The clattering and grinding of a skateboard against pavement drifts up from the cul-de-sac and in through my open window. The embarrassingly stereotypical sounds of Southern California Suburban Nightlife would be much less of a nuisance to me if I weren’t having so much trouble falling asleep as it is. Sleeplessness seems to be negatively correlated with busyness, or perhaps positively related to the number of unanswered job applications I’ve submitted.
Today a good friend of mine messaged me to ask me if I’d been applying to such-and-such jobs. Her friend so-and-so had been rather lazy in college, but had miraculously managed to get a job after filling out a single application. As encouraging as my well meaning friend’s message was intended to be, it unfortunately harmonized with a chorus of kindly meant comments that have been echoing in my ears over the past few months.
Have you applied for A, B, C? Have you looked to see if 1, 2, 3 is hiring? Have you done this, that, and the other? I am going to find you a job! You will find a job. Joe Loser found a job, and he barely graduated from State University! How is the job hunt going? Have you found anything yet? Have you heard back from anyone yet? I’m going to look for you. I hope you find something.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, really. I am thankful for all the encouragement, prayers, and hints. It’s just that sometimes the swelling song of edification ends up sounding like a discordant verse of you’re doing something wrong. After all, if Joe Loser managed to get such a great job, then Sweet Baby Moses, what is wrong with me?
The thing is, I don’t know. I’ve applied for nearly 100 jobs since graduation. I follow all the rules. I troll all the best job boards. I keep an Excel spreadsheet of the jobs I’ve applied for. I customize the resumes and the cover letters. I follow-up. I leave my imaginary friends at home when I go to interviews. I even thank you cards, and yet I still feel like we are picking teams in P.E. and I am the one with the broken foot and inhaler.
My only answer is that my plan is not God’s plan. In my version of this story, I would currently be semi-permanently situated in my own fabulous apartment somewhere and sleeping soundly after enjoying my Saturday off (from my deeply rewarding, challenging, and well-paying job) with my friends. Instead I am wide awake and worrying at 11:47pm, while my sister snores next to me in our shared bed in the spare room of a house in a town where I know four people.
What is the point? Why this long dry spell? I’m not sure, but I don’t have to know. If there’s one thing I learned from Job (the Bible character, not the employment), it’s that I shouldn’t need to understand in order to trust. On the other hand, it sure makes the waiting a whole lot more bearable when there is a silver lining in sight. With my admittedly near-sighted view of the situation, here are the…
Upsides to Unemployment as seen in the thick of it
- An otherwise impossibly long visit with all of my dear friends in Florida
- Practice writing witty cover letters in record time (practice is an understatement)
- A fuller understanding of the Fuller girls and Morro Bay
- An acquaintance with the charming and quirky local coffee shop and its mysteriously loyal patrons
- An overabundance of quality time and Netflix time with my sister
- One of the most spectacular hikes I’ve been on in California: Paradise Falls
- The opportunity to volunteer with School on Wheels
- A heaping helping of humble pie
- A Ventura Fair venture
- The creation of a second blog (as if I write frequently enough with one)
- A much larger share of understanding and sympathy for others who have been/are chronically unemployed
- A marathon experience in trusting God in the hard times (an activity which looks about as pathetic as when I tried to skateboard that one time)
So by all means, please continue to give me your kind words and suggestions, and I’ll keep trying to remember that they aren’t meant as jabs at my personhood. It sounds like the skateboarder has gone inside for the night, and I should wrap things up as well. Tomorrow, we’ll both get back on our boards and try again.
and fall again. and try again. and fall again. and try again. Because in order to succeed, you have to keep getting up.