Catch-all

This is sort of a catch-all of observations on being unemployed. I suppose I could tie it all together into a cohesive essay, but the effort would take a few hours, and those two hours are intimidating enough at the moment to persuade me not even to begin. Thus:

We’ve pretty much decided at this point to move to Knoxville. The reason being that I’m not finding any work here, and that in Knoxville, at least, we can mooch off of relatives rather than testing the eviction laws in the state of North Carolina. The “pretty much” part means that there is still the option of something unexpected happening in the Charlotte area. We’re being strictly mercenary about the whole thing. We go where the money goes. But frankly, in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area, the money has already gone. I think it has something to do with the fact that Charlotte is primarily a banking town. Nearly every company I’ve done any serious research on has been in a perpetual hiring freeze/attrition mode. Quite literally nobody is hiring.

Actually, when looking from outside our situation, the “nobody is hiring meme” is quite humorous. No matter who I am talking to, if I ask them what the employment opportunities are, I can expect the same answer: Hiring freeze. Of course. But beyond that, I discovered that one of the temp agencies I was working with had been using my resume to drum up new business when I was interested in taking any temporary position that came along. The week after I corrected that notion, the temp agency closed up shop. A ministry that I applied to, five minutes after applying, took down not only the position I was applying for, but every single job on the site. Apparently my application reminded them of the hiring freeze. (Side note, that particular job had me very amused. Somebody had slipped in “experience with flux capacitors” as one of the skills requirements. HR never noticed.)

In other news, I’ve decided permanently that I have the wrong degree. It used to be that an English degree was a useful all-purpose degree, serving as an entry to nearly any industry. But in an age in which every undergrad degree is considered at some level to be really a kind of white-collar trade school, and where a bachelors in “secretarial science” is actually a possibility, an English degree sets me on the Literature track. From here I can pursue teaching, further studies in Literature (either the professorial track or fine arts), Divinity school, or Law. Marketing and Corporate communications, of course, are separate fields requiring separate degrees – nobody needs Robert Frost to create a branding event (well, maybe once).

My half an MDiv has done me a lot of good for employment, particularly since we joined a denomination that doesn’t care if you have a theology degree. I would probably very much enjoy the professorial route, but that’s a lot of education you have to get before you can get a job, and in the mean time, I need to support a family. I tried the teaching route to discover, as I had suspected, that it was awful. Which as I said before leaves me qualified only for admin assistant jobs, which are hardly lucrative (and no, I haven’t taken any classes in “secretary science”). So, as soon as I’ve got whatever job it is that I can get, I’m going back to school (yes, again) to pursue my other love: computer science. Thereby, I can make my hobby into my profession, and my life’s pursuit into a hobby. Sic volvit rota fortunae.

The curious question is: we’re making plans to move in with relatives. We’ve set the date – Aug 16. I’m probably going to schedule a U-Haul truck tomorrow (MoveAmerica, alas, is no more). But we’re planning to move in with *relatives*, which is to say, not a position of strength. Honor alone demands now that both of us look for employment like crazy, since we are engaging into a form of family-welfare. On the other hand, there is still that slightest possibility that something might yet open up in North Carolina. Do I keep applying for positions in NC, just in case? There are actual jobs in the area. I just ain’t gotten any of them.

And last: it wouldn’t matter if I was just dropping off my resume like so many sheets of political or religious pamphlets. But I’m actually seriously applying for jobs. And the difference is the cover letter. They say that the cover letter is actually the most important document in the initial application process, and I believe them. You have, in one little document, the only chance you have to offer a complete, tailored marketing pitch. And the tricky part is the “taylored.” If I could just drop off a form cover letter, it would be the easiest thing in the world, but to properly fit what I’ve got to say to the company I’m saying it to requires research and a great deal of compressed contemplation. It is, in fact, the most dissatisfying form of writing I have ever known. So it’s a real question. Time spent applying for jobs in North Carolina makes a significant cut into time I could spend looking into jobs in Tennessee. Is it worth the effort?

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