Being unemployed is a very humbling experience. I immediately find myself reverting to my twenty-two year old self, ears wet and eager with nothing to show for, feeling the need to beg and plead just for a chance. The difference is that now I’m pushing thirty-eight with progressive experience in marketing and sales. The hunt feels to me like being on Wheel of Fortune. I find myself staring at my resume day after day, looking for the magic letter or phrase that’s going to unlock the next phase of my career. But I’m like that guy staring at the board, one letter off, and continues spinning while everyone else is yelling “stupid!” at me in their mind.
The experience is that much more frustrating when you talk to people, sitting in their cush job, that have been stockpiling promotions for the last decade, and they talk to you like you’re some rookie fresh out of class A ball. Speaking of how you should be a teacher, or a state employee, or find some ‘safe’ job that basically guarantees retirement (not that those jobs are ‘safe’, but it seems people default to those jobs when you talk about getting a new job, as if someone just walks into them or something). What people seem to misunderstand is that I’m not some lost soul searching for direction. I’m a marketing and business professional. It’s not just some whim, it’s a path. Now, if there is a cush job, that happens to be down my avenue, that’s a whole other story.
Sometimes I feel that my curse, at least with those who know me, is the expectation that I should either be an artist or designer, or that I should have already been an athlete. I think the latter is probably more in my imagination than in reality, most of the time, but it’s hard not to sense that somehow people are looking at me and thinking, “what the hell is he doing?” In other words, that I’m letting people down somehow. And while I wish this was just in my mind, someone close to me basically implied so much recently. It was a hurtful snippet of a text message strand. It may not have been meant to be a poisoned arrow, but it definitely stung.
However, I am lucky. Lucky for a number of reasons, but first of all that unlike my twenty-two year old self, I am not in this game alone. I have someone at my side, that supports and understands me and I can talk all this through with. I’m also lucky because I have grown out of my “get rich and famous” youthful aspirations. Like most people fresh out of college, I figured I’d be sitting pretty by the time I was on the edge of forty. While I still feel like I’m well worth that kind of money, and more, I’ve now lived enough to know what I truly want and need, and it’s nowhere near that income level.*
I’m quickly recognizing this post is probably not unlike my last post a few weeks back. That probably hurts the cred of my blog. I do try to keep things fresh and interesting and want this to be a place that, if you want to know me, you can. I’m not exactly the most extroverted and open guy. So I apologize up front if this is all a bit redundant. However, if you’ve been unemployed and had to search for work, you know that it can be a bit of a mindf*ck. Despite your confidence, resume and contacts, it can quickly devolve into a desperate search for anything, if you’re not careful. Consider this my attempt at being careful. It is my therapy, my way to voice frustration without having to say a word.
All that said, people have been very supportive, and for the most part, wanting to help and offering useful and productive ideas to move my search forward. The ideas are appreciated, even if they are over simplified or a complete redirection of what I’m trying to do professionally. That time may come where I have to call an audible, and run the bootleg left, but until that time, the hunt continues for a career in marketing. So if you hear of a job as a marketing specialist, marketing coordinator, director of marketing, marketing guru, marketing master of the universe, marketing iron man, marketing super fly, marketing supa dupa fly, or whatever, let me know.
*If you are a potential employer, please consider this figurative, as I literally would like millions of dollars.