I started working for my former company on May 28th, 1992. I was a 21-year-old college student who was in dire need of a paycheck. They hired me. I never left.
On Monday, March 31st, they closed their doors. Insolvent. So, no severance, no payout for a substantial amount of banked sick/vacation pay, just an “I’m really terribly sorry” from the powers that were. As of this writing, I’m waiting for one final paycheck, which was supposed to have been deposited into my bank account overnight. It has not been. The house payment is due on the 15th whether it shows up or not.
Other people have it worse. The fact that I’ve made it to the age of 43 without any true economic adversity is the textbook definition of white male privilege. You know who has it worse? Shanesha Taylor. She’s the Arizona woman who was arrested and had her children taken from her for leaving them in a hot car while she interviewed for a job. When you’re homeless and have no one to care for your two children, I’m at a loss as to what you’re actually supposed to do in her situation. So, if you’re reading this and are one of those job creators I’ve read so much about, CREATE A JOB FOR SHANESHA TAYLOR RIGHT NOW. That should be your priority.
After that, though, if you want to give me a shot? That would be cool. I’m fortunate to have a wife with a good job, but the lack of any parachute means we’ll be cashing out my 401(k) to pay off credit cards, automobiles, furnaces and other ephemera so we can get by on her check for the time being. (Again: I have a 401(k) that can do this. Tons of people don’t. Not being able to retire when I want to < not being able to eat food.)
As for me: the job I did was to run a hopelessly antiquated software program that captured and processed financial and demographic data for survey and fundraising purposes. The number of employers looking for someone with that skill set is no doubt microscopic. (That said: if your company somehow still uses the SMAKE program created by EIS, or the DreamWeaver package from SER, I can say with complete confidence that I am better at those things than the current person handling it, unless it’s you, in which case I can probably cover for you while you take a well-deserved vacation. Do you have dental?)
I have no illusions that I’ll find work in that field, which is why the current very best option for me is to pursue…writing. For a living. Yes, I know. Your laughter is hurtful, frankly. The fact remains that my old job was so prehistoric that trying to get paid for writing in 2014 is a better option. AGAIN: yes, I know.
If you ever wanted to dip your toe in the RandBall’s Stu brand*, now’s the time. Did you like the Nick Punto oral history? Or Joe Mauer’s struggles with 2% milk bigots? Or the hundred-odd Hunt Downs and Green Bay Packers’ lost season dispatches I’ve written for RandBall at the Newspaper of the Twin Cities? Perhaps you are one of the 2809 people who follow my Twitter account? Some of these posts and tweets have “gone viral” and/or been “retweeted” with some frequency, which has never once impressed my dad, who fought in Vietnam. Might be something you’re looking for, though!
To reiterate: I will write stuff for you. I would very much like to get paid to write stuff for you. I will even tell you my real name.
If this fails, I guess I’ll just move to northeast Minneapolis and open up a taproom, as is the custom of my people.
(*Note: I am using brand ironically. Please don’t think I meant that in earnest. I am sorry. It’s been a long week.)