I can do that!

It’s officially my fifth month of unemployment, and my mind is going in some strange directions: urine collector, substitute teacher, egg donor, Tupperware consultant.

Once, when I was young and trying the world on for size, I held jobs in manufacturing, retail, bar tending, and at a tree nursery (which encompassed all of the glamour of picking up rocks, pulling weeds, planting tiny trees in endless rows, and enduring blistering sunburns or hail storms, depending on the whim of Mother Nature). I was proud of my widely varying skills and the interesting people I met along the way.

Unfortunately, that’s left me with the attitude that I could do just about any job you might throw at me. It’s unfortunate because, as the months slide closer to the end of my unemployment benefits — and “survival mode”– I actually begin to entertain thoughts that I could do some of these jobs long term to support my family.

That’s just another fantasy of a person with a good imagination: a writer. I settled on writing about 20 years ago probably because, like an ecstasy freak, I found everyone I met to be so fascinating that they each deserved a published profile. Or because all of those menial jobs I held before were only “interesting” for about the first 2 days. Once I knew how to punch in and find the bathroom, the shine began to dull. Writing meant a different topic every day, which suited my attention deficit issues perfectly!

Now my job is finding a new job. Well-trained by years of ass-in-chair productivity, I’ve spent the last several months believing that the harder I look,  the more time I spend looking, the more likely I am to find a job. Think about that for a minute. If that were the case, I would be employed now. I’ve been looking under every rock and sticky web ad for months, only to learn that the inverse is true. The job market is so bad that I’m not going to find a job until the job is ready to be found.

Yet I spend a ridiculous number of hours a day trolling the same web sites for jobs, reminding friends and acquaintances that I’m looking, and generally wallowing in the depths of low self-esteem. It gets so bad at times that I think, “hmm, if somebody wants to pay me $12 an hour to collect urine samples for drug testing, I could do that.” The rationale is that I’ve changed so many dirty diapers in my lifetime that handling a few more ounces of pee a week wouldn’t faze me. And egg donor? Where do I sign up to finally get reimbursed for my natural talent in that field??

If not for Craigslist, I wouldn’t have this diversion. Because it is a diversion. I know I wouldn’t last as an airport chauffeur (but I can spell it!), typist, waitress, or beauty shop receptionist. But it counts toward my hours looking for a job, right?

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