Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why I’m Still Out of a Job

 

It ain’t because there is no work available. Let’s get that right out in front of everything else. All the world is screaming out for labor; look around you. Every Walgreens and McDonald’s is looking to pick up some extra help. If I were a video game character and I were playing through life as myself I would be picking up extra shifts in between job applications. I’d have a job in a week; a good job, one that my mother would be proud to tell her friends about. I’d still pick up shifts at McDonald’s; more money is better than less money, and there’s nothing wrong with those jobs.

Video game characters don’t get tired, not like real people do. I’d have an even better job a month after that. Not honestly mind you; I wouldn’t have given full value to that first employer, not enough to cover the costs of hiring and training me. Video game NPCs don’t fill out government paperwork. And they take it pretty well when you do things that’d seem skeezy to real people. But I’m not a video game character and I’m not moving up in the world.

I’d rather do almost anything in the world than go job hunting. Now, there are a great many things that are wrong with the job market but the thing I really can’t stand is the lying. No job description ever really describes the job you’ll be doing; “must be able to bend and lift 50 lbs. frequently” means “You’ll spend all night sweating to lug trailer hitches around, hating your life.” True story. But that’s at most half the equation. You have to lie to get a job. You have to stretch the truth on a resume. “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.” You lie on the job interview. And somehow we’re still surprised that no one’s happy with the job they’re doing.

And so I’ve been eating my seed corn. While working in the hard drive factory I built up a surplus of cash, and living fairly simply I haven’t yet worn it out. Thing is, I know how the game is played; I know what a tremendously bad idea living like that is. I’m a good conservative, mind you. Those that don’t work don’t eat, and I’ve never seen anything wrong with that. I figured when I got hungry enough I’d do something at least. In my darker musings ‘hungry’ wasn’t a metaphor.

Today though, I have a calling. Let me tell you a story. It begins yesterday morning, when I’m waking up and trying not to. Too awake to sleep, too tired to get up and do anything. I’m trying to shut down my spinning mind, and so I begin to pray. Praying is an excellent thing to do in those situations. Now, most of my prayers are of the “Lord, I want” variety, but when I’m feeling a little more formal I go through a checklist of things to talk to God about. First item on the list is Adoration; praise to the Lord. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it, praying alone with no guide, but I found I was rapidly running out of things to say. When you’re singing a song there’s the next line, and when the song’s done you’re done. But what do you do when you’ve got no hymnal?

What I do in those cases, I recount the Lord’s mighty deeds of the past. They’re good to remember, and you’ll find plenty of support for the idea in the Psalms even if you’re having trouble finding them in modern worship music. I’m not terribly poetic about it, though I try to be. “Oh Lord, remember that time you gave manna to the Israelites in the desert? And —

And I got stuck there. I couldn’t think of anything else. Okay, clear my mind and… nothing. Do it again; still stuck on manna. I should probably think through that story; God is trying to tell me something. Okay, Israelites in the desert, no food “why have you brought us out here to die?” manna on the rocks, they could gather enough for one day, but more than that and it’d spoil, except for the day before the sabbath when it’d last for two days, oh. They were living day to day dependent on God’s grace. Oh. Okay, that’s it.

Uh oh. Jumping back to video games, you ever run into a room, find medkits and ammo, and realize there’s a boss fight coming up? Yeah. The good Lord doesn’t often speak to me, so that probably means something hard is coming up. Great, I’ll just walk around with a feeling of impending doom all day. But I did keep that in mind, and the “Give us this day our daily bread” from the Lord’s prayer. And I thought about that, sitting outside the CVS. I had some prescriptions to pick up.

Thing is, I briefly have insurance, related to that trailer hitch thing I mentioned. But I didn’t do enough work to merit using the insurance. So do I buy the pills without insurance and take a hit to my dwindling resources, or do I do something I think is dishonest? I tabled the discussion and went in to buy Zyrtec. I have it prescribed for my allergies, and burn through it like California wilderness. Thirty pills to the bottle run out fairly quickly. I figured I’d pick up two. On the shelf there’s the normal bottles, and “Ten extra pills!” same price. There are exactly two of the bonus bottles in stock.

I laughed. When the Lord speaks to me it’s usually in the form of a joke. Not making light of a thing; laughter as an expression of joy. “What are you worried about? I’ve got this.” It’s all well and good to believe in manna on a desert hillside ages ago. I find it harder to stomach in corporate America, present day. And… right as I’m writing this I got a call asking for a little help on spreadsheet work. Friend of mine runs a small business, can use a little on-the-cheap automation. Whaddaya know.

