Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dog Days of Unemployment

One thing I have forgotten about being unemployed is how easy is it to become self focused. It starts out easily enough: your concern in life is getting a job. So every day you do whatever it is you do (for me, it's the internet) going on job searching. I've done this enough that I'm reasonably organized: I have a list for places to check daily, companies to check weekly, and a spreadsheet to tell me where I've applied and what for and to track any results.

As you continue, it becomes a bit harder every day to be a little more positive: you get the bulk of things to look for out of the way in the next one or two weeks, so the list goes down farther: you maybe add one or two items over the course of a week to your list, but not much. Your e-mail load drops significantly as well, as responses come in less and less. The phone rings less and less as well, creating this sort of enforced job search "Cone of Silence".

I referenced it before but it continues to be true: you realize that friends and family do care and in fact do have jobs, but somehow it feels like you matter less because you interact with them -not less than you did before, but less than the time feels like it should be. They have lives and jobs, so just dropping them a call or note sounds easy and quick to you, but is not as respecful of their lives and time as it should be.

You'll notice the focus: me, myself, and I. As I said in the beginning, it is insidious because it start out so innocently and in a realtively reasonable manner, but comes to dominate your thinking all too easily. This feeds any latent depression you might have as well: nothing makes a depressed person feel more so than the sensation (not the fact, but the sensation) that one is worthless, especially from people you would expect otherwise (again: me, me, me!).

It's really amazing how little effort it takes to become self focused. Why can't I be as easily other focused with the same limited impact?

There is nothing like a little time to off the beaten path of regular living to reveal the vast depths of selfishness and sin we manage to cover over with the whitewash of daily life.

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