Tag Archives: unemployment

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

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A shot inside the bookstore I talked myself out of managing.

I talked myself out of being hired as the manager of a used book store, this afternoon. I already have a job. I was hired a couple of days ago for a temporary job lasting until October. So I didn’t have that additional pressure of unemployment hanging over me when I arrived for my interview. I did have an upset stomach, and as usual my cataracts made everyone blurry. Some customers came into the store and I realized that if I worked there I wouldn’t see their faces if they tried to get my attention. This bothered me a great deal. I consoled myself with the knowledge that my vision will very likely be improved after surgery which would hopefully occur next month. Not the right state of mind to be in going into an interview.

I was just honest with them. They were nice people, very honest and straight-forward themselves. I could see myself working for them. But I sold myself short. I gave them all the reasons they shouldn’t hire me, instead of the reasons they should. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did say that I would be very enthusiastic about the job, and devote myself to it, and that I was very good with people. All true. But I was apprehensive, thinking I would be getting in over my head. They appreciated my saying that. But the truth was they needed someone they wouldn’t have to spend too much time training. They also wanted someone well versed in used books, and I had just a small bit of used book experience. I felt out of place, when I should have been finding reasons to feel at home there. I emailed them afterward saying how they couldn’t find a more dependable and committed manager than myself. Which isn’t bragging, when I take on a job I care about I put all of myself into it. It becomes my life. All things I should have pointed out in the interview. Alas.

So here is the lesson. Don’t sell yourself short. Go into an interview upbeat and giving them all the reasons to hire you. If you have reservations about the job keep them to yourself. Because an interview isn’t just a conversation, it is about selling yourself. I failed this afternoon at selling myself. I guess I didn’t really want the job because I was afraid I would be overwhelmed and do a terrible job. I wanted to spare these nice people and myself that experience. Fair enough. But it didn’t need to be like that. I could also have looked at it entirely differently. I would have a lot to learn, but I could have handled it after a few stressful months of on the job training. As I said, I have a job already, so all is not lost. Still, I wish I had approached the interview differently, Let this be a lesson to you. Don’t sell yourself short! or you will beat yourself up afterward just like I am.

I Got a Job!!!

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I finally landed a job after feeling I would never get one. It is temporary, lasting from March 26 to Oct 1, with the chance, if I do well, of it becoming permanent. This shows that it is not hopeless. If I can get a job, virtually anyone can. This means no more staying up until 2 am. I have developed that bad habit, which meant I always slept till 10:30 or 11:30 each morning. I will continue to blog although I doubt I will be able to put as much energy into it as I have in the past couple of months. I need to switch gears and get into customer service mode. I have been pretty introspective lately, and now I need to think of how best to serve, because I want this job to work out well! I will still be seeking other opportunities to make money, and find outlets for my creativity. I feel I have a lot to offer, and not having the major distraction of unemployment will help me focus on how to move things forward. Instead I will have to deal with the distraction of employment. It is difficult to stay creative while working. There is a tendency to just lay back and relax, become a vegetable, when you are off work. I will try my best to avoid that.

Of course, I cannot judge solely by my own circumstance, but it does appear that the economy is slowly recovering. We need to find new ways to put people to work. There are millions of very creative people like myself who are not making use of their talents. There needs to be more ways for creative people to find ways of making a living at what they truly love. I will continue to explore those possibilities. Poverty is a crime! Poverty saps the energy and potential to make a difference in the people it afflicts. We need another war on poverty. It is definitely in the interest of business to eliminate poverty, because then they have far more customers! You want us to buy your products? Then create jobs for us, so we can!!!! It is very easy to stop being concerned about unemployment after you are employed. I am still very concerned about it. This unemployment is weighing us down, keeping the economy from taking off again. I think private enterprise could go a lot further towards creating jobs. The government can only do so much. Ultimately, it is simply people helping people one on one that makes a difference. Discover a way this unemployed person could contribute to your business, and the unemployed need to find ways they can contribute. You can’t just sit around waiting for something to happen, although I have plenty of occasions of not having a clue about what to do. So I can definitely sympathize.

But this is a time when we all need to be active, creative, and putting ourselves out there. The era of passivity is over. We are in an interactive age, in which we get to create the kind of world we want. I am enthusiastic about that. Of course, landing a job makes me optimistic about a lot of things. I suspect it is much too early to put my cranky pants away just yet.

Reflections on Job Hunting

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Oh yes, some of us are still looking. In spite of all the media hype about the improving economy, a lot of people are still in desperate straights. I couldn’t pay my rent for March. I am hoping I will land a job very very soon. I am beyond all the hand wringing, and needless worry robbing my sleep. I’m over it! What will be, will be, is my attitude. I do what I can. I’ll break this post into two parts. The Good and the Bad.

