This doesn't seem to be my day. Whilst watering the hanging baskets of fuschias on the front porch this morning, I put my foot through a rotten floorboard. As I wrenched my leg back up, eyes watering, I was reminded of the trick step at Hogwarts that catches distracted students who forget to jump it.
Earlier in the day, I had locked myself out. We just had a new, much stronger, pick-proof lock put on the front door, and I forgot the new key when I went off to yoga on my bike. City Boy was home when I left, so I didn't have to lock the door behind myself. If I had been driving, obviously, I would have had my keys but it didn't cross my mind to take them out of the jacket pocket in which they had been residing when I left as the previous lock had been broken for years. Earlier still, I had missed a phone call for a telephone interview. Not that I had high hopes for it anyway. I am so burned out on job hunting that there is no way I could make a good impression on a potential employer at this point. My anger and frustration are at peak levels, and my sense of entitlement, always high, grows by the minute, along with my salary requirements. No-one seems to understand that the longer I am unemployed, the higher a job needs to pay to get me out of debt and on my way to financial stability.
One would expect that a long-term job seeker would grow more desperate and become more willing to take anything, even if it pays a pittance. Yet, paradoxically, the exact opposite is true: The longer I go without disposable income, the more I want to buy, the more entitled I feel to shop, the more resentful I feel at not being able to do things, at having to say no to plans all the time because I cannot afford to go. Not to mention the chronic anxiety that stems from not being able to pay for basic necessities, like rent, utilities, food. That anxiety better not make me ill because I don't have health insurance so I cannot get sick or injured (taking care of the leg with tea tree oil; no ice because I am on Day 4 of Broken Fridge). It is nerve-wreaking knowing I am one car repair away from not being able to get to a job, even if I got one. Knowing my lease may not be renewed since I can't pay my rent on time. Knowing my friends and family all hate me for not visiting and not sending holiday gifts. Knowing I am throwing a fortune down the toilet in interest because I cannot get out of debt. At this point, the first thing I want when I find work is a holiday. I am so exhausted from stress, I don't have the energy to go to work; I need a good, long, relaxing holiday before I can begin to focus on a new job.
It really is unfortunate that one cannot ask about pay during an interview. Oh, sure, the interrogator always enquires if the applicant has questions. I have the appropriate ones at the ready but these are my real ones:
1) How much does this gig pay?
2) How soon are you looking for someone to start because I need a job yesterday?
3) How soon after I start will I get my first paycheque because my rent was due last week?
I am also curious about hours, about telecommuting, about vacation days and benefits. But one cannot ask any of those questions, except some polite variation on number 2, delicately enquiring when they hope to wrap up their search and have someone "on board". No, one has to feign interest in the work itself. It's all a game, a charade. The interviewer wouldn't be working there if s/he didn't need the money, and I wouldn't be applying if I didn't need it, but we both have to pretend that's not the case. It's a huge, steaming pile of bullshit, in which we are all complicit, and I am tired of it.
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