A Tale from Underemployed Man

Das_große_Gonna tell a short tale, be slightly annoyed and vocal about things for a little bit.

Just for a minute.

Honest.

I am underemployed.  What does that mean?  Simple.  I don’t work as much as I want or need to, in order to pay my bills and meet my every day needs.  Thursday this week will be my second day working of the month and eighth of the year.  This is an issue because… well… it should be obvious why that’s an issue.  8 days of work in two months is far from an ideal situation.

But it’s also eight days more than some folks.  I’ll take what I can get, though I am still bouncing around on unemployment.  But I tell you all that to tell you this.

I got a bite from a place that I used to work at. Talk of a job being open, and they were interested in me.   They were, back when I worked there hostile to the union guys in local 814 and those who sided with them (like me), hostile enough to lock them out for ten months and never once tell me or any of the other temps who were trying to get hired on they wanted to hire us despite the fact that they loved our work.  Then when they finally signed a new collective bargaining agreement, pushed most of them out the door, and never even thought about bringing any of us former temps back.  Of the 44 regulars that were there when the agreement was signed, four are left of that crew.

So when they e-mailed me to indicate their interest, I was overjoyed.  I loved working there.  It was the best professional experience of my life, and they were the best bunch of guys around, despite the circumstances.  Great crew, great place.

Could it be the same way it was back then?  Highly unlikely. Hell no would be a more apt way to put it.  More likely things would be hard, ugly, and abrasive, and that is being kind in my assessment.  But knowing that I was still willing to brook that and make the most of things, and make some money along the way; make my life and my wife’s life that much easier by having regular money coming in, an actual weekly paycheck and knowing I was working for five days a week, sometimes even seven.

Heaven in comparison to where I am now.

But it was not to be.  After much back and forth talk with several people in the human resources department of this fine institution, I was told that, sorry, the position has been filled.  But thank you for patience!

The position:  Temporary property handler, Sotheby’s

A position that was on the nyfa.org site, the site I had found the posting on in the first place.

Freshly re-opened and newly placed on the site, dated today.

Did I mention that they said the position was filled already?

Now I don’t have an issue if they didn’t really want me.  Doesn’t bother me overmuch.  I have had to handle a boatload of rejection from a boatload of places over the last few years trying to get back on my feet and land a full time permanent job.

I have an issue with them telling me they would like to interview me, then disappearing and not responding to an e-mail I sent in regards to the first e-mail they sent; then saying the woman in charge was busy and could not talk, but drop me a line if you don’t hear anything by the end of the day; then when I do that today they say, sorry, she’s still busy but the position has been filled; then seeing the same position listed as open, the one I wanted to interview for, which I was told was filled open on the same website I had found the previous posting on with today’s date on it, meaning they are still looking for people to fill that position.

THAT is why I am bent out of shape.

I really do try to be professional, but if you don’t want me around, just say so.  I can take a hint, really I can.

What I think happened was a simple foul up on their side.  I probably have a file there, I’m sure all the temps who worked there before do, and my name like many others probably has a big red flag next to it that says “Pro-Union; do not interview” or “Former employee; do not re-hire” or some such on it and someone missed that and saw my resume and liked it and made a common sense hr decision namely “His resume looks good, let’s see if he can fit here”

But did not see the flag.  Can’t blame the kid for that, and I can’t see a possibility of me not ending up angry or confused or both about it no matter what they did.  I dislike the fact that…

that…

Well, they led me on.  Which is antisocial and rude, bound to get you talked about in all the wrong circles for all the wrong reasons… in a perfect world.  Which this clearly isn’t.  Or else I wouldn’t even have been looking for work with them, and I would be secure in my finances and in my world.

I’d go to the better business bureau but I don’t know what I’d say, or what they’d say, or if it would matter a damn to them, or anyone but me.

The end.  I’d give you a better ending but you only get really good endings in fiction.  The real world doesn’t give you the endings you want, you get what you get.

Moral of the story;  Expect something, receive nothing is the way of the world.

