I Feel Like a Loser

Monday, 1 October 2012

When it comes to the whole job hunting scenario, I’ve gone round and round the same track in my head for so many years that I think there must be a deep round rut that sits right in the centre of my brain.

It all happens when I get frustrated at the prospect of one more day stuck in front of a bloody computer.  And I think that the answer is to go and find something else to do that is not being stuck here.  I hate being on the computer so much.  I really hate it.

And so then I log onto one of the online job search sites, in the hopes of finding something I can do that is not my current job, only to leave the site with nothing. I begin those searches with a wobbly sort of hope that maybe this time there will be something for me that I won’t hate.  That doesn't make my toes curl with claustrophobia.  Something that I can do that will leave me with some mental space to write.  And then pretty much every time I find myself locked into the corner with one of the only things that I feel that maybe I could do, and I ask myself the question - could I be a personal care worker? And then every time I come up against my own limitations; much as I would like to be able to (because somebody needs to do it) I just can’t, for the life of me, think I could wash the body of a person I don’t know.

I reckon I could pretty much do everything else. I like the idea of being a home care worker, helping someone stay independent in their home is appealing to me. I don’t think I’d mind all that much cleaning for them, shopping for them, having a natter. Old people are one of the most overlooked repositories of goodness, in our society of blindness. But I just couldn’t wipe their bum. I just couldn’t. There are some jobs which don’t require people to do personal care. But even for those, I would need to do a first aid course and a certificate III even before I could start.

You know what? I'm pretty smart when it comes down to it. I know there are job niches that I would fit into that would be a wonderful fit, where I could offer something to the world, and it would recompense me in the payment of money, as is the strange way that we work in this culture.  But I am scared.  Because I'm getting older, and my memory is so bad, and I am terrified that nobody can see my potential except me, and that I'm unemployable except when it comes to sitting and typing words.  And the most frustrating thing about that is that the thing that I most want to do is typing words.  It's just that they're a completely different sort of a typing, and a completely different sort of words.  And I am very grateful that someone has recently seen fit to actually publish some of my words and actually pay me for it.  You would think I'd be more confident, wouldn't you, now I've broken in with the first published piece?  I wish I was.  I guess it was so hard and took so long to be able to publish that one, the thought of coming up with more is daunting.  Let alone enough to be able to do it in a way that would pay the bills.  For whatever reason, it is too hard.  Whether that is coming from outside - the level of competition from other people who also want to write for a living - or from the inside, due to my own lack of confidence, I'm not sure.  Maybe a combo of the two.

I am so abjectly unconfident about being able to find a niche out there for me.  And so then after finishing up with the job site I continue travelling round the mindrut, like an ancient donkey with a millstone, and then I start in on the concept that what I really need to do is start to work for myself.  That I need to generate the job I want, instead of waiting for someone to dish up to me what is never, ever going to be dished up - and if it was, I most certainly would not have the qualifications to be able to do it.

But then I don't know where to start.  And my confidence is so low.  And then it's all so hard that I give up in frustration.

How many more people are there out there like me?  We have a massive amount to give, and yet we're not quite there in some way.  We don't fit in, or we have issues that we feel precludes us from the kind of employee people are looking for - bright and sociable and happy to jump to someone else's command.  And experienced.  Always experienced.

It makes me wonder - how many inexperienced people are there out there who would be experienced if somebody gave them a chance?  Have employers forgotten the words "on-the-job training"?  Are they all really so scraping the bottom of the barrel that they can't fathom the concept of training someone?  Do they really believe that people are of a better calibre when they gain their experience from a Certificate III in Something Really Fucking Basic You Could Learn in Two Days On The Job?

Employers are in love with the concept of people going out and investing in a plethora of pointless certificate IIs and IIIs because it gives an illusion that people are qualified, and that they don't have to be the ones to do the training.  And it gives the RTOs that have sprung up all over the joint something to teach and charge ridiculously overpriced fees for.  Which is good, because now Mr Bailleau is sucking the guts out of the TAFE sector, it's not like they're gonna be able to do it.

I don't understand why it is like this for me.  But then again, I do.  My health issues have brought me here.  My lack of confidence has brought me here, and alongside that, an overwhelming, completely overwhelming desire to be doing work that is meaningful to me.  And that's what keeps me stuck here, hating the stuff that I have to type while feeling resentful that I don't have the time and energy for the stuff I want to because ... well, because instead of doing the work I have to do, I'm on here typing whingeing stuff that I want to, procrastinating :)

I don't know if this sounds like a pity party or not.  Perhaps it is.  God knows this blog hasn't been a particularly uplifting place to read lately.  But I'm struggling.  And maybe I am feeling sorry for myself, but it's borne out of frustration and a bit of sick-heartedness from hope deferred.  Still, there is hope there.  The dip always rises.  I'm a big one for making space to put things into.  I feel like I'm doing that with the whole writing gig.  It's just that it's taking some courage that I don't always have.

And yeah, I know, I know, in terms of the work situation it's always been like this.  Suck it up, right?  Every era has its mundane, its tedious, its terminally boring.  And yet if you go even broader than that, and swim out into the middle of the solar system and look back at the earth floating there suspended in the middle of nothing, and when you think that humans are the only ones to have to pay money to be able to live on it, you start wondering if perhaps we are patently insane.  And then you have more than a suspicion that the clowns running this gig, who have a predilection for it being like this because it serves them, are insane.  And we are insane that we keep going along with it.

