Published Monthly

From the Editor ... (May 2004)
by Michael Haislip

This is my experience while looking for gainful employment.

“So you have no actual work experience?” asks the quizzical potential employer.

“You see, I managed a music store, and it was pretty busy, so I think that counts,” I say.

“But you were your own supervisor?” they ask again.

“Yes, I was technically self-employed.”

The employer grunts. I’ve learned that employers equate self-employment with, say, living on welfare for 5 years or dealing crystal meth from a run-down apartment. If you are self-employed, anything you say can and will be used against you. Since I was never really a part of the “system,” they have nothing to which to compare my performance. I know the bastard gets some perverse pleasure from watching me come crawling back to the “real world” to get a “real job.”

The employer stares down at my application, that piece of paper covered in legal terms and my personal information. No, I have not stolen from an employer. Yes, I am legally allowed to work in the United States. No, I have not been convicted of a felony. No, I would not be opposed to mercilessly slaughtering peasant farmers.

“This isn’t the army,” the employer says.

“Sorry, got confused there for a second.”

The entire process has made me question my self-worth. Does anyone see me as economically viable? Am I destined to earn money for ramen noodles by selling crap on eBay? Hell, I don’t even have a car anymore, not since my Plymouth Sundance was brutally sodomized by a large truck. How am I supposed to get to work? These are the questions of existence!

I keep trying to place the blame on outside forces. I want to blame the size of my hometown--population 800-- for making a decent economy impossible. I want to blame the forty-year-olds that are working entry level jobs, jobs that should be held by teenagers working their way up the soul-sucking career ladder. I want a reason as to why I can’t afford to buy a hamburger at McDonalds.

I just want a reason. And a hamburger. I’m hungry.

Michael Haislip is the editor of AntiMuse.


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