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That’s it from here, America.  See you around sometime.  More jobs to look for.  There’s one out there for me somewhere.

To The Unknown Voice

Pic of the day: To The Unknown Voice, by Vassily Kandinsky

396px-To_the_Unknown_Voice

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Do not think dishonestly.
The Way is in training.
Become acquainted with every art.
Know the Ways of all professions.
Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.
Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything.
Perceive those things which cannot be seen.
Pay attention even to trifles.
Do nothing which is of no use.

Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings; Book of the Earth

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Belly full, eyes half opened and half closed for much of the night. Ignoring the football games, there’s nothing going on there that I wasn’t expecting, and I don’t particularly care about the teams that are playing. A night of calmness and relaxation.

Thinking much on work and money this weekend. There has not been any work since October. That isn’t any good. I was expecting to have started work at the place I worked at last year. I was expecting to start last week. Haven’t heard word one from them about work. Unemployment doesn’t pay enough to cover the bills. My efforts to find even a scrap of work have been utter failures, and it is frustrating.

But for all of that, I am a fortunate man. I got a call, completely out of the blue by a company I haven’t dealt with in I cannot tell you how long. They have a few potential openings at a few places. Three or four is what I was told. How much will these potential jobs pay? I have no idea. Don’t care either. I need a job, I need cash so I can be a productive human again. I haven’t been for a while, and that is a bad habit to be in.

Without that call out of the blue, I am not sure what I wold do with myself this week. Seems to me that I am hitting desperation time monetarily.

Well, I’m not being entirely truthful. It has been desperation time for the better part of two months. If not for the kindness of a certain person who shall remain nameless, I would not have had enough money to make rent for the last two months.

Now all I have to do is figure out a way to get my printer to work and print out my resume. Wish me luck!

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That’s it from here, America. G’night.

Ugly Man’s Complaint

Pic of the day:  Duel with Cudgels (Rina a Garrotazos), by Francisco de Goya

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Until you understand a writer’s ignorance, presume yourself ignorant of his understanding.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Only a few hours left until the final debate before the election.  Should be good, I plan to watch most of it.  Not all of it mind you, most of it.  Partly because I will simply have other things going on, from cleaning up after dinner and cats and the like, but because of simple distraction.  The wife speaking, something happening that needs my attention, a phone call, an idea for the next chapter in the book I’m prepping for Nanowrimo, something.

Because there is always something.  Which doesn’t bother me.  In a mans life there are always a million things to do.  Woman’s life too, I would imagine.

Woman’s life.  Happy to have one in mine.  Ugly bastard that I am, I am surprised as hell that I have someone as good as my wife in my life.  I giggle when I say ugly bastard just a little.  Why?  I was getting ready to go out and take pictures outside of the beauty that is the local park with my galaxy tab, with all the leaves changing colors, and I hit the wrong button.  There are two cameras and I turned on the other camera, the one facing me.  I looked hideous.

Laughed at this.  Took a picture.  Made it worse.  Did it again, was even more spectacularly gruesome.  Took a few more pics and with each pic I took the worse it got.  Deleted each as I took them.  I wanted no evidence of such vain behavior from such an ugly old fuck as I.

Dunno why I felt the need to say it, but I did.  On the positive side it does make the Halloween costume easy.  Just gotta walk outside.

:)

But I digress… as usual.

I never ended up taking the galaxy tab out. I wanted to kill some time outdoors though, so I went out and just walked around the woods, just enjoyed the view and the beauty of nature. And got stuck with thorns.  Because,  love nature though I do, it apparently doesn’t love me back.

lol

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I have of late been writing a chapter by chapter outline for a novel. I started out writing a ghost story, but abandoned it, if only for the moment.  The politically active writer in me started fighting for room on the written page, and being a persuasive ol’ cuss, I’ve given it to him.

