Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 432: Developments

On Thursday, I will end more than 62 weeks without work. Thanks to a dear friend's vigilance, I have found work that I cannot provide a lot of details about. It's a part-time, blue-collar job that is anticipated to last at least seven months.

Obviously, this wasn't why I went back to college to get that degree. But I am fortunate in many ways. The person I will be working for seems like an outstanding person, I'm already a fan. The hours are challenging... 12-hour, overnight shifts, including every third week working six straight days. Vampire hours, and I am not normally sparkly. However, I will be earning more than the government was graciously providing me in unemployment insurance, and I am extremely pleased to no longer be on the dole.

These will be long, weird nights, theoretically very quiet. I'm somewhat of a night watchman. Since that's one of my favorite Tom Petty songs, cool. On that stretch of six, I suspect that it will be like I am not even home since the days will consist of getting home at 6 a.m. and needing to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep before being back at work late in the afternoon. I'll be more or less absent all the time. However, after that stretch I have a week off. That's kind of nice.

But, I will be looking to do some "sleep stockpiling" until I become adjusted to the unusual hours. If anyone has performed under similar circumstances, I welcome your thoughts on how to thrive.

In 2001 when I was out of work seven months I took a job delivering pizza. At some point your pride becomes a luxury; it will not pay your bills.

Two of the four juicy local gigs I've recently been in the running for did not pan out in the last few days. Perhaps one of the remaining two will hit. In the interim, this is the first time an employer has made me feel wanted. I want to reward that with the best performance I can provide.

There was a team meeting of the group of others who have been hired for this. Only one was older than me, and the rest were significantly younger. Because of the solitary nature of this job, I will rarely see my "co-workers." I don't know what to expect, I just know that it's going to be a good thing to feel like I'm not just a lump.

There will be a physical component to this, and that's a little daunting as I am not in peak condition. However, a pre-employment strength and fitness test (I have never had to do that before) was passed with flying colors, so I am on the clock starting late Thursday. Can I still call this the Jobless Journal?


My social media departure has generated tons of concerned e-mails and texts... wait, did I say tons? I meant none. While that hurt my feelings slightly, on the other hand I think it indicates the predominantly false nature of "social" media. Someone who claims to have 415 Facebook friends or 303 Twitter followers is probably delusional. I've found that sometimes people create multiple accounts and cross-follow, that can build up numbers. (Are you listening, Mittens?) I always wonder if someone has hundreds of "friends" can they even name them? A lot of these numbers are collections meant to stroke ego, not an indication of actual friendship.

Things like that are why I decided that for the time being at least, social media isn't for me. I had something like 130 FB friends, of which less than 20 were family. Of the remaining 110, less than 25 were people who I interacted frequently with. That leaves about 85 who were people I had met in high school, college, work or randomly through life. Of those, most reconnected with a flurry... "hey, I remember you, how has your life been since ... ?" There's a blitz of catching up followed by the infrequent random dispatch about something or another.

In a way, I like that. As an example I think of my friends Dale and Ken and Randy. We have been friends since we were very young, and at times since, years or more have passed between us without contact. Facebook provided an avenue to end those lengthy voids, and to reconnect. I'm pleased that I did not lose my old friends forever.

Now, even with Facebook, we still only interacted sporadically, but the club membership has been renewed. We don't have to be engaged on a daily basis to maintain the investment.

I've learned a great deal about the meaning of friendship lately, about who places importance on the value associated with that word and those who do not. For that, I am indeed fortunate.


One factor that hastened my decision to abandon social media was some of the things posted in the aftermath of the Colorado mass murders in Aurora early on July 20.

There's a segment of "modern" society (can't call it "civilized" society) that just cannot help but snark and make fun of everything. EVERYTHING. I've certainly been guilty of gallows humor and poor taste, but as time has gone by I have lost my affection for it. I want to be open-minded, and have long held that what makes the idea of America great is that true freedom of expression means you can be a complete freaking idiot with what you say.

That doesn't mean I am going to like it, or that you SHOULD be that way.

The mass murder of a dozen people guilty only of going to a movie is just not funny. It's why there aren't a lot of 9/11 jokes.


One moron commented about the small children at the movie, specifically a baby, wondering how they paid to get into the movie.

I guess if you're really insecure and desperate to portray yourself as "edgy" this is the sort of thing you resort to. Yes, hipster, you're so above it and cool.

Actually, you're just an asshole.

This sort of thing is generally the purview of the too-young set. Although occasionally you will get the older poseur trying to "hang with the (self-anointed) cool kids" and get right in there and sling ignorance alongside them.

I've beefed about this previously. There's actually nothing wrong with a little decorum and manners, but it's a dying art. At a recent formal ceremony I attended, people hooted and howled like animals, essentially ruining the experience for everyone else. This rudeness is seen in locales as proper as a State of the Union address or a presidential press conference.

It's seen in movie theaters where attention-deficit dickheads decide to check their phone, or even ANSWER it, during a screening.

Jokes about the murder of 12 innocent people and the attempted murder of 58 more are just not acceptable. My participation in online forums that consider this fair game is optional; I opt out.


Saw "The Dark Knight Rises" yesterday and enjoyed it very much. A suitable end to Nolan's trilogy, and with enough things left open to extend or revive the franchise should he or anyone else choose to continue in that vein.

I appreciated the honor and respect Nolan showed to the franchise. He handled it perfectly. If you've enjoyed the series thus far, you have to see it.


  1. Hi there. Congratulations on the job! I, too, have made some changes from the direction I thought my life would take. It has been enlightening, though sometimes stressful. It is not always easy to step into a different path, but it is rewarding.

    Oh, and I didn't respond to your dropping out of social media sites, because I thought maybe you needed a break.

    Cheers to you!

  2. glad you have a paycheck, and i hope you milk the experience of this job for everything it's worth. re: your comments on social media...facebook's change makes it impossible for me, at least, to see everyone's statuses...statii? :) so sometimes when i am browsing through the ticker, someone's name pops up (like yours did this morning) and i can tell something's changed (like you had a job!@!!!!) so i go look them up then... which is better, for me, than not ever being in touch... i have enjoyed reading your jobless journal and i think you can continue to call it that until you have a job that doesn't feel like a job...

  3. Peg, since you're far and away one of the best writers I have ever met, having your readership is an honor. Thank you! I'm thinking of writing about my vampire-hour experiences, but considering my new employer is someone who is notoriously publicity-shy, I will have to be vague. I can do vague...