The Good:   I had an excellent job interview yesterday. In spite of getting confused about the address, and wandering up and down Sacramento Street, I finally found the store. It feels like a good place to work. The employees seem cheerful and unstressed. Of course, the manager assured me that things get stressful around Christmas time. I’d love to work there, and hopefully, I shall. I’m on pins and needles as I wait. The interview went well because I was relaxed and cheerful myself. I didn’t feel pressured to do a good job. I had prepared for the interview by checking out the website for the store, and familiarizing myself with what they sold. I liked what I saw. So, I went in with a good attitude. Many times, you find yourself interviewing for a job you really don’t want, but things being what they are, you have to work somewhere. This is a recipe for disaster. In this interview, we laughed and got a little off track talking about the crazy world of retail. We talked about how to handle situations that come up, and I enjoyed really exploring how best to deal with various potentially stressful situations. This is how interviews should go. So…always do research and listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking. Then answer to the question, not to what makes you think you should have the job. You will have the opportunity to address that, at the end of the interview if not before. But it is important to not find yourself talking past your interviewer. You need to be on the same page, as they say.

The Bad: I had another job interview last Friday which didn’t go so well. I had glanced at the store’s website but didn’t take the time to really study it. And I payed for that blunder. The first question was: “What can you tell me about our store?” Oops! “Uh, that it is a store?” It wasn’t that bad, but pretty close. Homework is important. So I basically kind of floundered, recovered a bit, but they could tell I was winging it. Even if you have the gift of gab and are charming as hell, which I am, it doesn’t help in this instance. I left knowing there was no chance of landing that job. Then there are the frustrations of endless bureaucracy which the poor and unemployed must endure. I get a bill from what I had thought was a free city health care program. I can’t pay my rent and I get a bill? How does this work? So I will have to hash that out. Then I get emails from a nonprofit company which helps people in their job hunting. You need to take this workshop, Ok. Wait. No. Not that workshop, I meant this one. It went back and forth a few times and I got aggravated and lost my temper. I emailed that I really didn’t need their services, I had gotten jobs without it, and could again. Not very nice, I admit, but sometimes it can feel like you are spending most of your time going through a ton of job hunting preparation instead of actually job hunting. Some of these workshops can be helpful, some of them, not so much. The bottom line is the human interface. I wonder how many people actually land a job as a result of jumping over a bunch of bureaucratic hurdles. Job counselors can sometimes come across in a condescending manner, they can afford to be arrogant, they have a job! Which brings me to the worst of the worst things about job hunting. When you are down and out, people treat you like crap. I’m sorry, but it is a fact. This doesn’t help matters, obviously. It enrages me that there are companies that won’t even consider hiring someone who is unemployed. I consider that to be borderline criminal.

But don’t get me started!

My Life in 2-D

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looking towards alcatraz, as I see it.

I had a good morning. I paid off my rent, thanks to the help of friends, one of which I ran into as I stood in line at Wells Fargo.  She looked cute in her stylish hat. It is nice to have friends.

But enough sunshine and daisies, I had wanted to bitch on this post so here goes. I love San Francisco. I came here partly because of it’s unique beauty, and now I can’t really see it! My vision is shot to hell. I don’t care if prospective employers see this, they would figure it out soon enough. I can still do a job. I’ve learned how to compensate. I am still a wise investment. I’ve got a brain and I know how…..Ok Ok!! I’ll stop trying to sell myself. But, anyhow, as I walked down Polk St. to the bay, checking for help wanted signs, and other places where I might work, I was unable to enjoy the city I love. No more 3-D. My life is now in 2-D. Not literally of course, but that is how it feels. Out of focus, with a bit of double vision. I gaze out on the bay at fuzzy dots. Are those boats? It is more than enough to make a cheerful guy like me pretty grumpy.

My life is flat and dull. I don’t have all those sharp edges anymore. It isn’t just because of the cataracts. My brain is dull as well. I have come to accept a lot of things that used to drive me up the wall, or leave me in a deep depression. I thought I would never get used to losing my sight in my left eye. But I did. I accepted that fifty percent of life would be shrouded in darkness. I simply lived my life to the right. There is no left as far as I am concerned. (and I think the same is true of Barack Obama). Unfortunately, when I first began living my life on the right, I was still driving. I almost side swiped another car on the interstate. I was unbelievably close! The other guy’s eyes were so wide! Scared the shit out of me! That guy was living his life on the right and left. So I gave up driving. Once in a while I accidentally ran into somebody. I mean, I literally ran into them. They look at me like I am a total jerk, and it usually doesn’t do any good to explain. I was in the wrong. Even though my left is in darkness, it is still there, and I have to take it into consideration.

