From the Editor ... (May 2004)
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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