Then this morning the other shoe dropped. Woke up early. Didn’t have to get up for another while yet. Clear head, warm bed, I lay there thinking for a while. My mind sped up. You know how people talk about getting in the zone? I was leaping from idea to inference to insight just like that. “The amount is irrelevant; a man who will kill for a million dollars will kill for five bucks if the circumstances are right.” I couldn’t have told you that yesterday. The most fundamental truths of reality can’t be comprehended by the human brain; it’s a limitation in the matter. Like a black hole, you can only make inferences by the way light bends around it. That’s why poetry works; when it’s good it reminds us of something we all know to be true but simply can’t grasp as human beings.

That’s all I have to do. Speak the Truth. That’s it. The Truth can be an immense and terrible thing, but I can do that. And for now, the place I need to do that is on Ricochet. The Lord is directing this operation, and He will move me as He needs me to move. No job applications, no government programs, The Lord has given me this calling, and the Lord will provide. I won’t even have to sell my Magic collection. You just wait and see.

(And if He doesn’t? What will you say when you’re starving? Well, I don’t know. I’ve never been in that dire situation before. I hope and I trust that I will still praise the Lord.)

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Excellent account of the out-of-work doldrums and how it puts a certain type of spin on one’s life.

    I think what is wrong with your situation is that you do not like to go out and look for work.

    Some people are like that. I had a friend once – he simply could not bring himself to go out to look for work. I talked him into going to a local “Independent Living Center” due to his depression. His chronic depression was always worse when he was facing down the end of his money stash and he knew he’d need to start interviewing. I knew if he went another few weeks without a job he would be so depressed he might simply take to bed and not get up again without intervention.

    It so happened the counselor that saw my friend was my current husband. He arranged one and only one interview for my friend – a job at a print company, handling these big unwieldy print machines. My friend used the Independent Living Center to help him brush up his resume, and one of the counselors there did practice trial interviews. That helped him get through any part of the interview where his tongue went dry and his mind felt like a blank slate.

    He had no relevant experience, which seemed like an insurmountable problem. But the woman who helped him with his interview skills convinced him the company would notice his other shining attributes and would eagerly hire him.

    He got the job and was there fifteen years, until the company went bankrupt.

    Independent Living Centers (ILS) are all over the country. If you or anyone else here wants help finding one, you can call up the local County Health and Human Services and ask them who to call. Although the ILS networks were initially set up to help up the severely handicapped, they are staffed by counselors who realize that some people are just not that good at doing the thing of looking for and finding work.

     

    • #1
    • September 24, 2020, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  2. Stina Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: I was leaping from idea to inference to insight just like that. “The amount is irrelevant; a man who will kill for a million dollars will kill for five bucks if the circumstances are right.”

    They are little glimpses behind the veil. Like the holy spirit blows on the curtain and you catch just a hint of clarity… and then it’s gone. Sometimes with a full thought left behind. In my case, I just remember the clarity.

    • #2
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:05 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. JoelB Member

    This sounds genuine to me. Praying.

    • #3
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:08 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Freelance. Hang out your shingle on the internet and let the customers come to you. Because they will.

    I really enjoyed seeing you again in South Dakota! You are always the life of the party, even when there’s no party!

    • #4
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:19 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “The amount is irrelevant; a man who will kill for a million dollars will kill for five bucks if the circumstances are right.”

    Ever hear of a wine contract? Asking for a friend.

    • #5
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

    – Matthew 6:27

    Praying, Hank.

    • #6
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:42 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Saint Augustine Member

    Excellent essay.

    • #7
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:49 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I do freelance excel automation. Have him give me a call when you get a good paying gig.

    • #8
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Stina Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    I do freelance excel automation. Have him give me a call when you get a good paying gig.

    Is this a good market?

    • #9
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker (View Comment):
    That helped him get through any part of the interview where his tongue went dry and his mind felt like a blank slate.

    I’ve been there, and I’ve had the opposite experience too, where I couldn’t answer the interview questions wrong. I know how to play the game, I just lack the will. But thank you, and thank you for your advice.

    And thanks to all of y’all for your kind words. I appreciate it.

    • #10
    • September 24, 2020, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Stina (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    I do freelance excel automation. Have him give me a call when you get a good paying gig.

    Is this a good market?

    In theory. A lot of companies out there use this kind of thing. It’s a worse idea than getting the custom software built for you, but it’s much cheaper and usually is enough to get the job done, if you’re doing it right. It does significantly increase your vulnerability to hacking.

