When Did I Become The Cowardly Lion?

I used to be pretty brave. I’d pretty much do anything and go anywhere-not a problem. The more something scared me, the more I wanted to try it out because I’ve always felt that the best things come from challenging myself and living outside of my comfort zones. However, somewhere along the line, something changed. Somewhere along the line, I’ve become a coward. 

This past week, I was offered an amazing interview, and I knew I had a problem because I was doubting whether I’d be able to accept the job. And the job is pretty amazing. It’s the type of legal work I want to do, on a tropical island. Thankfully, I had people knock some sense into me and in a few days, I will be hopping on a plane to go to that interview.  I never thought that my job search would take me to a tropical island but this could be a life-changing opportunity. In the very least, it will be a mini-vacation to an island. And I was thinking about turning the interview down? And why- because of fear?

They say that recognizing you have a problem is the first step, right?  

This experience has made me notice that I’m living in a pessimistic place right now and I need to work on breaking out of that. I shouldn’t let this economic climate affect me that much. I know that this past year of unemployment and underemployment has taken a real shot to my self-esteem. And this is kind of ridiculous. So much of this year has been dictated by forces outside of my control. I shouldn’t be taking responsibility for the fact that greedy people f-ed things up for everyone, making it impossible to find a decent job. But apparently, I am letting it get to me. Anyhow, I am actively trying to get over this. I need stop being a coward and I need to start believing in myself again. Being on a tropical island should help.

Well, Isn’t That Annoying?

There are three things that I find really annoying about this whole job-search business:

1) Firms that ask you what kind of $ you’re looking for. 

  • This is a no-win situation. If you ask for too much you could price yourself out of a job. If you ask for too little, you undervalue yourself and they may not see you as a worthwhile hire. How the heck do you get around this? Why can’t all firms just man up and give a range for how much they’re willing to pay a new hire? 

2) Firms that want you to pay to interview-even though you’re clearly poor. 

  • So, I’ve opened up my job hunt again.  I’m no longer dead set on staying in the city I’m currently living in.  One of the jobs I’ve applied for is on a tropical island. The job posting said that they’d do a phone interview and then they may do additional interviews in one of two cities, one of which is about a two hour drive for me. The firm has scheduled a phone interview with me (good), but they also want to know if I’d be willing to come to the city that is NOT within driving distance (bad). I really cannot afford to do that. I’ve already paid SO much money to go all over the place for interviews. I just can’t do  it anymore. So, I replied that I could go to the far away city, assuming that they’d foot the bill- or I could meet them in the other city mentioned in the job posting. They wrote back saying that it’s a firm policy not to pay for travel expenses. Well, that’s just great. I can’t wait to pay to fly to an interview for a job I may not get. That’s just fantastic. Because, God knows, if you’re unemployed and looking for work you have SO much money to spend on such things. 

3) Firms that are blatantly taking advantage of lawyers who are out of work. 

  • I hate the ads for all of the private law firms that are seeking unpaid interns. Unpaid interns should only be asked to work at non-profits. For profit firms should get it together, remember what it was like to be a new lawyer, and have a heart and scrape together a salary for someone if they’re going to be working for them. Christ, even minimum wage is better than nothing. 

That’s all. I just needed to get that off my chest.

An Emotional Rescue

Apparently, the US government is offering an “emotional rescue kit” prompted by these tough economic times.  I find  it kind of funny,  mainly because if you’re unemployed and looking for work, who doesn’t display anxiety,  irritability, apathy, etc.  Are you supposed to be happy if you’re out of work or in a crappy work situation (although to be perfectly honest-I’m much happier out of work, but then again, I’m a little strange).  I actually think that if you’re feeling anxious and worried and sad, you’re probably normal.

Just to be sure that my recession-based anxieties are more normal than this “emotional rescue kit” would have me believe, I sent this out to one of my friends who is experiencing her own recession based worries right now. 

My friend wrote back: 

“I don’t know if this makes me feel better or makes me think that I really should go and talk to a professional. The problem is that I can’t afford to take time off work and add another expensive medication to the list. The article was so spot on that it was scary.

From the article:

Of particular importance is helping people see the warning signs of depression, suicidal thinking and other serious mental illnesses, SAMHSA said.

These include, according to the website:

*Persistent sadness/crying [CHECK]

*Excessive anxiety [CHECK (unless it’s normal to have heart palpitations at least three times daily.)]

*Lack of sleep/constant fatigue [CHECK (I vary between getting 4-10 hours of sleep per night, depending on the amount of Tylenol PM I decide to take. I tend to take extra TPMs if I want to sleep more than 4 hours at a time, or if it’s like 8 pm and I’m just annoyed with the day and want to go to sleep rather than living through the rest of the day until bedtime.)]

*Excessive irritability/anger [CHECK (My husband can vouch for this.)]

*Increased drinking [CHECK (But there’s still nothing wrong with a six-pack-a-night, right?)]

*Illicit drug use, including misuse of medications [CHECK-minus (Unless you count the TPM situation.)]

The site directs people to caregivers and also offers tips on ways to reduce the causes of stress, such as finding a new job and refinancing mortgages.” 

So I’m totally not alone. Most of us need an emotional rescue from these tough economic times. But guess what? The US govt is not helpful here. Like my friend noted, even if these were signs that we should talk to a professional-if you’re out of work or worried about your job, who can afford to take time off and go see a doctor and then possibly pay for expensive medication? Personally, I can’t afford to go to a doctor unless I get hit by a car or something. My insurance only covers crazy catastrophes. My dogs have been to the vet more than I’ve been to the doctor this past year-mainly because my dogs were able to secure a better insurance than I could ever secure for myself. There’s no way I’d go to the doctor to talk about my normal recession based anxiety. Not without some form of socialized healthcare to help me out. Until the government gets around to fixing healthcare, I guess I’ll have to continue to rely on gin and tonics, Gilmore girls and cupcakes to get me through the rough spots. 

Or, in the alternative, my friend offered a quick and easy fix for these “issues”: 

I WANT SOMEONE TO FIND ME A NEW JOB!!!!!

Yeah, that would pretty much solve it. 

Here’s the link to see if you need an emotional rescue: 

http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE52U0R020090331

Code Red

Unemployment is truly amazing. When I should be worried about how I’m going to get a secure job, how I’m going to pay my rent, how I’ll ever get the money together to pay my student bills,  or even what I’ll make for dinner tonight, instead I’m more concerned about a true emergency situation: my remote control is refusing to control my cable box. The situation is getting pretty dire-either the remote control will have to magically fix itself, or pretty  soon I’ll have to watch day time soaps. 

Unemployment gives you plenty of time to think about priorities. I think mine are pretty much in check, wouldn’t you say?