Hey, Barbecutie

Some Notes On Being Unemployed

Posted on: August 7, 2011

This is a creative piece from about two years ago, inspired by the work of Inez Baranay. I have since become employed, but I’m not sure all of my lingering questions have been resolved.

It’s been really long since I’ve had a job, three months now, my longest period of unemployment since I had my first job. It’s not too bad. I might never work again.

The thing about having no job is how the days blend in to each other. You don’t realise how useful a job is for marking time as it passes. Now, suddenly, it’s Thursday and I’ve been in bed at 5a.m. and awake at 2p.m. all week.

I think people judge me because I’m unemployed. Like I’m coasting through life. I am looking, maybe not too hard. No point. Too much in my way. Overqualified. Underexperienced. Wrong degree. Wrong accent. I just need a chance.

Working makes you miserable. It’s not healthy to be in such close proximity to the general public. They’re all in a bad mood because there’s a recession and spending money has lost its thrill. They are sure you’re hiding the last pair of size 14 jeans from them and that’s why they don’t say thank you.

When I grow up, I’m going to be happy. It’s not a career, it’s a lifestyle choice. But what can make me happy? I kind of know, but not really: Writer – librarian – community worker – zookeeper – hat designer – gogo dancer – sociologist – nun.

The worst jobs in the world are dentist because your fingers get bitten and teacher who doesn’t want to teach and politician with a complex like Catholic guilt and taxi driver if you can’t drive and wet nurse if you’re a fella.

Little girls still want to be princesses. And when you hear the word “doctor”, you still think of a man. So really the world hasn’t managed to change, because you can’t change things, not by handing out leaflets or becoming president or whispering things into their ears in the natal ward.

I would be a good street preacher. I’d wear a preacher’s hat and raise my voice and say ‘be nice to one another and always try your best, if you can’t be Christ-like, be humane,’ and the pun would make more sense when it’s said out loud.

My mum worries because I worry about money. She says, ‘after Christmas you’ll get a job’ and she sounds confident. I think ‘it’s not after Christmas I’m worried about, it’s the rest of my life’ but I don’t want to say that when she’s already worried. And so I say nothing at all.

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