It's been 7 hours and 88 days...since they took my job away.
Today The New York Times reported that the unemployment rate has risen to 8.5%. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/04/business/economy/04jobs.html?_r=1&hp
I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel better or worse about my personal unemployment predicament. More unemployed people is more competition for jobs. But it does make me feel less alone.
Unemployment is hard. It is depressing. It is LONELY. It can turn even the most active, creative person into a human bowl of mush. Due to my own mushiness of late, I have been unable to write here for a while. The stages that the unemployed person goes through on the way to mush are as follows:
STAGE 1 – Excitement at the weight lifted from shoulders after being released from wretched job and awarded decent severance package.
STAGE 2 – Realization that decent severance package will only last for so long followed by decision to get fun, part-time work while pursuing passions.
STAGE 3 – Realization of non-existence of fun, part-time work and unprofitability of passions. Beginnings of panic appear. A bag of Fritos and episode of Law & Order: SVU here and there provide temporary relief.
STAGE 4 – Realization of non-existence of even the most miserable work. Panic in full force. Frito and Haagen Dazs consumption increased, along with size of ass. While on dates, your referral to characters from Law & Order: SVU by first names is alarming.
STAGE 5 – Work is a distant memory and becoming a seemingly future impossibility. Instead of going on dates, you decide to spend a quiet Friday night at home watching Elliott and Olivia on an SVU marathon while googling your ex-boyfriend. Corner deli has no more Fritos or Haagen Dazs. You eat a whole package of raw cookie dough and discover merits of peanut butter spread on coconut macaroons. What? It’s protein.
STAGE 6 – You stay up until 3am on a regular basis for no reason and do not rise until 11am. You plan your daylight hours around USA, TBS and TNT’s programming of various Law & Order shows. Your proudest recent accomplishment is knowing exactly which network is playing which Law & Order when and coordinating the changing of channels so that you never have to leave your Law & Order induced fog. Google has saved your ex-boyfriend’s name as a default search, including variations with his middle initial and with his current state of residency. You only shower if you plan to leave the house and you don’t leave the house very often, so you do the math. You are officially a human bowl of mush.
Various people in my life have begun to take notice of my mushiness. My stepmother sent me an email yesterday with a link for cool blogging tools. The subject line of the email read: “For the blog that you are not writing.” Ouch. My friend Dave posted a snarky comment on my facebook page two days ago publicly pointing out that I have no recent posts. “Where has your writing spirit gone?” he asked. Double ouch. My ass told me it was going to start kicking itself if I didn’t get up off of it sometime soon. Triple ouch.
And so, at the urging of my step mom, the fear of further facebook taunts by Dave, and the threats of my own derriere, I am back.
Yesterday I worked! Yes, it was only a 1-day job, but it felt great to be useful, productive and around other people. I’m learning that these are the basic things that the employed person takes for granted.
I was hired to be an improv performer for the product launch of a new low-cal beverage being made by a popular beverage company. I probably shouldn’t say the name of the product here, so let’s just say that it rhymes with Zitamin Daughter. So, Zitamin Daughter took over a large portion of Union Square yesterday from 9am-7pm. The theme of the event was fitness and all the ways that you can burn 10 calories just by doing normal activities (10 calories since this new drink only has 10 calories). My job was to portray an overzealous fitness instructor while wearing a ridiculous fitness outfit provided by Zitamin Daughter, including headband and wristbands. Hot.
But the outfit wasn’t the only hot thing. The day was hot. Sunnier and warmer than we all expected, resulting in hilarious wristband and headband tan lines. Drenched in sweat and bedecked in dumpy black sweatpants, I didn’t feel like I looked too hot. However, I did somehow manage to get a marriage proposal. It went down like this:
Short Scruffy Middle-aged Man Bearing Resemblance to Mom’s Horrible Ex-Boyfriend: I just gotta come over here to say you are a beautiful woman.
Sweaty “Fitness Instructor” Not in the Mood: Um, thank you. Did you know that new Zitamin Daughter10 only has 10 calories per serving?
Short Scruffy: You are so beautiful, like a princess. Let me take you out to dinner at a real classy joint.
Sweaty: How about instead you try a Zitamin Daughter10 in Pomegranate Blueberry? It’s naturally sweetened!
Short Scruffy: I’m Italian and we treat women good. Gimme a chance to treat you good like a queen.
Sweaty: Zitamin Daughter10 has all the vitamins you need for the day. Have one in Orange-Orange! Now!!!
Short Scruffy: Aw, come on, I would marry you and treat you good like an angel.
Sweaty: Sir, I don’t think my boyfriend would like that. So you need to take a Zitamin Daughter10 and walk away. Tropical Burst is full of awesome deliciousness!
Short Scruffy: Ha. You ain’t got no boyfriend. You’re pretty like a princess, but I can tell you, you ain’t got no boyfriend.
Sweaty: I do so have a boyfriend and I also have a security guard 10 feet away who will escort you out if you don’t leave now.
Short Scruffy: When you wanna stop lying and get treated like the princess I know you are deep inside, I’ll be here and we’ll go for a real classy Italian meal. You ain’t got no boyfriend. Bitch.
Bitch? Fine. There are worse things to be called. What bothered me more about this douche bag is that he called me out on my lie: I have no boyfriend. It made me wonder…Is that just what every stupid man says when a woman he’s hitting on says she has a boyfriend? Or is it written all over my face that I have no boyfriend and I desperately want one? Is it also written on my face that I have no job and desperately want one?
This got me thinking – If given the choice, would I rather score a job or a boyfriend right now? And which is harder to land these days in New York City? According to an article today from The New York Observer, “In the greater New York area, single women outnumber single men by 210,000.” Awesome! (http://www.observer.com/2008/straight-women-new-york-citys-mating-market-worst-country)
Equally depressing, on March 26th The New York Times reported that there are currently 335,000 unemployed people in New York City, almost double the amount unemployed one year ago. Rad! (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/nyregion/27unemployed.html?ref=nyregion)
I’m no mathmagician. I’m still trying to calculate how many times I’ve showered this week. But it looks to me like I won’t be landing a job or a boyfriend anytime soon. Maybe it’s time to just buy a camcorder, pack a few Zitamin Daughters for the road, and go gallivanting to foreign places for a bit…
Jobless City Challenge: Work for 1 day for Zitamin Daughter
Dollars Saved/Earned: Approximately $200
Humiliation Earned: Negligible, as I told no one I’d be doing this
Sunburn Earned: Worthwhile. How often does one get to show off an armband tan line? Not often enough, that’s what I say.