Thanks to the generosity of one of my wife's co-workers, the family and I were able to spend a long weekend at a cottage in Lexington, MI. The cottage itself was wonderful and its location - a mere block away from the sandy beaches of Lake Huron - was even more so.
The kids and I spent hours in the Lake. I even spent one afternoon splashing around in the whitecaps as though my 48 years didn't matter. I may as well have been 10 for all the fun I was having.
And then, yesterday, we returned home.
There was a phone message for me from a local commercial television station at which I had applied. I set up an appointment for an interview.
And so today, I had the interview. The station manager seemed very impressed with my qualifications. When asked what salary I was looking for, I gave them a figure that was less than half my previous salary. It was too much for them. By several thousand dollars. They wouldn't budge in the least. In fact, for the salary they were offering, I could flip burgers at McDonald's. It appears they value cheap labor more than actual experience. Then, when I returned home, there was a letter in the mail informing me that I didn't get a job I had interviewed for a few weeks ago. There's something soul-crushing about giving your all in an interview and it - and the glowing recommendations you provided - not being good enough.
I am depressed, discouraged and frustrated. I don't mean to be self-pitying, but at times like these it's difficult to put on a brave face and keep going. But keep going I will. Not because I have any optimism left, but because I simply have no alternative. Maybe someday a decent job opportunity will present itself. Maybe not.
I hope one day I will be able to look back upon this posting and smile with relief that I made it through these hard times. But then again, I fear I may look back at these times as the "good old days" when I still had unemployment insurance and subsidized health coverage.
I'm torn between wanting to simply give up and wanting to grit my teeth and persevere. I know this recession is affecting millions of people. I know I'm not alone. But I keep thinking of the words attributed to Josef Stalin. Something like "If one person is affected, it's a tragedy. When millions are affected, it's a statistic."
Maybe that's my real problem. I'm tired of being a statistic. I am a person with a life story, intelligence, talents, hopes, quirks and dreams. I'm tired of being a percentage or a mere potential source of desperate cheap labor. I'm tired of daily fruitless job searches. I'm tired of endless applications and resumes that fly off unanswered into the vastness of cyberspace. I'm tired of wondering when my unemployment insurance will end. I'm tired of wondering when I'll lose the healthcare subsidies that are the only thing enabling coverage for my family and me. I'm tired of being labelled "lazy" or a "drug user" by some simply because I lost my job through no fault of my own. (Are you listening, Sen. Hatch?)
But most of all... I'm just... tired.