Wasting time in the unemployment line

Benefits Run Out In T-Minus 10…9…8…

When the middle aged man with two lazy eyes told me he liked my necklace, I figured the Job Fair could only get better from there.

I’ve been wrong before, so there were no significant aftershocks when I then went on to leave booth after booth empty handed.

Well- not entirely empty handed. I did go home with a banana from the Waterstone Group and hand sanitizer from… oh who even knows. One of the many hospitals that had a booth at the fair. After a while they all just kind of blend together into one gigantic, latex glove wearing, shot giving, disinfectant reeking nightmare of a distinct lack of job opportunities for li’l ol’ Ruthie.

Please don’t ever call me that.

Yes: I attended the Job Fair *cue bells and whistles* at the Local Community College (LCC) on Tuesday afternoon. I’d never been to one so I didn’t know what to expect. I hoped it would be more than 40% staffing services, 25% hospitals,  25% engineering firms, and 10% companies I’d love to work for but who aren’t hiring non-accountants or non-IT support staff.

But hope is often a stupid, stupid, stupid misplaced thing, as it was in the case of Tuesday’s Job Fair.

Oh and machine operators. The suburbs of Milwaukee love them some machine operators. Mm-mm-mm.

There’s something about overheard conversations at Job Fairs that would be heart breaking if the central focus of the Fair wasn’t finding employment but finding something else instead. Like donuts. Or a date.

“I used to date a really attractive, intelligent woman and within three months of beginning the relationship I was promoted to the position of Fiance until the woman joined the Shaker movement, which eliminated the need for my position. But I’m a great boyfriend, and a wonderful fiance, and I know I can be a great fiance to you, too, if you’ll just take me on.”

Instead it’s just stark, cold, mechanical. Almost pathetic.

Because here you are in a room full of people, most of whom are imminently qualified to fill any number of different types of positions with different types of companies, but no one wants them. They desperately need employment after months and months of living on credit cards, and the companies clearly need to increase the size of their staff, but the skills offered and the skills required just… don’t match up.

You may be a great boyfriend, the best fiance, but in a world full of Shakers what the heck are you supposed to do with those qualifications?

Upside #1 (because with me there’s always an up-side): I met the woman a friend of mine recommended from a Local Staffing Company  (LSC) at the Job Fair and am hoping that turns into a beneficial professional relationship for both of us. I approached her and said a friend of mine said they had used LSC to find temporary work and had spoken very highly of a woman there named A-a. The woman said that she was A-a and knew exactly who I was referring to and mentioned her by name. I really liked that. We talked about Fave Local Townie Bar, ferrets (hers died about a year ago; so sad :( ), and meeting up to see what they can do to help me out.

Upside #2: LCC was paaaaacked on Tuesday so I had to park in the lot on the opposite end of the campus- about a quarter of a mile- from the building I needed, which meant I got to take a nice long walk in the sunshine both before the Job Fair to get myself pumped up, and after the Job Fair to give myself time to quell my growing sense of disillusionment before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Upside #2, Subsection a: Long walks on college campuses = long spans of time spent walking behind small, round butts in jeans so tight onlookers can see that freckle on your right cheek. Yeah, you know the one, Miss Hot-Pink-Cell-Phone-and-Knockoff-Black-Uggs.

The Philosophy of Slate-Based Vacations

I’m at my folks’ place right now. After the dark, chilliness of my apartment- which would be light and warm if I could afford to turn on lamps and the heater- it’s so refreshing sitting here in their brightly lit living room full of natural light, with the twinkle of the fireplace across from my spot on the end of the recliner couch.


The family dog, a Shih Tzu Bichon mix named Patches, is sleeping between my shins; my hulking loads of laundry are packed back up into my overflowing laundry bag; my belly is full of cheese, sausage, crackers, and coffee; and all is well with the world.

Except for that unemployment thing, of course…

My dad is in the dining room talking with a couple of buddies about their various business philosophies. He told them about the time he ran the idea by my mother of taking a road trip along the east coast during which they’d visit all the old slate tile mills from back in the day. She thought he was kidding. She was so wrong. Boy I tell you what: I’d take a tour like that in a heartbeat. And I’d bring a camera.

He showed them an old roofing report he and I put together for a potential customer a few years ago. I like when he uses that particular report as an example because– well first off it’s pretty impressive looking. The potential customer- a gigantic hospital- had an ENORMOUS, multi-roof facility, so when you look at the roof maps, at the project breakdown, at the photos- wow does it look good!

But the other thing I like about this one, the thing that really makes me smile, is that if this report ever comes up he always makes sure to show a roof picture that I’m in somehow. You’ll see me in my glue stained jeans, flannel overcoat, and work boots holding a defect card, climbing a ladder, whatever. I like that because I like the way he talks about his kids when he mentions things we’ve done that were hard for us at first, things we had to overcome other things for in order to conquer the task at hand. He doesn’t ramble on about my siblings or me. He just mentions these things in passing but with such a respectful tone in his voice that you want to go out and do that difficult thing again.

For this particular project I had a couple of things to get past in order to do my part. Namely: I’m afraid of heights, and I quickly feel overwhelmed at the prospect of organizing such a vast and diverse set of data. On this project I not only got to learn a *lot* about putting massive amounts of this type of information together in a logical way that supports the technical data while being easy to follow, I also got to climb ship’s ladders 10 stories up in the air. For me that is a Big. Deal. There’s nothing like hanging off the side of a building, looking out over what seems like the entire world to remind you a) why you’re afraid of heights, and b) that when you quit bellyaching and just get right down to it, you can do an awful lot more things than you may’ve thought you could.

How did this turn into an after school special? My apologies.

Other… Stuff

Oh hey! I forgot I can create polls now in WordPress! Let’s see… what can I ask you about… Ah. Got one.

12:41 pm. Still have to put away two loads of wash, do the dishes, vacuum the apartment, hit the library, run to the grocery store, and return Season 3, Disc 4 of Battlestar Galactica to Blockbuster before 6. Now if I can just find a way to pry myself away from this soft couch, this roaring fireplace, the gray light of Fall misting through the french doors, and the snuffling of a sleeping dog, I might actually get one or two of those things accomplished…


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