I've been unemployed since May 13, 2009. I have become involved in the community of people who share one trait - we are "in transition". Everyone in this world uses euphenisms like that as a way to soften the blow, but no one is really fooled. I'm out of a job, I don't bring any money in, I'm old (another thing I share with the majority of this community of those "preparing for our next success".)
One thing I hadn't anticipated fully was how this would color my ability to share my thoughts online. For example, I blew away any birthday wishes on facebook that mentioned my age specifically since the "experts" tell us that potential employers check out your social networking sites for information before hiring you. There are no online pictures of me with a bong or playing beer pong (fortunately there weren't a lot of pictures being taken or at least shared wholesale before the advent of the internet). But what if I choose to mention that Dick Cheney is a lying asshole who faked intelligence to start an unneeded war in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11? There's a good chance my next potential employer thinks Dick and Sarah would make a great ticket for the next presidential race.
My status isn't all that unique with the unemployment rate hovering around 10%, which is small comfort. I've met people at church halls and community employment resource centers with impressive credentials and I think "How the hell could this happen to you ?". My 27 year old son works as a sales engineer for a company that's growing by leaps and bounds with software that everyone seems to want. He can't understand how a good salesman could ever be out of work for long. He hasn't seen the companies with the better mousetraps being gobbled up and spit out by the Microsoft's and Oracle's of the world. He was still a child when the dot-bombs gobbled up venture capital with great ideas, no products or profits, and newly minted millionaires who lose it as quickly as they made it. Sometimes reality bites.
He also hasn't seen how a good salesman or manager or engineer suddenly becomes a liability because of their high pay and increased medical problems, which make them unattractive employees to the owners who are looking for ways to cut costs. He has seen how the company owns your life and you're on call 24/7 when everyone can connect via smartphone and laptop from anywhere.
I can't really complain but I will anyway. After all, I'm part of the most self-absorbed generation in history - a baby boomer. Business has catered to us for our whole lives. We graduated college and joined the "counter-culture" until we decided our idealistic social service job with the poverty level wages wouldn't support the family we finally settled down and started.
In the sixties, we'd say "What a bummer, man ! " I still cringe watching Woodstock (the movie) because of the grammar which required "man" at the end of any sentence - Sister Agnes Dolores (alias "The Axe") would be so disappointed in me if she had seen me talking that way after diagramming all those sentences in elementary school !
Yes, it is a bummer and a bad trip but it's reality even if it's not on TV. As that a-hole on Jersey Shore would say, "I'm the situation, and you're going to have to deal with the situation". We are a resilient bunch,though, and we'll somehow get through it. Our last gift to our children will be showing our chidren by example how not to go gracefully into our golden years. We'll be begging for our kids to take us in and give us the remote.
The secret seems to be - make sure you make C level so you get the golden parachute when the shit hits the fan. And if you want a well examined life, don't share it with anyone because something's going to offend somebody. "Don't let them bring you down." (Neil Young)