I am very fortunate to have never been unemployed, well, until now.
Every summer since 7th grade, I had a job and when I started lifeguarding as a high school freshman I consistently had a part-time job, sometimes a couple. In college, I immediately started working for The Collegian and picked up other work at Daktronics and a local video store. By the time I was a senior, I had three jobs in addition to my “main job” — going to school.
I was part of a small group of college graduates to walk across the stage with employment waiting on the other side. After seven months, I was recruited for another position which I kept until I left for the Peace Corps. The only time I didn’t have a job was when I was in between jobs.
And then I was evacuated.
Being unemployed isn’t something I’ve handled with much grace. I sleep in, stay up late. Some days, I don’t change out of my pajamas and my biggest decision of the day is what I will eat.
Without a purpose, I’ve fallen into that miserable state of joblessness. I spend much of the day on the Internet “researching old friends” and beating down my self-confidence while searching for jobs. My motivation is non-existent and I misplaced my optimism. Days are no longer labeled Monday or Tuesday, but “How I Met Your Mother” Day and “Teen Mom 2” Day.
Not having a TV for almost three years and no drive to do much else, I’ve been sucked in to dramas, sitcoms and, mostly because it makes me feel better about myself, reality shows. I have even amplified my utterly boring treadmill runs with a new addiction to “The Big Bang Theory.”
My biggest television attachment in this employment draught is “How I Met Your Mother.” I started watching reruns of that show last year and have become a full on evangelist for Ted’s tale. Each Monday, I watch the latest episode and I try to catch nightly reruns at 6, 6:30, 10, 10:30 p.m. My mother and father roll their eyes every time they hear the catchy theme song. My life has become so centered on this sitcom that I start many stories with “There is this episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ …”
Well, there is this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Marshall is unemployed and he stops wearing pants because his existence has become that pathetic. His dream is to become an environmental lawyer, but when he is offered to take a corporate job he does. Lilly asks him why he would do that and he replies that he has his whole life to be an environmental lawyer, but right now, he just wants to wear pants.
“It feels good to wear pants,” he said.
Today, deep within in my closet, I found a pair of black pants with pinstripes, one of my most trusted work pants. I pulled them out and slipped them on. It felt good to wear pants.
Today, I went to work, rather I substitute taught. OK, it’s not a full-time job or one that will last, but it was something meaningful to do with my day. It’s not the solution to unemployment, but it’s a reason to shower and wear clean clothes.
I won’t do this forever, but for today, it felt good to have a purpose.