by Brian Parish
Two years: that’s how long I’ve been out of work. Hundreds of resumes sent out and hours upon hours of searching for that job. You know the one. The job that will make you happy, pay the mortgage, provide security for you and your family, and in the end be worth all the aggravation that we unemployed people have to suffer through. Well, I landed, but not at the job that I thought I was shooting for or imagined I’d get.
My first job was at a financial institution in their corporate headquarters right out of art school. I landed the job by interning there for two summers and working my butt off to finally convince them to hire me as full-time graphic designer in their corporate communications department. It was a great job until the company was bought out and I was laid off. It took me seven months to a get a job at Rutgers as a desktop publisher, and I landed that job by answering an ad in the newspaper. I was there for six years until the state budget got cut and I was laid off again. I was out for a year, and I got my last job in retail (because I couldn’t find anything in my field at the time) through the company job board/Web site. I was there for three years and laid off again when they shut all the stores down across the country as part of the great recession.
It seemed to take longer to get a decent job every time I got laid off. I was starting to feel that everybody who looked at my resume was thinking I was a jinx and were afraid to hire me because something bad might happen to their company in order to cause me to be laid off again. Irrational, yes, but after a while you start to make stuff up to explain what’s taking so damn long.
Now I’m starting a new job and a new profession. It’s totally not a graphic design job and totally earned through networking. I feel kind of nepotistic, but a friend owns a small import brokerage company and needed to hire a new person. She thought of me because I had been bringing it up for about a year that I was out of work. I never asked her to just hire me, but I’d said to keep me in mind if things turned around for her company and had the need for a new hire. Thankfully, business picked up for her company and she called me up and I took the job after a quick interview. I was lucky, and I have to stress this. I hit the 99 weeks and was out of benefits when she called. Some of us aren’t as fortunate.
Looking for a job is hard work, draining and an emotional roller coaster. At the PSG we face age discrimination as evidenced by the average age of our members. We face unemployment discrimination because some HR VP somewhere decided to make a rule that says being out of work for more than six months means you aren’t fit to work at their company because maybe your skills are out-of-date. I say to hell with that. Keep fighting. Take advantage of all the PSG and the One-Stop Center can offer you in training, in grants, in furthering your education, and starting your own business (if you have the courage to do so). Use the support of the other members to help network your way into a job, and give back by volunteering your time. And if you ever had a secret hankering for world domination, there are leadership positions that need to be filled in the form of committee co-chairs, so you can exercise your inner megalomaniac. My time at PSG kept me sane by trying to help my fellow members, it can do it for you too. So to all, thank you for being there for me and those who have landed before me. And don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope to never have to see you guys at a PSG meeting again. So get that job and stay employed. Good luck to all of you.
by Brian Parish