    I basically taught myself the skill because I was working at a company like that. Built some really nifty tools.

    • #11
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “The amount is irrelevant; a man who will kill for a million dollars will kill for five bucks if the circumstances are right.”

    Ever hear of a wine contract? Asking for a friend.

    I’m honestly not sure if I’ve heard of that before or not; I think I can guess at the meaning.

    • #12
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Arahant Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “The amount is irrelevant; a man who will kill for a million dollars will kill for five bucks if the circumstances are right.”

    Ever hear of a wine contract? Asking for a friend.

    I’m honestly not sure if I’ve heard of that before or not; I think I can guess at the meaning.

    I heard it from Walter E. Williams. You promise a wino a bottle if he’ll take care of a little problem for you. Let’s just say for a wino, the circumstances are usually right.

    • #13
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    I do freelance excel automation. Have him give me a call when you get a good paying gig.

    Is this a good market?

    I’ll let you know if I get hired ;)

    I do know that when I work with an office there is always something excel magic that they need. My code is ugly but it works.

    • #14
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Stina Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    I do freelance excel automation. Have him give me a call when you get a good paying gig.

    Is this a good market?

    I’ll let you know if I get hired ;)

    I do know that when I work with an office there is always something excel magic that they need. My code is ugly but it works.

    My dad owns his own financial planning business and requests little calculators all the time. While I’ve been working on a bigger excel program over the years, it was for one of his colleagues. So I’m in demand in one little part of the world. Wasn’t sure if that was expandable.

    I’m trying to update my programming knowledge to WPF and MVVM to move the excel program to C#. It’s been rough going, full of distractions and my head hates the ICommand interface.

    • #15
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Richard Fulmer Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    • #16
    • September 24, 2020, at 5:59 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    • #17
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  18. Jason Rudert Member

    Now I wish I needed someone killed, Hank. I mean, who would suspect you?

    • #18
    • September 24, 2020, at 6:25 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  19. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    Now I wish I needed someone killed, Hank. I mean, who would suspect you?

    • #19
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  20. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Job hunting wasn’t fun for me either, and I was lucky not to have to do much of it. It ought to be a cakewalk for you. You not only have incredible brains, but you actually know things, a provably vast number of things. You could always fall back on your standby, being a great and rare human being. But what the hell, who knows whether that’s still important nowadays. 

    • #20
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:25 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  21. Wiscosotan Member
    Wiscosotan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    However, the really “wow” thing in Excel is if you can set up pivot tables.

    • #21
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:35 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Chuck Thatcher

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    However, the really “wow” thing in Excel is if you can set up pivot tables.

    Now THATS supernatural!

    • #22
    • September 24, 2020, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. Stina Member

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    However, the really “wow” thing in Excel is if you can set up pivot tables.

    Now THATS supernatural!

    Using VLookUp on a Pivot Table is cataclysmic.

    • #23
    • September 24, 2020, at 8:37 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Again, I say, rejoice!

    • #24
    • September 25, 2020, at 3:49 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  25. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    INDIRECT is where you delve into true black magic though.

    • #25
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Titus Techera Contributor

    God bless, Hank!

    Hope you get back to tinkering soon. You gotta keep a Ricochet journal of your attempts, with successes, failures, & just confusing things that occasionally happen! 

    • #26
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:30 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  27. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    However, the really “wow” thing in Excel is if you can set up pivot tables.

    One of my specialities

    • #27
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:59 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: “I know how to use the SUM function in Excel” becomes “high level proficiency with Microsoft Office.”

    VLOOKUP is my friend.

    Once you can do a proper VLOOKUP you sort of go mad with power.

    However, the really “wow” thing in Excel is if you can set up pivot tables.

    One of my specialities

    I’ve found pivot tables to be too limiting, and they have to be re-run too often. When I’m doing MRP forecasting, they just lack enough capacity for variables.

    • #28
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:13 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Arahant Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I’ve found pivot tables to be too limiting, and they have to be re-run too often. When I’m doing MRP forecasting, they just lack enough capacity for variables.

    Maybe Excel should not be the primary tool for you. 😁

    • #29
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:19 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I’ve found pivot tables to be too limiting, and they have to be re-run too often. When I’m doing MRP forecasting, they just lack enough capacity for variables.

    Maybe Excel should not be the primary tool for you. 😁

    Excel should not be the primary tool for most people. And yet, here we are.

    We’ve actually been trying to implement an MRP, but thanks to COVID and sundry other issue we are massively behind schedule.

    • #30
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • 5 likes