I’ve written a very basic outline for the entire story arc, and am in the process of getting the more minute details ironed out.  It’s the story of a law.  A less than wonderful law that enhances law enforcement’s ability to stop, frisk, and detain Americans. Having the effects of the law play out through the actions of two overbearing cops (with more joining in later) and one person who happens to have connections in high places, who disappears thanks to those cops.   It is also the story of the media’s portrayal of the events (things happen very publicly here) and the man who is the face of the legislation, and how their stories intertwine.

The story is really coming out well so far.  Hope the novel is as good as the story seems.  If I get this to novel length and like it, I may self publish before years end, if the final edit is done by then, after that if it takes longer.

Crossing my fingers.  Man it would be great if I could make a few bucks writing.  That would be fantastic.

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Being out of work sucks, but it gives me time to rest and relax.  Which I have not had in a long time.  Being unemployed, or only marginally employed is no vacation.  There is no break.  At least not for any self aware, responsible adult who has bills to pay and the prospect of no money to pay for it.

I put in for unemployment yet again.  I need the money, but would honestly rather just have work. I’m gonna keep sending in resumes.  Some one has to need a strong ugly bastard who takes orders well and is a quick learner.  Seems they either need pretty people or people who are too stupid to know how to take orders.

That’s what it looks like from the sidelines.

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Go watch the debate. Make sure you watch it on C-SPAN, and as soon as it is done, turn the TV off and make up your mind.

Because if you don’t you’ll just watch people on television who will try to make up your mind for you.

And who needs that crap?

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Bit Of An Obsession

Pic of the day:  Autumn, by Guiseppe Archimboldo

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Who said I was wise? I’m a professional bad example. You can learn a lot by watching me. Or listening to me. Either one.

Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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I’m just a man, just an ordinary man.   I work when I can.  When I can seems to me all the time, so I work seemingly every day, every hour I’m awake.  Work at something.  At home, when at my job, wherever I am.  Work is a man’s life it seems to me, and all life should have some element of toil in it.  A man who does not sweat every day is not a man, he’s a boy playing at manhood.

Politics is as important as oxygen, so I take an interest.  I’m a liberal, but I don’t know that that matters all that much.  Liberal to my mind means that caring enough about people to put the needs of others who need help ahead of my own needs. It means that government has a place in the everyday life of men and women.  It means all people are important, not just people who look like me or talk like me or think like me.  Society is too overfull of people who are different from me to think any differently.  And if caring for those who cannot do for themselves means life costs a little more, then so be it.  We’re all in this together, we help one another along or we all fall together.

I was taught to care about people growing up, and I see no reason to stop that now that I’m an adult.  And no I don’t think that conservatives don’t care, but I simply could not hold those political views and speak about caring about people and mean it.

I pay my taxes and I expect them to buy something.  Something good for the people.  Feed someone who would otherwise not be able to eat, shelter someone who would otherwise be homeless.  I don’t want to pay a ton in taxes and not see any good done.  And there are plenty who abuse the system, but there are plenty who need the help.  I will not complain about helping those who could help themselves if those who need help are helped.  Better to help those who need help and some who don’t then to leave everyone high and dry to insure no one abuses the system.  That is inhumane.

That is wrong.

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Man, as a social animal, can no more escape government than the individual can escape bondage to his bowels.

Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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I don’t want to see my taxes pay to kill my own people.  Iraq went on too long, but that war is thankfully over. Afghanistan has gone on too long, and we’ll be out of there soon enough, and that is great.  We pay too much for defense.  Who are we defending ourselves from?  Where is the threat?  Terrorism is a threat but not enough of one to justify our defense spending.

Or our insane security complex.  Our rights get trampled there daily.  We have rights, or we should.  But the law allows warrantless wiretaps.  The courts have been circumvented to protect us.  From what, terrorism?  Hell no, it is to make sure we don’t stray from the path those who run the industry want us to walk.

And it will be a cold day in Aruba before I let that go unopposed.  I am secure in my person.  I need no security apparatus to help me there.  We had apparatus already in place that did the job, and did it at less cost and was equally effective. Our security apparatus has not made us more secure, it has made us broke when we have no money.

