I haven’t made any journal entries in awhile and I feel some pent up stuff that I need to release.
“I have not worked a day in 2020.” Some variant of this thought has been on my mind all year. I built a 10 year career with a single employer, finally achieving lower management, before our business group was eliminated due to automation. My last day fell on the week before Christmas 2019. I knew that this was on the horizon when I crossed the threshold to management in 2018. At that time, I decided that I would return to school and get an MBA through a part-time program. I was hoping that, when I lost my job, I would have an MBA that would refresh and enhance my skills; something that I could take with me to grow, or at least maintain, my current wages. Alas, I was just over halfway done with the program when my employment came to an end.
I exited my job as confident as I could feel, believing that I had marketable, transferable skills. I was pleased with my resume, and it was further enhanced by the marketing professionals from the outplacement service provided by my employer. At first, I attempted an internal transfer. I applied to about 50 positions, interviewed for between 10-15 positions, made it to final interviews, but was rejected for another candidate in all cases. Alright then, obviously my calling lies with a different company. I can accept that. January and February were productively spent with applications. I had interviews every week. I would make it deep into the candidate pool, but there was always someone else who would be offered the position.
I became aware of Covid-19 in late February. It appeared likely to me that the disease would spread to my country, with devastating effects. It seemed ridiculously contagious, spreading across the globe in about 3 months or less. My fiancé is immunocompromised, so we prepared well for the pandemic before the panic buying set in. We expected to be in lockdown until sometime in the summer and we supplied ourselves through the month of June, which was something barely conceivable at the start of March. Prepared for a siege, I settled into my spring studies, keeping an eye on the job boards for possible positions.
Now it is the end of May. My spring studies are complete and I’m taking the summer off for financial and pandemic reasons. I enjoyed my classes. They gave me something to focus on during our quarantine and I am pleased with my grades. I am proud of the way the household has handled the quarantine. I’m the only one who does the shopping, for the most part. I buy groceries at 3:00 in the morning, when everything is freshly, fully stocked and there are no competing, contaminated customers to contend with in the aisles. Refrigerated items get disinfected when I get home and the shelf-stable items sit in a “decontamination area” for three days. My fiancé and I feel spoiled by curbside pickup for our pet supplies and other items.
I feel blessed to have my fiancé in my life. Our relationship is strong and we are great life partners for each other. I am so thankful that the years of childhood abuse are behind me, that there is no abuse in my relationship, and that I truly have a miraculous prospect of marrying my ideal partner. Domestically, we are content, satisfied, and capable of sustaining ourselves until winter, if need be.
You can be well provided for in your castle, but the essence of a siege is that you are trapped. Originally, I felt trapped by my future. Until I had a job and earned some income, the siege mentality was a financial one. I budgeted and strained to stretch my expenses to the minimum. Now, with the pandemic, I am not alone in this endeavor. Now, there are 30,000,000+ other people who are unemployed with me.
I have a friend with a family of four, plus relatives, living in a home he just bought last year. He was a banquet chef at an upscale hotel, but now the hotel is closed. He was the major income earner for his family, but now what? He is in worse shape than me because more hungry mouths rely on him. His entire industry has been destroyed with little prospect for the future.
My background is legal and financial, but I’m not an attorney and my legal skills have gathered rust due to the specialty I was in. Most of my career has been spent on jobs that did not make use of my skills, with the exception of maybe five years of my career. I’m not sure what comes next. During the last recession, I ran packages for UPS. It wouldn’t surprise if it comes to something similar by this winter.
What does surprise me is that the legal referral service that I used 13 years ago still pays the same wage offerings as they did back then. I find that very depressing. $17 an hour meant something back in 2007. Assuming 2% inflation, that same wage would be around $22 an hour in 2020 dollars, yet the wage offerings are still in the $14 – $19 an hour range. I need something that pays at least $25 an hour.
I need to rant about the job market. The job market is bullshit. It is this payola system of “networking” where only the known so-and-so gets offered professional positions. If you don’t know the right people, then too bad. Here’s a mop bucket and a floor for you to clean for minimum wage, because that’s what nobodies get in this crony system. Only the quality conmen can get in. You’ve got to “up your game,” as if you’re playing your swindler’s part in this amusement park of false occupations. I guess the bitterness of the job search is starting to show, and I am aware that it will only get more difficult before it gets better.
I stay focused on my blessings to get buy. I take control of the things that I can control and I defend against the things that I can’t. This is how I will survive the siege of 2020.