I’ve been struggling with unemployment for the past few months.
At first, it started out as a massive kick to the face. Dear God, here I am, 29 (at the time) earning my way through the complex digital world, meeting people, networking, not truly understanding the power I wield but I’m paying my bills on time and contributing the the toxic sludge that is the internet.
After a few days, it turned into a mini vacation. I was still meeting people for chats, consulting on best practices, sleeping in a bit, hanging out with people. It was like seeing the world for the first time in awhile. Obligations were gone for a moment.
After about a month, it became a debilitating, soul crushing experience. Waking up early to stare off at the job listings screen, wondering why anyone wasn’t returning my calls or emails then forcing myself to eat breakfast then go to the gym to clear my head.
After two months, my birthday.
I’m now 30 years old.
I can’t celebrate anything really. I have a party of sorts. I get a little drunk but it’s that kind of drunk where you want your feelings to drown so you can float to the surface, embracing clarity and say you’ll never do that again knowing damn well you’re going to do it.
It all feels like a surreal nightmare where I’ve been dropped into a Fincher movie; all muted hyper colors and textures and there’s an alternate version of me walking around, successfully. Okay so I may have described the plot to Fight Club but it’s the same idea really. There is another version of me, improving, living, thriving.
I figure, while I’m booking random gigs, for which I am grateful, I would just try to live a little bit. I try going out early in the day, New York in the summer is my favorite type but I find myself getting up early to go to the gym, be upset, get rejection letters, going home, showering and sitting in my bedroom, AC barely on watching Netflix.
You do a lot of soul searching and personal assessing when something like this happens. As it happens, I’ve been coping with a separation, so it was basically a mega shitshow hurricando mega force suckfest. You start picking things apart, putting the pieces into boxes to really get a big picture and see what happened. I didn’t lose my job due to performance, just the economics of the business. Like a survivor on Lost or Gilligan’s Island, I pick through the debris and see what I can salvage. Turns out I’m more a Gilligan than a Professor. Mercifully, the relationship is still sort of salvageable, but that’s a whole other entry. OR several. Stiff upper lip, I work through it.
I go to a lot of bar events.
I don’t tan.
I’ve dyed my hair at least four times already.
By August I book a gig working the U. S. Open (I dye my hair an acceptable color) The job feels like summer camp really.
When I close out this job, I make the note to spend more time in a gym because there is nothing on Serena Williams’ body that jiggles. THE BOOTY REAL.
I make money, meet people, pass around my business card and discuss business opportunities but the entire time, I find that I’m struggling with just what is that I am offering? What is that I do?
I continue checking my email, sending my resume out, collecting rejection letters, random messages for gigs and the occasional offer to enlarge my penis. As if my problems aren’t enough, my phantom dick is small. fuck my life.
I go to New York Comic Con.
I work a Thanksgiving Day commercial for one day, setting up office in a home gym in a house with a price tag that makes me weep.
I work a lot of odd jobs.
What am I doing?!
I’ve become a drone, mindlessly filling out job application after application, hoping to at least land a gig that caters to my skill set. I apply for retail jobs, knowing full well they are the very textbook definition of temporary and I fear repeating the vicious cycle that the last six years have been. (As me about it some time, I’ll tell you all about it. Preferably over drinks.) I wind up doing more writing and land a few pieces on Vh-1 which fuels me to find my niche and again I’m dumbfounded.
I’ve never done a career assessment. Ever.
In college, I was always in the career office looking at job postings, figuring I can do that, that sounds easy enough. I never sat with anyone to discuss my skills and interests. I never figured out what it was thatI could do and then was completely baffled as to why I had been passed for the position. I still never went to see anyone about it, figuring it was because I hadn’t had a proper resume to begin with. How many times as a college student were you passed on a job because you didn’t have a job before? (I’ve been working since the age of fourteen)
After that, I just dove head first into everything that I could, figuring something would stick in my wheelhouse. I worked in A&R, I worked as a camera operator, post production assistant, I was a copywriter, I was a delivery girl (woman!), I ran social media for various entities. I did it all, I did too much, I wanted to do more. I’d bitched about everything going on, as is the right of all working people in a capitalist society doing what they can to survive.