I have no money either, but I never have.  Doesn’t bother me overmuch.  Poverty, or more aptly put the constant feeling that I have nothing has shaped much of my mindset about the world around me.  It has guided my thoughts about security, about people, about the constitution and the law and taxes, about terrorism and our military, about work and all that goes with all of the above.

And all that is important.  But I tell you this; none of it matters, not a single belief makes a shit of difference if I can’t keep my wife and myself fed and sheltered.  All my strength means not a damn thing if I don’t have enough money coming in to pay the bills.  And with work coming to an end sometime in the next week or two has me thinking much on the thoughts of survival.  It’s a bit of an obsession with me.

Beliefs are important, but money and work are the most important things in this society, and therefore are the most important things to me, for without them I cannot live, so I work.  When I can.  It starts and ends with work.  And work is ending soon.

I’ll make it, just wish it was a hair easier.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Never Enough

Pic of the day:  Lost in the Storm, by Richard Ansdell

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With despair, true optimism begins: the optimism of the man who expects nothing, who knows he has no rights and nothing coming to him, who rejoices in counting on himself alone and in acting alone for the good of all.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Characterizations of Existentialism

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The end is nigh!…  or at least personally closer than it appeared before I woke up this morning at any rate.  I got news that I had about 30 working days left at my job some time in August, I don’t remember the day to be honest.  The reason I had only 30 days left was because the place I work at gives non permanent employees a maximum of 128 working days per year to work.  This keeps them from being a serious threat to the job security of the permanent employees, as I recall.

Well today I went through my days with a fine tooth comb.  And when I say went through my days I mean went through my total hours and extrapolated the amount of days I had worked from them.  If the number isn’t exact, it is at the very least close.  A paycheck with 35.75 hours on it meant I worked 5 days that pay period, 60 hours meant 8 days and so on.  According to that metric, I have been paid for a total of 120 days.

Meaning I have 8 days of work left on this particular job.  But it gets better.  I worked 3 days last week, and have one day on the schedule this week.  Meaning at best I have 5 days left, 4 if you count next Tuesday.

Did I mention that because I measured hours and not listed work days that my numbers may be off? Oh good.

Well, this is how I asked them to do it. To give me as many days worked as possible up front.  And I asked them to do it that way for a reason, and it is a pretty basic one.  I need as much money as I can get, as this is my only job.  It does me no good to work one or two days a week and barely squeak by.  I need to work every possible day I can and get as much money in the coffers as is possible.

Not that it would be a lot, but it is the difference between having enough money to keep food on the table until I can find another job (or until next year comes around and I can maybe get back in temping where I am now) or linger, just barely making enough to live, or more likely not making enough to live but keep working in drips and drabs.

A quick end is preferable to a slow one, I guess.

And as much as this is the way that I asked things to be done, it still feels like having a scab ripped off of a wound.  It hurts like hell and I am not in the least happy about it.  I had hoped I would impress these people enough that I would get a permanent job.  But the list is full, they don’t need anyone, so I am flat out of luck that way.  Hopes crushed.  I had hoped after I found out that the list was full that by sending out resumes that I would be able, to use an oft used term “hit the ground running” and make a seamless transition from one job to another without a break in between.  I’ve sent out the resumes.  Crushed again.  No one has bitten yet.

Yet.

I will keep trying because I have to, because I have no choice.  There is no success without effort, and I have been giving it my best for quite a while.  Like flotsam and jetsam I float along on the currents of the job market, pushed this way and that by forces beyond my control, but with the tide, with every new job opportunity I return to try to make landfall, trying to get that full time job, claw my way onto safe dry ground again after years of being adrift.  For everything I do, I feel like it is never enough.  I do everything I can do, same thing I have done for years on end.  It’s all I can do.

And it is insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.  But it is the only thing to do, I must wait for the world to change, for some outside force to alter it’s course and come to me.  I can only do what I do, send out resumes and hope, dress my best, put my bravest face and biggest smile forward and persevere, keep on keeping on.

Hope springs eternal.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.