How to Job Hunt on the Weekend
'Galatea' is a columnist writing about her experience looking for work after her recent downsizing. Previous entries in her series can be.
My family is well bred for survival. We barely escaped political turmoil before coming to America. We clawed our way from poverty and welfare checks and vagrant irresponsible fathers into a comfortable upper-middle class lifestyle, and slung my generation into college and beyond.
With the loss of my job and the abrupt halt of my upward momentum, it would be really easy at this point in my story to resort to indolence and self-pity.
Ha! No. Why the hell would I do that?
Admittedly, I slept in a lot. I may have called an ex in blubbering drunken despair (oops), but the morning after, my alarm clock went off at 7:45 am as usual, but this time, I slapped it off—and stayed in bed.
I’m jobless, I thought grumpily as I flipped onto my side and drove my face into a pillow. I’m jobless and I’m gonna be broke in two months and I can’t do anything about it right now because it’s a weekend.
The pillow sank under the weight of my head, collapsing around my face in an unsatisfying manner. You were a dumb purchase, pillow. A dumb, unnecessary purchase. “Fuck you, pillow,” I said aloud. It mutely sat, unresponsive.
In crisis mode, my family tends to focus singlemindedly on doing everything to get out of a situation as soon as possible. We identify people who can help us, plot byzantine courses of action, and refuse to focus on anything else—indulgences, relaxation, or self-pity—until we’re no longer in danger.
By 9 am, I’d already emailed my professional contacts asking to grab coffee and lunch soon, forwarded my email address to my old colleagues, and rebooted my old job-hunting search engines, though I was well aware that very little would come out of that. I hadn’t left my bed yet, and now I had nothing to do for the rest of the day.
On a related note, patience is not one of my family’s virtues.
I showered, got dressed, cleaned my room. It was now 11:30 am and only two of my contacts had responded to my emails. I quickly scheduled lunch with them.
Now it was 11:32 am.
By 11:45 am, I’d begun rearranging my room to better accommodate some positive chi flow that would attract the energy of opportune forces and this is such bullshit, I thought halfway through and stopped.
By 12:15 pm, I’d eaten lunch and ran out of distracting things that I could do for the day.
“You’re gonna find it really tempting to lock yourself in your room and curl up and die,” my old boss had said before I left. “Make sure you keep yourself busy.”
Maybe I could get a haircut, while I could still afford it. My regular salon is pretty cheap as it, and maybe they had something open.
By 12:30 pm, I’d booked an appointment—for tomorrow.
I wasn’t prepared to call up my friends to go drink—they were equally as careerist, and I wasn’t ready to tell them that I was the first among them to lose my job. Besides…it was 12:30 pm.
I’m not going to say it’s the first time in my life that I didn’t know what to do. But as I ran out of errands and activities throughout the day, I could no longer distract myself from the fact that I’d run out of real goals. Not that I didn’t have objectives to achieve; finding a job ranked as the Number One Thing I Really Needed To Do As Soon As Possible.
But prior to this, I’d moved from Point A in my life to Point B, and I knew exactly when and how I’d get there. I knew when I was ten, for instance, that I’d graduate from high school when I was eighteen if I worked hard enough.
And after that I knew that I’d graduate from college when I was twenty-two, working like mad as well. And I knew that every summer I would get an internship and rack up as much job experience as I could, especially given that the market began to tank in 2008 and I needed to differentiate myself from the crowd as much as possible.
And I knew when I was little and my mother decided to leave my father, that he would be out of our house soon—I didn’t know down to the minute when I no longer had to see him every day, but I knew that it would happen, as certain as the sunrise.
Even my family had a goal. Point A was a war-torn country where someone had ordered their execution against a wall in a basement. Point B was anywhere but Point A. The only way to escape was to run. Running is a real action, though, and not something that you wait for.
This time, I didn’t know what would happen, or how long it would take, or what I needed to do, or how long I would have to stare at my computer screen, waiting for something to happen to me over a long, long weekend.