Friday, September 20, 2013

Prejudiced Against the Unemployed

I have a great family. I have lots of great friends. I have been so blessed by what really matters in life. I don't have a job, though, and I've found that that really disturbs my blessed family and friends. Now, off the top, the amount of generosity I have received since touching down in BB has been remarkable. I think I would have knocked over a liquor store by now had I not received this... It would be really convenient to do so - there's one less than 200m from my house. So I have no complaints. None what so ever.

Just one complaint. I have noticed on more than one occasion that, in its blindness, worry sometimes spills over to blame. See, loved ones want to help you out of your bad circumstances. A problem needs a solution. Got a job for me? No. Got limitless wealth to share with me? No. So... now start telling me what I need to fix to make a job suddenly appear. That's a little insulting when you stop to think about it. But my friends and family aren't stopping to think about it. And I don't blame them for it. It's about as helpful, though, as someone saying, "Hey, have you thought of getting a job as president of a Fortune 500 company?" Well, they don't exactly say that. It's more like, "Why don't you get a job teaching in the public system?" (No matter that people who actually have teaching certification are looking for jobs by the hundreds in Ontario). Or, "Did you think of applying for a professorship in Ottawa." No, I never thought of that.

But the thing that really bugs me is when people start telling me that the reason why I am unemployed is because I have done something wrong. I guess I happened to surround myself with people with perfect hindsight. Too bad I never got that. Either I have chosen the wrong field. Duh. Or, there is something wrong with me: usually, I am too outspoken or proud or something. While this may be true, it may also be true that the girl who was just raped doesn't dress modestly. It's not helpful to state that. Why don't you wait until I get a job and tell me ever so carefully, "Now, the most important thing with a job is that you never act like a know-it-all," or "Make sure you ingratiate yourself to the boss..."

No, really, I like you telling me how I've gone wrong in my life because, you know, I'm just sitting here waiting for things to think about and to feel badly about.

It's one more refined version of the fat, lazy, unemployed slob motif. Yes, I've worked with street people for a few years, and I've heard that one before.

You know what, I am hard working, intelligent, possess a certain degree of integrity, but just happen to be an expert in a field for which there is very little interest in our economy right now. I happened to have been laid off from a job I held and loved for five years because of the finances of that institution. And, more recently, had to leave a position, in which I did nothing short of the heroic, for reasons that do not boil down to personality defects of mine.

I am working hard, actually. I write every single day. I write things that will hopefully pay off and land me a great job.

They say success is the best revenge. I don't want revenge. I just want my friends to be a little more sensitive about how their words can strike. I am sure that I have said many equivalent stupid things over the years to others. Maybe we should all take a few minutes and do an examination of conscience, along the lines of: Have I treated someone in an undignified manner out of the belief that what was not in their control was in their control? Society does this, and it's a horrible thing. Why don't those Africans just work harder and get themselves out of poverty? Why doesn't that hobo get a job? Why doesn't that depressed person just cheer up?

Success is the best revenge. I guess lack of success is the best comeuppance. So I must be getting what I deserve. We all know that life goes exactly as one is able to predict at all times.

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