Because there are different and better ways to do this work thing, but it seems to me to involve breaking off shackles and outdated conceptions about work, what it means, and the fact that we should be shackled at all.

When the Industrial Revolution began, factory owners had trouble getting the idea into their workers heads, newly off the farms, that it was a good thing for them to come in at the same time, do the same repetitive things over and over again, and leave at the same time, and come back in and do it again tomorrow.  

In a way, those workers at that time were freer than us by dint of the time they found themselves born into to be able to feel what slavery they were entering into.  Now, we are used to being slaves.  We just don't see it as slavery because we're not sweating tied to manacles and we're not wearing striped uniforms.  But as far as I can see, this is exactly what the tumult in the world has been about in recent years.  It's about a desire for things we can hardly even name, a desire to do it differently, a need for meaning.  A space where we matter, however we might find ourselves, and a space where we can meaningfully employ ourselves in doing the things that we are good at, and in being able to readily learn and have taught to us new things we might be good at, at any stage in life.


  1. Someone or other once said, and I'm saying it now, that it's no sign of health to be well adjusted to a sick society. You're one of the sane ones, Sue, 'cos you see clearly the insanity of the present scheme of things. As for me, I've only worked full-time two years of my adult life, the rest being made up of considerable periods of unemployment, utter confusion, much voluntary work, and many government schemes (including our equally nutty version of your 'certificates' - National Vocational Qualifications), until now, at 56, I'm sort of self-employed but still receiving large amounts of public assistance. But now I have the same 'issue' as you in that I see the silliness of it all, the games humanity is playing in place of reality. I see that all that matters is, simply, being yourself totally and allowing everyone else to do likewise. This is known as unconditional love, and while it doesn't necessarily bring in huge amounts of money it definitely works as a lifestyle and is unimaginably satisfying.

    Just a few thoughts:)

  2. What a very lovely comment, Harry.

    Okay, so you're a smart one as well who is also underemployed. So there's two of us. How many more of us are there out there? Hundreds of thousands.

    That's the big issue, isn't it - seeing the game, and seeing what a shoddy piece of workmanship it is, and seeing something better where the pieces and the board are a much better fit, and it's not Snakes & Ladders, it's something better.

    Me and the unconditional love-fest somehow managed to part company a little while back when the adrenal fatigue set in. But I'm getting back there again. It is an amazing space. Perhaps there is some version of a future world where it *does* bring in huge amounts of money. It should. Or, alternatively, it would birth a world where money was unnecessary. Even better, maybe :)

  3. I definitely see the insanity. I hate that people like you and me have a wealth of experience knowledge, skills, and there are about a million jobs out there we could do well,but because we don't have a piece of paper or two saying that we can do it, we aren't allowed to do it. It's dumb. Sometimes it makes me want to go back to the village days when people did what they were able to do, and no one expected a university degree to do it.
    (Although I have to acknowledge that without modern medicine, I'd likely be dead already.)

    In the mean time, I am fitting myself into the system, because I don't want to spend the rest of my life packing groceries or serving food. (I couldn't even get a job typing at a computer...)

  4. Thanks, Sue. I'd say the workmanship's shoddy 'cos it's the mind that's dreamed it up, and everything the mind does is about Number One, the illusion of separate lumps of life called human beings having to fight each other for what there's plenty of anyway if we'd just stop the childish squabbling over it and share it round. Humanity is early adolescent, which is always an interesting time for any organism.

    Money and unconditional love aren't mutually exclusive, but if you only aim for the first you'll totally miss the second, and if you go for the second the first might come, might not, but it gets so that it really doesn't matter either way. I believe a highly intelligent Jew said something like that about 2000 years ago, but hey, I thought I'd get in on the act too.

    Oh, and money really is unnecessary, but we'll only wake up to that when we get the unconditional love bit going:)

  5. That's not the first time I've recently read humanity being referred to as early adolescent. It really, REALLY fits, doesn't it.

    I think I get frustrated with money too because (a) I haven't had a lot of it and (b) I can see the non-necessity for it. It's one of those strange places to be again, where you need it (at least on some level, though less than we think) but don't want it at the same time.

  6. It's such a total waste of really good people. I can see it - how different the world would be if you and me and everyone else had the time to be able to go follow those things we love because we weren't so tied down in the straightjacket to "making ends meet" and spending absolutely ridiculous amounts of money on mortgages/rent etc.

    I so track with you about going back to the village days. I think about that a *lot*. But yeah, as long as we could take elements of modern medicine along with us (just a more holistic version ... which is exactly what my Medical Anthro essay is about, health vs wellbeing ;)

    And yeah, I understand fitting yourself into the system. I wish I would just shut up and grit my teeth and do it.

  7. I think that "being tied down in the straightjacket" is a huge part of the problem. I keep telling my kids to go to college when they are young and don't have wives and mortgages and kids. Not because it's my ultimate hope that they go to college, but because that's what society says they must do in order to be able to afford to live. I wish we could all do the things we are good at and love, and those things wouldn't require a degree and would pay the bills. In a perfect world...


Newer Older