Many readers of Pagan Activist know I’ve been out of work for quite some time. It’s something I lament about frequently in my personal life and on Facebook. I interview to no avail. Time and again I’m am left disappointed by my inability to lock down a job. And I have no idea why I no offers come in. I show up to interviews in my best suit (which I spent a fortune on), early. I make direct eye contact, smile, and answer questions to the best of my ability. I write handwritten thank you notes after an interview. I’ve hired a professional to write my resume. I’ve participated in many mock interviews. I’ve signed up for (literally) 20 temp agencies over the last couple years. I call those temp agencies weekly to “check in” so the recruiter doesn’t forget who I am.
But still I am sans job.
My biggest critics are family members who after spit out “just get a job, any job.” I also hear “You’re being too picky” frequently. Instead of rallying behind me they play the blame game, blaming me for the inability to finding work paying a living salary.
When I lived in New Hampshire I applied at several retail outlets without success. I don’t know why I was never called for a high school job like register jockey but failing to lock down such a job really impacted my self esteem. After all, if I couldn’t get a shit job then it was no wonder I couldn’t get a real job that would launch my career.
I moved from New Hampshire to my native Massachusetts a few months ago. Now I have retail job. And you know what? It’s pretty pointless. My grandmother is fond of saying “at least it gets you out of the house” though I’m not sure why that’s so important. There are far more important things I can be doing than ringing a register: making dinner, cleaning, knitting, running… It’s as if getting out of the house is far more important than staying in it and I’m not sure why she’s of that mentality.
The place I work deliberately does not have fulltime employees. They do not want to pay benefits. The wage is one I made 25 years ago in high school. Because of the part time status and the low wage, my paycheck does not cover the grocery bill. But at least I’m out of the house. Right?
A fantastic article came out in January of this year. Entitled “It Is Expensive to Be Poor” Barbara Ehrenreich knocks it out of the park.
For most women in poverty, in both good times and bad, the shortage of money arises largely from inadequate wages.
What I discovered is that in many ways, these jobs are a trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for child care or take a second job.
That’s the trap I’m falling into. With an unpredictable work schedule I cannot seek a second job. I cannot temp. I cannot seek full time employment and expect to keep this job. I can feel the cycle of economic abuse tightening its noose around my neck. Soon, like many victims of abuse, I’ll be dead.