Unemployment really fucks with your head.
You hear 'no' long enough and you begin to believe you’re the piece of shit corporate America says you are. Things like self-confidence and self-esteem erode imperceptibly, like paper yellowing or paint fading.
You haven’t won the lottery, but still manage to defy the odds. You’re told the unemployment rate for those with bachelor’s degrees is just four-percent. Yet you have come to the inescapable and bitter conclusion after two years of searching that not looking for work is the same as looking.
You learn what it’s like at the very bottom of America’s social strata. It doesn’t matter what you did, how long you did it or for whom you did it. What matters is that you are long-term unemployed, and for this single reason must not be employed.
The effects on American business could be catastrophic.
You listen to Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) say “The unemployed just don’t want to work” while you perform two highly undesirable part-time jobs only the desperate would even consider, much less take.
You attempt to forget she is the daughter of a millionaire former senator, and has roughly the same relationship with struggle that you do with menstruation.
You witness the let’s-heap-dirt-on-the-victims antics of Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as he freely questions the continued existence of unemployment benefits since “They’d just use the money for drugs.”
Or watch as newspapers publish cartoons in which a tree labeled ‘unemployment benefits’ bears fruit labeled ‘unemployment’.
You fail in an effort not to take this staggering misinterpretation of cause and effect personally, even though you yourself don’t qualify for any type of assistance. You search job listings for a position which requires falling through the cracks, and to your utter lack of surprise, find none.
Yes, you are employment-proof.
As you prepare for a second downsizing (this time into your parent’s home), you wonder if there will be a third. And if so, if it will involve cement and the outdoors. You ponder your chances, which conveniently fall into two categories: slim and none.
Of course, you could always go back to school, take out a fifteen-thousand dollar loan and hope that in a year or two someone will want to hire a fifty-something pharmacy tech. By the time you are sixty, the loan might even be paid off. Which leaves you free to begin saving for retirement.
You could also continue looking for work.
After all, in the past decade you have witnessed the New Orleans Saints win a Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals compete in one. Seen the New Jersey Nets visit the NBA Finals—twice. And the Tampa Bay Rays make the World Series.
So it could happen.
And let’s not forget it was just last week that you picked up two-bucks in the MegaMillions game.
Yes, things are looking up.