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(f)unemployment

I was just home for Thanksgiving, and I talked with several people who were also unemployed, or graduating soon, with few prospects, or who had recently had a long period of unemployment. Everyone has such kindness and patience, and lots of advice. I was afraid that my family would be disappointed in me, but it was definitely not the case.

It made me feel a little guilty for quitting a good job with benefits. But I still maintain that the financial upside was not enough to balance out the verbal and psychological abuse I (and the rest of the staff) was being subjected to.

But it also made me feel a lot less alone. My dad told me that there are a bunch of recent graduate school graduates from his yoga class who are unemployed. There are a lot of people like me out there, which alleviates my fear that hiring managers will look down on me for having a “gap” on my resume.

However, it also reminded me that the arts always have a weird hiring/hr culture. It is really personality driven, highly dependent on personal referrals or familiarity with certain organizations (I am convinced that I get half of my interviews because people this my old workplace is cool, not because they  like my resume), and completely idiosyncratic.

But really, my dear is that I still don’t know what my goal is and therefore I can’t make a compelling case for my candidacy at a candy shop, let alone an arts organization. My friend asked me on Saturday, “what is your dream job?” and I still don’t have an answer. I am so weighed down with seeing problems, I still don’t see the good things. It’s my consultant mentality.

I think the answer is probably that there isn’t one job for me; I will be happiest when I am doing three cool things. The problem is the health insurance. So maybe I need to do three cool things in France?

This is scary. There is no work for me right now. I have three different temp agencies, but no work to do. I’m not sure what to do next.

Today, I am going to teach a little professional development workshop for a few writers who are friends of a friend. I am really, really excited. I also have to go see this dance space that I might be helping to run, if I get this job that I interviewed for last week.

But every day that I don’t work sinks me deeper and deeper into this terrifying place. No money, no job, no temp work. But I just have to get through today. And then tomorrow. And the day after that. I have to stay busy, so that I don’t spend all my time alone, at home, worrying and panicking.

It doesn’t really matter if I can’t buy Christmas presents, my family doesn’t really care. I can make it up to them.

This is not fun.

Here is a list of things I did yesterday:

  • Woke up and watched Search for the Next Iron Chef (go Elizabeth Faulkner!!)
  • Went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden with my friend and her son
  • Played in vines that looked like gigantic birds’ nests
  • Went home and changed clothes
  • Job interview
  • Meeting with a friend who is starting her own business
  • Dinner with another lovely friend

So, I learned that I have so many amazing friends who are doing great things. And I learned that I love running around all day, doing a bunch of different things.

Now, I didn’t get paid to do any of these things, and that is a problem. But I know that if I had a job where I could work on multiple projects, take meetings, give advice and have great conversations, help people plan to grow their businesses and refine their goals, spend some time outside…I would be so happy.

Today, I went going to yoga, and to the knitting store, and I applied for jobs, and now I am going to the movies with my lovely friend who is moving away tomorrow.

A chili recipe that I made up today.

These are all things that I had in my pantry/freezer, except the chili powder! Yay for “free food”!

3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
3-4 cloves garlic
1 lbs. ground beef
4 cups black beans
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
chili powder
paprika
cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Chop one onion fine and chop the garlic. Sweat these in the olive oil, then add powdered spices and cook for a few minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Add beans, tomatoes and the other onion, cover, and simmer for at least 90 minutes. Taste and make sure the spices are balanced and delicious, which you have time to do because you are unemployed. Hell yes!

I refuse to waste a minute of my fun-times-unemployment-not-temping-vacation! I bought an unlimited Metrocard this week, because I had a bunch of errands to run, and now I know I will get some good use out of it.

Here is my list of things I will definitely do this week, in order to maximize my free time:

1. The Met, paying just a quarter (sorry, The Met)

2. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Winter Weekday Price

3. Volunteering with Occupy, details forthcoming

Add to my list!

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