I have a resume with various skills but none of that experience tallied into a single marketable skill; there is no singular thing that I can define as my ability. (Swearing doesn’t count, sadly) I have a fairly succinct resume, divided between all my media work and then my production work into two fairly respectable entities, never mind the jobs in between all of that. Looking at them side by side, I feel like I’ve been a million different people from one day to the next and none of us can agree on just who we are professionally; we just want to collect the credit, the experience, file it and see where it takes us. (forget the hot mess that I am on a personal level.)
Just what the fuck is it that I do?
Like I said. I’ve never done a career assessment. I’ve had professional friends work with me on molding and shaping who I am, or at least guiding me in the direction to which is best suited to my abilities. We all agreed that I am a Swiss Army Knife. Adaptable to situations, capable, smart, stylish. Pocket sized.
I tried to do it myself.
What I’ve figured out so far is that I write a lot, (ramble coherently mostly), enjoy comic books, movies, I have pretty gay tendencies, I like animals, movies, off-color humor, drinking and swearing.
Basically I’m a Puerto Rican Judd Apatow character.
(if he was y’know a little more diverse in his writing)
I struggle with anxiety and I learned that when I speak to people, I have to memorize a script so that I can avoid mumbling something incoherent. (Fun fact! I was a theater kid for most of my life but my decision to get tattoos and dye my hair often tanked it.) I started getting more in depth with researching things, reading deeper into some articles. I wrote down ideas and tried testing them out on this blog. I tried dressing better too; apparently t-shirt and jeans is not standard grown lady apparel. I did not receive that notice. Studies indicate that doing little things to improve one’s appearance can increase their confidence and outwardly influence people they meet and thusly line your pockets with money. (vicious cycle)
Now armed with this newfound knowledge, I send out my resume, cover letter and articles to various publications in the hope that one of these strange traits will land me something somewhat resembling an opportunity but I still feel fake. I work and tweak the details, polish myself up, sell sell sell. I curb my social media habits, especially if I’m using them to market myself. I can’t have my moody music posts deterring people from considering me. (we’ve all posted Coldplay songs, shut up) Even with all of this, I feel off.
There’s a nagging feeling at the back of my head. Something I keep missing and I know it.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
I didn’t list that as something I’m fully capable of doing.
When I was employed full time, all I did was write on the side, the phantom ideas taking up my headspace while working on sheets, deadlines and deliveries. When I lost my job, I broke out all my notebooks, pouring over them, pulling them apart for deeper ideas and I started working on them. It felt much like looking through a yearbook when you’ve completely failed at everything. You want to find the place it went wrong and pick up from there, with fresh arms and legs to carry it. I broke out a fresh notebook, Post It’s tucked into margins with plot points I had to remember and things I need to remember with world building. I started working on them all the time, hoping that maybe all the experience I’d collected would just pour out in the next great American novel because so far, my luck has been terrible. What’s the worst that could happen, really?
The one thing that’s kept me sane has been writing. My reading has declined substantially despite my growing book hoarding habits (thanks Strand!) and article perusing while job hunting but my writing, my writing has continued. My last article for Vh-1, the controversial Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You May Be Christmas’ Greatest Song. Ever, landed me my first blockbuster article share (including a RT from Mariah’s team) and first brush with “U R A RETARD GO FUK URSELF MARIAH SUX” hate mail in the comments section. I’ve placed six with them and am trying to work on a full time reccurring segment of sorts but haven’t found the right hook as of yet. Truthfully, I haven’t been able to match that just yet; it’s the Thriller article of my young writing career. I’m working on Bad but fear that all anyone will ever want is Thriller. The fact is, I’m writing, so, that’s a good thing.
I lost my job.
I worked a lot of other jobs.
I’m still looking for a job.
I will talk about work with you. Over drinks. Or not. Whatever.
Here’s what I do:
- I write
- I direct
- I produce
- I create
- I take pictures of random animals that I find in the street and fight the urge to bring them home with me because I’m unemployed and can’t afford that kind of lifestyle right now.
- I offer tech support in emerging technologies
- I tell dick joks
- I can manage YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine accounts. With some bilingual flair.
- I am a strange brand indeed but you won’t be bored.
- I’m the invisiblecircus
Let’s see where it goes because I want to be a better me.