The uncertainty and fear I feel could be considered a part of that dark left side of my life. Rather than let it lie in darkness I need to bring it over to the right, so it doesn’t just fester, grow mold and poison me. Awful things can happen in the dark.

So even though I live in a 2-D world, it could be worse. How about 0-D? So I carry on. At some point I will likely get an operation to remove my cataracts, even though I risk total blindness. Seeing well was an important part of my life. I want it to be again. Otherwise all those beautiful sights in San Francisco are going to waste!!

I Am So Grateful

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I am so grateful to the two people who have stepped up to help me in my need. I am now able to pay my rent for February! In spite of being turned down for General Assistance. One person I hardly know, but she lives in my building and she has helped me in the past, when I needed a ride to the hospital. She is a life saver. The other person is a precious friend. Thanks so much!

This tells me that even though life can truly suck, there are people who go out of their way to help. I must do everything I can to get a job! I must not make their sacrifice for my sake, go in vain. Because I can’t expect to get this kind of help in March as well, and April, May…. I have to get it together very soon, like tomorrow. But this does give me a bit of breathing room. Come March I hope it isn’t the same old story. I have got to make a difference!

I feel so guilty when I am helped in this way, like I am not deserving. I feel sometimes that I am in the shape I’m in because I haven’t tried hard enough. If I had done a better job at my last job, etc. But that was beyond my control, all of this is not due to my neglect. It is hard for me to get that, though. I don’t agree with Herman Cain. It is not the fault of the jobless that they are jobless. (Certainly there are exceptions, but as a general rule.). And did you hear the latest from Mitt Romney? He isn’t concerned about the poor because there is a safety net for them. That safety net doesn’t prevent homelessness!!! It isn’t enough to pay rent and bills. So what is the point? Granted, it is better than nothing, but thanks to the way big business has screwed up the economy, government can no longer afford to keep the poor off the streets.

Although I will do my best to land a job again, it looks quite grim. I recognize that I will very likely need help again, and it won’t be there. What can I do? I am open to suggestions. In any case, I am grateful to kind hearted people. At least for now, I am in good shape. But that will change. I just pray that I win the lottery real soon, so that I can not only help myself, but those people that have helped me. I would love to get my friend out of her dire situation. It’s all about money. What a pitiful fact!!

Wake Up !!! My Message to Occupy Oakland

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Occupy Oakland plays into the enemy's hands

This post consists of my reaction to the latest bullshit from the Occupy Oakland movement. They were doing fine yesterday, until they insisted on breaking the law by breaking into a vacant building to occupy it. The police responded with tear gas, flashbangs,  and beanbag bullets. While I like the idea of occupying vacant buildings, there is a better way to go about it. If confrontation is the goal, you better damn well have the support, and Occupy Oakland doesn’t have it. If confrontation is your goal, you need to have allies in law enforcement, the local government, local businesses, the military, and of course, the general public. It needs to be in the thousands, not hundreds. It needs to be fucking overwhelming, if confrontation is the goal. Otherwise it alienates almost everyone. Only the bonehead anarchists are left. The people that didn’t give a fuck before, and don’t give a fuck now, are left. These are not the people you want leading a revolution. They are guaranteed to screw it up, because, as I said, they are boneheads. They are courting violence. That only works at the tipping point of revolution, when you have overwhelming support which the government and military cannot successfully resist. Guys????? You aren’t even remotely close to even the beginning of such a movement. So stop the violence, it is getting you nowhere fast. The worst thing Occupy Oakland did yesterday had to be the invasion of City Hall, where they burned an American flag (great PR move, boneheads!), and trashed an exhibit of children’s art (what point did that serve?). This is precisely the direction Occupy Oakland should avoid, at all costs, lest they lose even more support. What were these people thinking? I can sympathize, being unemployed and dangling into the darkness of my own fears, but I am not ready to throw in my lot with a lot of Robespierre wannabes. The ultimate result is not pretty, because the American people are not quite ready for revolution. They won’t back you, and it might even push them into the arms of Romney or Gingrich. We need to find a better way.

