Unemployable in America
PART 4: Where Do I Go From Here?
When one’s psyche has been wounded, the victim seeks out various methods of healing. These methods run the
gamut, from psychiatric counseling to group therapy to secular activities like prayer. All methods involve plenty of
introspection in an attempt to “make sense of the past,” i.e., “where did I go wrong” and “if only I didn’t do
this/that/other.” In my own attempt to make sense of these past few years, I have chosen writing as my method of
therapy in the hopes of promoting the healing process. Perhaps by sharing my healing stage with the world, others
can learn from my experiences – and possibly avoid ever needing therapy in the first place!
I have now shared my story of how a few bad decisions (pursuing “do what you love,” relocating to
Stinkassachusetts) combined with the worst economy since the 1930s has led to my being unemployable in the new
America. Assuming you care enough to wonder, the question now is, where will I go from here?
I spent the early part of 2014 pondering what to do with my life. Beginning over with no career at such a very very
old age (47), there aren’t many options; twenty years ago a former graphic designer with so many transferable skills
would be able to successfully transition over to any number of marketing‐type roles, but, those days are long gone.
Doing nothing meant accepting a menial job with a salary out of the Reagan Administration era, going on food
stamps, applying for government housing (or living with my retired mother’s basement), and eventually dying in
poverty. Going back to college for another degree made no sense at all – I couldn’t get hired at 45, who’s going to
hire me at 50? And do I incur massive debt at this late stage in my life for a gamble that most likely will not pay off?
Then there was the option of simply ending my life.
Call it an epiphany if you will, but it was following the rejection by Target that I “snapped.” I pulled myself together
and said “no” to all of those “options.” For years I have wanted to go overseas, prompted by our failure of a
healthcare system – I could write a whole other series just on my bad experiences alone with this issue. So, in May
2014 I enrolled in a TEFL certification course, which I completed in August 2014. This opens the door for me to
finding work overseas and, hopefully, a better life. (So, here’s a simultaneous “fuck you” and “thank you” to Target!)
In other words, in order to have a future, I have to leave America. Say that out loud a few times and tell me that
doesn’t sound completely batshit crazy.
(Or, maybe it’s just the new normal. Back when I was awaiting word from Target about my job application, I stopped
by a local Best Buy and struck up a conversation with the young salesman, asking if they were hiring. We got to
talking, he was still in college, I gave him the usual “don’t major in design” lecture (he’s not), we talked about the
bleak economy and he said that when he graduates he’s going to move to his father’s native country to find work. I
asked what country was that. He said Ghana. Wow, I thought. He has to move to Ghana for economic opportunities
because America couldn’t offer any. If that’s not ‘effed up then I don’t know what is.)
I don’t know what more to say or make of it all at this point ‐‐ that the best my country can offer me are minimum
wage shit jobs...that having more than a decade of experience automatically disqualifies you from a job…that if I
stay here I will NOT do as good as my mother who emigrated here 47 years ago for a better life...that I'm in the
same boat as the steelworkers in my Pennsylvania hometown who lost their livelihoods back in the 1980s...that I
have to move to another country for a job because America could offer me none...
Folks, there is something very wrong here. I am well aware that I have made some very bad decisions in my life. But
having my ability to earn a good living completely stripped from me is a punishment I never expected (seems like
being sentenced to death for shoplifting).
Nick Corcodilos aka "Ask the Headhunter" published my letter about recruiters; it
was nice to see affirmation in the comments section of my future plans to head
My mom left her native Macedonia with pretty much nothing (my dad married her and brought her here, then
promptly abandoned her after she had me). She got a job at the local steel mill in my hometown. Her English wasn't
bad but she had no experience and no college education. The job wasn't exactly fun (lots of toiling in the cold winter
night on the midnight shift), but she got paid damn good money. And we had it pretty good. Had a nice house in a
nice middle‐class neighborhood. And NOT ONCE did we have to live without the heat on in the winter the way I did
last January because I couldn’t afford it. I’ll say it again, something is seriously wrong here.
This is not the future I was promised. Nobody told me 30 years ago that I would be too old at 45 for a career.
And that the reason I am unemployed is also the reason I am unemployed makes absolutely no sense in a sane
world, and proves just how myopic and stupid the folks in charge of hiring really are – don’t they realize that by
excluding unemployed applicants their only resource is to raid other companies’ talent pools – and that this will
eventually bite their own company in the ass as well????
From the comments section of a New York Times article…makes ya go “hmmmm”…
I’ve been offered no shortage of “theories” from those around me on what made me permanently unemployable.
These include my posting opinions online (I’ve learned that Spokeo offers corporations special “packages” that
permit them to break into your Facebook privacy settings) and having my Christmas ornament hobby/business
website and corresponding Etsy store show up in a Google search. Another friend pointed out that my being
subpoenaed for a lawsuit against Dreamworks probably landed me on some nationwide “master hiring blacklist.”
Another colleague has warned me that my posting this story here will ensure I never work in America again.
Whatever. I'm done analyzing this mess or trying to even understand any of it. I am hereby rejecting this sparkling
new future bursting with minimum‐wage “opportunities” like stocking shelves and scrubbing toilets; I will dismiss
anyone who has the nerve to tell me that I should be grateful for that “opportunity” to scrub toilets; and I will
forever dismiss twenty‐something twit “hiring managers,” to whom I’d like to offer this one hard truth: someday
every one of you will turn 40 ‐‐ I know, I know, it’s hard to believe but it WILL happen! And the best part is that it will
happen a lot sooner than you expect it to. Just wait and see.
From the previous NYT article…I would correct the commenter in
that the age of execution in “Logan’s Run” was 30…
Oh, and I will NEVER again hand over my personal tax returns in order to be considered for a job.
In conclusion, I don't know where my path will lead me from here (other than far, far away). And when I leave, I see
no reason to ever come back. I certainly am NOT coming back for minimum wage at Wal‐Mart! (Remember, I’ve
already been rejected by Target…) And here’s an economics lesson for you Chief Executive Jerks who continue to
run this country into the ground with your “trickle down” pixie dust and salaries straight out of the Reagan
Administration era: You are going to miss this former member of the middle class. I was a good citizen; I spent a lot
of my income on frivolous stuff that I didn’t need, but it helped keep the economy rolling. Had you permitted me to
find a decent job I would have (a) finished renovating my main bathroom, (b) purchased awnings for my deck, (c)
fixed my painful cracked tooth, and (d) purchased a new car, just to mention a few things. Instead, I’m leaving
America, and I’m taking my future spending power with me. Enjoy your trickle‐down, Chief Executive Jerks. And
when more people like me jump ship and you lament “where did all the skilled workers go?” I’ll share the
observation that I was here…where were you?