job at all was a fucking miracle, due mostly to the fact that my boss was either too preoccupied or too lazy to ask too many questions, or to search for additional candidates. It’s something I’ve been able to exploit to considerable effect, much to my chagrin. I don’t like taking advantage of people, especially when doing so leaves me feeling as if I’m about to constantly be exposed as a complete charlatan. As if I didn’t constantly have that problem anyway.
The only things I’m “good” at don’t make any money, like writing. And I don’t even know how good I am it, only that I do it a whole fucking lot and that the voice I put on paper is sounding more and more like the one inside my head with every essay, article, or blog post. I certainly don’t feel prepared to freelance or submit my work to publications, for the same reasons why I hate looking for work: how many times can you throw yourself at the feet of someone’s mercy before your will to power runs out? What happens if you don’t really have any in the first place?
My shit might be good enough for prime time, but good luck convincing me of that. I can’t even get you to pay me for it. Why should anyone else?
Yeah, that's a fucking hint. Take it, already.
Maybe if anything I’ve done for work actually made a difference in someone’s life, rather than sucking on an endless series of corporate teats with nothing to show for it for the last couple of decades, I might feel more encouraged to muster the necessary pluck required to be beaten about the head and neck with rejection and apathy. Even the modest accomplishments I’ve made at my current job aren’t leaving me with much in the way of optimism, given my “slash and burn” employment record of the last several years.
Such is the way of things when you spend most of your adult life denying and/or ignoring and/or being unable to afford to deal with the mental illnesses that plague you. They wind their icy, entropic fingers through every aspect of your existence, slowly impairing and then degrading your ability to live a “normal” life. Meanwhile, the world continues to turn, becoming more oppressive, more hostile, and more unforgiving with every passing year. Those who seem otherwise able-bodied (like myself) are often greeted with suspicion for failing to “bootstrap” our way out of the messes we make. But the only difference between me and a fuck-up like, say, one of Donald Trump’s kids is the fact that their wealth and privilege exempt them from ever having to own their dysfunction, or the damage it creates. There’s definitely something wrong with those kids, but being fantastically rich means never having to say you’re sorry.
So here I sit, examining the litany of professional failures that have attended my soon-to-be thirty-nine years on this planet, seriously entertaining the notion as I have for years that this about as good as it gets. I might be wrong; Lord knows I hope so. With freshly-subscribed-health insurance, I’ve been able to re-enter the medical system, and begin the necessary psychiatric evaluations for diagnosing my issue set. Never mind the arthritis and blood pressure problems I’ve begun to develop. I’ve shifted on from “spring chicken” to “perpetually exhausted, middle-aged pigeon,” and I don’t like it. Not at all.
Getting old sucks. Getting old with contending with increasing levels of mental instability, no future prospects, and no financial security in a world that doesn’t give two shits about you sucks even more. And having to swallow all of that time and again, so as to appear bright and positive and hopeful as I approach prospective corporate teat after prospective corporate teat?
Frankly, gouging out an eye with a grapefruit spoon sounds more appealing.