The Hungry Writer

An unemployed writer keeping sane during The Depression II.

Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Defending your life.

Posted by The eDater on January 29, 2009

Like this, but the pasta's fattening.

Like this, but the pasta's fattening.

It’s perhaps the most dreaded aspect of unemployment. We can all do without the money, you can get used to homelessness, and health insurance is over-rated for all those with intact achilles tendons.

But, in a society where what you do is often who you are, an unemployed shlub faces the withering cross-examination sooner or later. Prepare as you might, it takes saintly patience – and faith – to escape this well-meaning attack.

And I don’t claim to have either.

It hasn’t really begun yet – my grandmother isn’t in town, after all – but the set-up is there. First, suggest gaining some skills. Throw some job leads out there which have absolutely nothing to do with your experience, interests, or aptitudes. Tell stories of someone getting lucky and imply that should be you. Suggest random careers that graze an interest – but, but, they pay pretty well. Ain’t that enough?

Sooner or later it may be – but the worried closest often descend the Degrees of Desperation faster than the subject. After all, it’s just a job title to most of them. Only to you will it be your life – or a huge mass of hours therein.

And refuse these suggestions at your peril – you’re unemployed, after all! I’m not sure unemployed folks really get that big a say, do they? Beggars and choosers and all – right?

In the depression, one of the commonest complaints wasn’t the hunger – it was the feeling of impotence. The inability to provide. You’re going to feel this at some point, if the jobless state lasts long enough.

And in this market, it will.

And when that feeling comes – well, you’ll be ready to do anything.

So, how should you defend your life? In my opinion – don’t. Take all the suggestions. Act on a defensible number. Re-examine your inner kernel often enough you can hold it steady, but no need to mention it. Just graciously accept everything coming in, almost apologetically – too bad you’ve created this uncomfortable social situation, sorry, but I sure do appreciate you braving it to help.

And then do what you want, anyway. Often, what you want and what is offered will cross over – and then, if haven’t been too busy defending yourself, you’ll hear it and run.

Now, see if you can get all those emotions and contradictory ideas to work together – without snapping once, without doubting once. Saintly indeed.

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Wa hahahaha.

Posted by The eDater on January 26, 2009

They had much cooler hats than we will.

They had much cooler hats than we will.

As I peruse the business news this morning, there’s just so much good stuff for a blog about unemployment and the depression.

Like, Caterpillar – one of the pillars of DJIA, by the way – cutting 20,000 jobs. And Sprint following close behind, with 8,000 job cuts. Welcome to the bread lines, fellas!

Incidentally, Sprint says it’ll save $1.2 billion with those 8,000 cuts, meaning the average worker they’re cutting made $150,000 a year. Now, there’s probably one or two bigwigs bringing that number up, but those still have to be some well-paid folks. Well-paid folks are especially hurt by layoffs, because unemployment caps at a certain amount – in MD, you get half wages up to about $400 a week. Most of the country has something similar.

Luckily, I was paid poorly enough I’m actually getting my full half wages. Meaning unemployment forces an adjustment, but a doable one. I’m learning to love bologna – and to really love my own four walls.

For Wealthy McDucky, unemployment won’t come close to paying the rent/mortgage, let alone those nice restaurant meals, the Knicks season tickets he’s locked into, or that European vacation he already reserved since the pound is just so low, it’d be a crime not to go!

Sorry, Wealthy McDucky. You’re really screwed. Shoulda saved instead of buying the really nice condo that you could just barely afford. But hey, saving was definitely not in vogue a couple years ago when you bought the condo. People told you the condo could count as savings, after all! You probably took out a second or third mortgage as the price went up! The better to afford the finer things.

Hey, another great aspect of the depression: stomps down on materialism. All those things suddenly feel a lot like junk, don’t they? Me, I could give away all my possessions save two – and enough clothes to be clothed – and I’d be happy.

Which two? Laptop and iPhone. Why? They’re tools – the modern day digital swiss army knives. Both giveĀ  a voice. So I’ll keep them. They replace the pen and paper – which aren’t as valuable anymore, few things go through a pen and paper phase. You need to be online to be heard.

The rest of my crap? For the right price, it’s yours. Trying times like these increase spiritualism, not just because people are in trouble, but because moments of crisis cause people to realize what’s truly valuable. And it’s rarely the same stuff they thought mattered in times of plenty.

It’s not all crying faces praying for help, in other words. Plenty of folks will have their own mini-awakenings, and they’ll be real, not just grasping at straws.

Ah, but we were talking about the news. You know what, nevermind. It’s bad and getting worse. Lots of arguments over how much worse, lots of fear for what’s ahead, and they’re starting to do the ‘human’ stories about people affected by the recession. Those’re always good. Maybe I’ll get me a cardboard box and try to get on the evening news.

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