The original focus of Occupy Wall Street was excellent. They wanted to educate Americans regarding the ridiculous gulf between rich and poor in this country. And not just that, but recognizing the consequences of this gulf. We can’t all be filthy rich, but we can be filthy. And this is what is happening. Unless there is a fundamental shift in priorities, and the rich recognize their obligation to turn this economy around, things are going to get a lot worse for everyone. But we need to wake up!! When I see people obsessing over Kim Kardashian, or who is going to win an Oscar, or some twitter bullshit, it tells me we are out of touch. I don’t think the American people in general realize just how fucked up things really are. The super rich of this country have blatantly ripped off the rest of us, and I don’t think that has sinked in quite yet. Although it may only be bikini underwear, the Emperor seems to still be wearing clothes. He’s naked, people!! He really is! Wake up!

Here’s some sobering video of yesterday’s events in Oakland

So what am I trying to say here? Well, first off, I am truly impressed at the degree of organization, commitment, and courage show by Occupy Oakland. It would be a shame to squander all that because of a minority of boneheads.  I think breaking the law is a bad idea. Unless you have a significant proportion of the police on your side, you are fighting a losing battle. It occurs to me that the boneheads want blood, they want casualties, because that might produce a sympathetic backlash in the public, supporting the movement. But at this stage, it would most likely lead to deadly polarization throughout the country. Violent language could lead to actual violence. I lived through a period of polarization with violence just under the surface during the early days of the counterculture. As I pointed out before, a tipping point must be reached before you throw your bodies on the barricades. We need to be finding ways of networking with government, businesses, and just regular folks, to forge a true mass movement, that the rich fuckers cannot ignore. Free enterprise is not the enemy. The grotesque abuse of free enterprise, which isn’t ‘free’ enterprise at all, is the enemy. These ultra rich bastards have raped the free enterprise system and left it to die in a ditch. Small business owners could be, and should be allies of the Occupy movement. Why not adopt a strategy in which the owners of vacant buildings invite Occupy Oakland to occupy their buildings? It could happen with the right attitude. But I guess that isn’t dramatic enough for the dumb asses that have poisoned this movement.  Trust me, if you let the anarchists have their way, it will fuck everything up in ways you cannot imagine. We’re talking anarchy!! Duh!!! Look the word up in the dictionary! It doesn’t mean social justice, it means no government at all, everyone doing whatever they fucking want to do. Anarchy lasts for about a week, if it’s lucky, then it degenerates into a vicious authoritarianism. Whoever has the guns, gets to make the rules. And they won’t be fun rules, folks! Wise up! Wake up!!

What Contribution Can I Make?

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I want so much to make a contribution to the world around me. I am so frustrated by my circumstances. I am still unemployed and I may not be able to pay my rent. Panic lurks beneath an otherwise placid exterior. I live each day as if I were not dangling over a precipice. I focus on how to get out of my predicament, sending my resume out to any likely prospect. This post isn’t more of ‘woe is me’, or ‘can you help me?’ I want this post to be about what I want my life to be about. I want it to be about creativity. I want to bring more joy and laughter into the world. I want to let people know they are appreciated. I want to leave this world knowing I have left a positive mark behind. Perhaps there is still a way out of this dilemma, I don’t know, and I am growing tired of thinking about it. There has got to be better ways of spending my time.

I watched the State of the Union address and liked the part about all of us having each other’s back. The time of only thinking of yourself and your survival isn’t going to cut it, in the future. We need to begin looking out for each other. We all have something to contribute. We need to be given the means to give fully of ourselves. Employers need to cut us all some slack. Instead of only considering the bottom line, they should become actively involved in giving all of us an opportunity to make a difference at their business. We may not be the best candidate, but we would still have a contribution to make. It would be worthwhile to hire us, and would begin the process of turning our economy around. All of us need to participate in this process. If a large portion of our population is lost to chronic unemployment and homelessness, that would truly be tragic.

Recently I wrote a post recalling how I felt about America when I was a kid. I would like to feel that way again. Millions of talented people are being passed over because they are older, or because they have recently been in school and do not yet have years of experience in their new set of skills. This is wrong!! I took classes in printing and web design. Because I haven’t been hired to put these skills to work I am getting a little rusty over time. I need to be working!!!! I want to be writing for a living, but I realize this is a slow process. My hope is that my circumstances won’t dictate that I can no longer use a computer to get my voice out.

I am not alone. There are millions of us. While the economy is slowly recovering, it isn’t happening quickly enough. So I continue to look at how I can use my talent and skills to make an impact in the world. I am not just kicking back and daydreaming about winning the lottery. Not that I haven’t thought about that, but it isn’t my only thought. Our lives can be so much better! This is how I perceive the internet, facebook, blogs, and twitter. These can be tools for helping each other out, instead of for meaningless chit chat. The chit chat is ok, but let’s do more than that. The opportunity is there to transform our society. We really can help each other in profound ways. Gossip can give way to genuine communication. Each of us should ask ourselves and each other: What contribution can I make?