Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

If You Can Get It - 8

Well, tonight is a bit on the short side, thought this brings me to just over 10,000 words total. However, sanity demands I get to bed before 1AM. The last couple nights have stretched closer to 2, and it's taking a major toll on my ability to function during the day.

As of tonight I'm just about exactly 3,000 words behind where I'd have to be to finish on time. I'm hoping I can get some major sessions in over the weekend and catch up. It would really help if I'm ahead of quota before I start the new job on the 17th.


When Kristy sat down in front of her laptop again, the news from PocketDJ had apparently hit the wires. Emails had flooded in.

“I saw the news release about Apple investing in AppLogix, is that good or bad for your PocketDJ project?” “Heard that thirty people got walked from AppLogix today, are you okay?” “All of us in the hardware development group got laid off this morning. Are you in the same boat?” “My boyfriend is getting a recruiting company going. Let me know if you want a referral.”

Kristy found herself curiously distant from the flurry of news and requests. By Monday, if not sooner, she knew these would achieve urgency for her. But after the last few hours they seemed a distant concern. Instead the sisters made dinner, then baked cookies and watched Die Hard.

Kristy had thought it would be Saturday— when Katie went off to work her shift at Starbucks — that her state of joblessness would suddenly become painful again. Instead, she cheerfully went for a run and stopped by for coffee near the end of Katie’s shift.

Sunday evening she found herself thinking about how long the inventory being aired in would last, and when the sea-shipped Players would arrive, and suddenly the reality which had seemed distant smote with its fullest force since her long walk across the parking lot: I don’t have a job. She had seldom not been looking for a job over the last ten years since coming to the South Bay. There had always been a certain exhilaration to thinking, “I’ve been at this job long enough I could be looking for my next opportunity now.” But here, for the first time, she was as one of the great unwashed horde of outsiders: those who were looking for jobs but did not have one. Tomorrow morning would roll around and it would not matter to anyone but her whether she got up or not.

“Your profile has been viewed by 19 people in the last 15 days,” LinkedIn assured her. But when she consulted this list she found that half of these were among her fellow sufferers, other people late of AppLogix who were “now looking for my next great opportunity”, checking to see if she too was out of work. In the past, her LinkedIn profile had been like an employment lottery — that slim chance hovering out there at the horizon of probability that someone would contact her and offer her a better job than her present one. Several times this had, in fact, worked. She had made no effort to find AppLogix, they had found here. But now it seemed a capricious friend. I too can summon career prospects from the vasty deep, but will they listen when I call?

“What am I going to do,” she asked Katie.

“They’re still hiring at Starbucks. Do you want to take a temporary job there while you’re looking?”

For a moment she imagined herself as the ideal boot-strapper, taking a service job rather than sitting idle. There she’d be, mixing lattes and cheerfully greeting people at the drive through. Until after just a week or two she’d overhear two patrons discussing a business plan and provide some staggeringly good price of advice. Or as she handed over an iced coffee to a harried executive, something about her would stand out from the usual tattooed and pierced people behind the counter, and she would ask her, “What are you doing working here?” “Oh, I’m just doing this to fill a few weeks while look for a new job.”

The fantasy shattered as she considered exactly how she would have reacted to the story of a Starbucks barista “between jobs” in the tech industry. Heartlessly or not, her world was even less inclined to take the holder of a “between jobs” job seriously than the “actor” waiting tables. That, at least, fit a certain stereotype.

“There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary solution,” she said, clearing her mind of these thoughts. “Besides, if I take a job I’d give up unemployment benefits.”

“That’s dumb,” Katie observed curtly, but had no further advice.

In defense of sanity Kristy quickly developed a routine: Get up at 6:30, take a three mile run. Clean up. Put on business clothes. Make breakfast and coffee. Sit down with laptop to consult job listings, check email, search for new professional connections.

By the end of the first week she’d had several enquiries via email, filled out multiple applications, and even had one interview scheduled for the following week. She’d let all the recruiters she was connected to know that she was “looking”, and forced herself to exert a conscious effort not to check back each day to ask, “Anything yet?”

Although she assured herself that it would be “normal” to take up to three months to find a new job, the difference between her accustomed level of activity and her current one was so sharp it made her panicky. Her world closed in, and before she talked to anyone outside of her enclosed, jobless existence she had to remind herself, “It’s been nine days now. Two days since I scheduled that interview. One day since I talked to that recruiter. Three hours since I sent that email.”

The clock of her anxiety ran far faster than that of the world outside, and she feared that in a moment of unawareness she would reveal her isolation from the outside world by saying something which would constitute an admission that an hour was long to her, a day an eternity, a week unthinkable.


mandamum said...

great description!

Banshee said...

Oh, man. You have so nailed the out of work, downsized feeling. And the job hunt. And the sudden slowdown of life.

Thanks for being so honest. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's felt that way.